Unlike many other cities in Indonesia, Bandung food doesn’t have such a scene, and it can be hard to find ‘traditional’ food unique to the city. Instead, Bandung is most famous for its dishes that originated in other parts of Indonesia but have been given their own ‘Bandung twist.’
Much of the food found in Bandung is Sundanese in origin. Although you may find similar dishes across Indonesia, the Bandung varieties are usually unique in their own right, even if they can’t claim to be the original version of the dish.
Despite its lack of a definitive culinary identity as opposed to other cities like Medan in Sumatra, you definitely won’t go hungry here, and a trip to this part of Java is the perfect opportunity to eat your way around the city.
Here are the recommended 12 best Bandung food to try.
Serabi, also known as Surabi, is Indonesia’s answer to pancakes made with flour and then cooked in a unique clay mold over charcoal to help them keep their shape. Sometimes the pancakes can be flavored with pandan, producing a pretty pastel green version of serabi. The pancakes are usually thick and more like a mix between a cake and a pancake and are served with a sauce of palm sugar, and coconut milk drizzled on top to give them a sweet kick. Nowadays, some serabi can be served with different toppings like shavings of cheese, chocolate sprinkles, or sliced bananas. This is usually a street food and can be found at breakfast, although you can also eat them as a snack at any time of the day. In other parts of Indonesia, serabi may come savory as well. Definitely a Bandung food you should try at the start of your day!
Batagor is eaten all over Indonesia, although it is said to have originated in West Java and is one specialty of Bandung foods. The name comes from an abbreviation of the ingredients used in the dish, bakso tahu goreng, or fried meatballs and tofu. The dish is usually eaten as a snack rather than a full meal and is served with fried fish balls that are usually encased in a crispy batter or stuffed inside the chunks of tofu for which this dish is famous. The fish balls sit alongside shredded cabbage and are doused in a delicious peanut-based sauce.
Seblak is a popular street food dish originating from Bandung, Indonesia. It is a unique and flavorful dish that has gained popularity nationwide. Seblak is known for its spicy and tangy taste, making it a favorite among those who enjoy bold flavors.
This Bandung food typically consists of crunchy crackers or noodles that are stir-fried with various ingredients. Common ingredients used in Seblak include vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts, along with proteins such as chicken, sausage, or seafood. The mixture is then seasoned with various spices, including garlic, shallots, chili, and other aromatic herbs.
Lotek is a Sundanese dish that is another version of Indonesia’s most famous salad, gado-gado. Lotek is made from vegetables like bean sprouts and water spinach and includes pillowy tofu chunks. The salad ingredients are covered in a spicy peanut sauce reminiscent of gado-gado, although the two dishes use slightly different seasonings in the sauce. Lotek also comes with prawn crackers called krupuk and is served with compressed rice cakes named lontong.
Pisang molen is an ideal snack found all over Bandung and consists of bananas encased in pastry. The bananas are then deep-fried so the pastry puffs up to provide a crunchy shell around the soft interior. This snack is so popular that many people buy pisang molen as presents to take home at the end of a trip to Bandung, although they are best enjoyed piping hot from a roadside stand. Do not miss out on this yummy Bandung food while looking for a snack!
Soto is a kind of soup famous across Indonesia and varies according to each region, and Soto Bandung is no different. Many soto recipes call for chicken as the main protein, although Soto Bandung traditionally uses beef. Unlike some soto dishes like Soto Medan, which uses coconut milk to thicken the broth, Soto Bandung is clear and pepped up with the unusual addition of radish slices, giving it a peppery kick that mixes with the hearty beef stock.
Cilok Bandung gets its name from aci which is the Indonesian word for starch. This delicious street food snack is made from tapioca which is rolled into the shape of a ball and then boiled. It may not sound exciting, but the balls are then threaded into skewers and served with a spicy dipping sauce that makes this a delicious snack to eat on the go.
Mie Kocok is quite different from many Indonesian noodle dishes and is made from flat noodles that swim in delicious beef stock. Depending on how it is made, it can come served with kikil or cow tendons and tripe. The broth is then spiked with celery leaves and topped with fried onions. Sometimes it can also be made with chicken and may include chicken’s feet or other variations that use beef meatballs.
Another Sundanese favorite in Bandung is gepuk, a dish of spicy fried beef sometimes likened to Indonesia’s famous beef rendang curry. The dish is usually made using beef flank, pounded to soften the flesh and mixed with aromatic spices like coriander, lemongrass, galangal, and Indonesian bay leaves. The meat is then cooked in coconut milk and is slightly sweet thanks to adding palm sugar. Gepuk is usually served with rice and is topped with fried shallots.
Karedok is similar in many ways to gado-gado and lotek. It is a salad made up of crunchy vegetables such as beans, bean sprouts, cabbage, and cucumber, although it omits steamed potato, often found in both gado-gado and lotek. The salad is tossed in a thick peanut dressing mixed with chili, and the signature difference when it comes to keradok is the use of basil leaves which add an aromatic herbal hit to the dish.
Sate Aci, or Aci Satay or Aci Goreng, is a popular street food from Bandung, Indonesia. It features chewy tapioca flour balls skewered onto sticks and grilled or fried. Served with toppings like sweet soy sauce, peanut sauce, and vegetables, Sate Aci offers a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures. It is a beloved snack enjoyed by locals and tourists in Bandung.
Brownies may not immediately sound like a quintessential Indonesian dish or Bandung food, but these are not to be missed if you want dessert in Bandung. The brownies here are steamed rather than baked, which means they are incredibly soft and fluffy with a deep hit of cocoa that makes them rich and very moreish. The city’s most famous spot to buy brownies is Amanda Brownies, so make sure to come and pick up a box before you leave.