Wow. Where to start? As you may have gathered from my blog, I am a big foodie. The last couple of months I’ve been travelling NZ and Australia and although they have some nice and fresh food options, I have to say that they have nothing on Indonesia. This is real eating. My first dining experience was in Bali on a small food stall right on Kuta beach. I was immediately offered burgers and pizzas. I shook my head and asked for the local food menu. I hadn’t come all this way to eat western food! Upon receiving the local menu I was first delighted by the difference in price. Western food is all priced up. Perhaps it is something to do with getting the western ingredients which makes it a lot dearer then the local food which was incredibly cheap. The local menu immediately ticked the travel budget box. Then there was the options…The menu was vast! I asked the guy serving which were the popular Indonesian dishes. He pointed to the satay and the fried rice. ‘One of each then please,’ I said before he hustled off to start cooking. I was beaming from ear to ear. Satay is one of my all time favourite dishes. Peanut butter is like my kryptonite. I literally eat it with a spoon every day at home. So satay sounded excellent and the thought of eating that everyday for the next three weeks made me very happy. Needless to say, the satay and fried rice called Nasi Goreng was great. I don’t want to bore you and talk through every meal I had, when I ate it and how it tasted, so I’ll just post a few dishes that I found really yum and that I also managed to take a photo of before shovelling down my throat.
Nasi Campur (pronounced champur) is basically a mound of rice surrounded by a variety of smaller dishes. I found that the small dishes vary from place to place, probably dependant on what the restaurant has and serves as main dishes. But usually is was some fried Tempe, a special peanut sauce, a skewer of chicken, sone tofu, some mixed vegetables, steamed or fried and a fried egg slapped on top. I had this a lot mainly because I like the variety. It’s a bit like tapas but with a hefty helping if white rice in the middle.
Satay/ Sate chicken
This was a standard go-to for me. BBQ chicken on a skewer, topped with a delicious peanut sauce and served with rice. Nom.
This is a pretty cheap dish and is mainly found at street food vendors. They push around carts with the bakso ingredients all laid out and ready to be tossed together. The easiest way to describe it is; a bowl of brothy ramen noodles with some meatballs thrown in. The meatballs are usually either beef or chicken or sometimes a combination of both. They look kind of strange and grey but don’t let that put you off. They are pretty tasty. If you don’t fancy the noodles and broth then you can also just buy a bag of meatballs.
We had a fish BBQ a couple of times on the Gili Islands. It’s basically the days catch BBQed and served with rice/ chips, fried veg or salad and a sauce. For those who like a little kick there is a tomato chili sauce sometimes referred to as ‘Lombok’ sauce. Nice and spicy. For those with more tame taste buds, there is garlic butter and often ketchup too.
Other dishes we tried and loved.
Tempe/ Tempeh Goreng– fried Tempe with rice. This is a great snack
Gado Gado– steamed veg, eggs, tempeh with peanut sauce.
Nasi Goreng– Indonesian style fried rice. Sometimes with chicken, prawns or Tempe.
Mie Goreng– the same as Nasi Goreng but with noodles instead of rice.
Olah Olah– steamed veg with a lovely coconut sauce. A little like a veg curry.
Chicken/ fish/ Tempe curry– delicious coconut sauce based curries. A little like a Thai curry but with less spice.
Urap urap– steamed veg, beans etc. mixed with shredded coconut.
I only had one pudding in Indonesia. Not because they don’t have them, mainly because I was so full after devoting my main.
The one Indonesian sweet I tried was called a Klepon.
A Klepon looks kind of strange. It’s green and covered in shredded coconut which on a dark market stall could easily be confused for grated cheese. It’s a traditional boiled rice cake that is flavoured and coloured with the paste from a leaf. It is filled with liquid palm sugar and rolled in coconut.
I would describe it as like chewing on a ball of green play dough that suddenly releases some brown sticky liquid. Very strange but worth a try. It’s still edible.
Coal BBQed sweet corn. Lathered in butter and salt. Delicious.
A furry/ spiky red lychee type fruit. Can buy in bunches from the markets or the ladies on the beach.