When we promoting Indonesia as your next holiday destination you may wonder “what the hell so special about Indonesia”. Well, just to name a few, world knows that Borobudur temple is one of the best structures mankind have ever built on earth. Borobudur is located in Central Java one of the 33 provinces of Indonesia. World also loves the beauty of Bali island so much so that world labelled it it as the goddess island.
But the other thing most foreign travel agencies missed out when telling about Indonesia to their client is it’s cuisine. Indonesian cuisine is diverse, in part because Indonesia is composed of approximately 6,000 populated islands. Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon cultural and foreign influences. Indonesian cuisine varies greatly by region and has many different influences.
Throughout its history, Indonesia has been involved in trade due to its location and natural resources. Additionally, Indonesia’s indigenous techniques and ingredients were influenced by India, the Middle East, China, and finally Europe. Spanish and Portuguese traders brought New World produce even before the Dutch came to colonize most of the archipelago. The Indonesian islands The Moluccas (Maluku), which are famed as “the Spice Islands”, also contributed to the introduction of native spices, such as cloves and nutmeg, to Indonesian and global cuisine.
Sumatran cuisine, for example, often has Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring curried meat and vegetables such as gulai and kari, while Javanese cuisine is more indigenous. The cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisine. Elements of Chinese cuisine can be seen in Indonesian cuisine: items such as bakmi (noodles), bakso (meat or fish balls), and lumpia (spring rolls) have been completely assimilated.
Some popular dishes that originated in Indonesia are now common across much of Southeast Asia. Indonesian dishes such as satay, beef rendang, and sambal are also favoured in Malaysia and Singapore. Soy-based dishes, such as variations of tofu (tahu) and tempe, are also very popular. Tempe is regarded as a Javanese invention, a local adaptation of soy-based food fermentation and production. Another fermented food is oncom, similar in some ways to tempe but using a variety of bases (not only soy), created by different fungi, and particularly popular in West Java.
Indonesian meals are commonly eaten with the combination of a spoon in the right hand and fork in the left hand (to push the food onto the spoon), although in many parts of the country, such as West Java and West Sumatra, it is also common to eat with one’s hands. In restaurants or households that commonly use bare hands to eat, like in seafood foodstalls, traditional Sundanese and Minangkabau restaurants, or East Javanese pecel lele (fried catfish with sambal) and ayam goreng (fried chicken) food stalls, they usually serve kobokan, a bowl of tap water with a slice of lime in it to give a fresh scent. This bowl of water should not to be consumed, however; it is used to wash one’s hand before and after eating. Eating with chopsticks is generally only found in food stalls or restaurants serving Indonesian adaptations of Chinese cuisine, such as bakmie or mie ayam (chicken noodle) with pangsit (wonton), mie goreng (fried noodles), and kwetiau goreng (fried flat rice noodles).
Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, and is now commonly served across the country. One of the characteristic foods of Minangkabau culture, it is served at ceremonial occasions and to honour guests. Also popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the southern Philippines and southern Thailand, rendang is traditionally prepared by the Indonesian community during festive occasions. Culinary expert often describe rendang as: ‘West Sumatra caramelized beef curry’. Though rendang is sometimes described as being like a curry, and the name is sometimes applied to curried meat dishes in Malaysia, authentic rendang is nothing like a curry. In Malay classical literature, rendang is mentioned in Hikayat Amir Hamzah as early as the 1550s.
In 2011 an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Rendang as the number one dish of their ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’ list.
Where to find rendang and how much does it cost?
You can easily find this dish in any Minang restaurant scattered all over Indonesian cities. Rendang ussually served with rice. Today a standard menu with rendang as the dish with cooked vegetable and rice will cost you around Rp. 15.000 to Rp.25.000 person or around US$ 1.65 to 2.65 (using today’s exchange rate US$ 1 = Rp. 9,100).
We strongly reccommend that you don’t missed rendang when you are in Indonesia.