Food in Indonesia

Absolutely true Fred. Usually it is just those small places which are sometimes unhygienic and who may keep food for days and do not have any protection against the sun and I wouldn't eat in those kind of places. The only place we will eat Padang food in Bandung delivers new food everyday, unfortunately sometimes late.. We also sometimes buy rendang from them by the kilo when we hold events as we will be doing today. The owners are from Padang and friends of the inlaws.

Ubudian's concerns very much apply with street food. We will only buy from a very limited number of street sellers who have been either recommended by my wife's parents or who we know to have good hygienic food. That includes the guy up the street deep frying tofu and the sate and fried rice sellers who operate in our area. Then there is a famous street sate place behind the famous Gedung Sate in downtown Bandung which is super hygienic and super tasty. My wife also will not take chances with risky street food sellers and I hope other people will also be prudent as it isn't funny to get food poisoning or dysentery.

Coming from the US, where beef is highly prized and of the utmost top quality, I find rendang to be an unsatisfying abomination, so deeply buried in spices that the result is that the beef itself has no flavor.  For me, spices should enhance the natural flavor of whatever is being cooked, as opposed to overwhelmingly dominating it.  Moreover, knowing what cuts of beef are used to make rendang…well, in my past culture, that’s the part of the cow normally reserved for pets. 

On the other hand, I find Padang style curry chicken (gulai ayam) to be both delicious and aromatic…a real delight to any gourmet’s senses.  But of course, these are all personal choices and preferences. 

Also, I regard all of Indonesia much like a giant Petri dish where bacteria flourishes and grows as if it’s on steroids.  So, I totally agree with the prior advice and warnings about making wise choices where, and what, to eat.  I’ve never found food sitting on plates and displayed in the front window of a warung or restaurant to be one bit appealing.  If the food requiring cooking isn’t freshly cooked, and served piping hot…I won’t eat it.

I am partial to a good but bit of beef and after last night's disastrous holy cow steak   (about as much rib eye as it was a cheap cut off bad meat) I will stick to ground mince and buns and enjoy it that way.
I don't do much Indonesian food from any part of the country but will try what's given to me. I make sure my street food is cooked in front of me and i do my utmost not to eat chicken.
My neighbourhood being part Kampung does have lots of freshly prepared food and if the mother in law says it's good then we go there and get food.

The food court by where I work does ok satay and there is a stall with great vegetarian choice and the lady likes to feed me so I don't complain. The nasi goreng  man became terrible so I am off that now.

I don't have a photo of my favorite food to share because how to photo free food? The food of kings......

Satay is something I never have any concerns about…or, I should say, so long as it’s satay cooked here in any of the villages in Bali.

The Balinese cook more satay than anyone.  It’s a regular part of temple and daily offerings, and it’s always made by the men.  Moreover, we make satay here from most anything, including lizards, squirrels and birds. 

My two older boys have developed into being very good hunters…something that’s to be found in my gene pool as well, as I always hunted when I lived in New England.  It’s normal for them to come home with good size monitor lizard, or a group of Bali squirrels or birds.  Being able to live independently, and off the land if necessary, is an integral part of Balinese culture, and that dovetails perfectly into my past culture based on self reliance.       

Driving around my neck of the woods it’s a common sight to see an old man or two cooking satay in a small BBQ burner right along the road.  It is always cooked to order, so one needs to wait a bit before being able to dig in and enjoy. 

One needn’t worry a bit about enjoying road side satay here where I live.  It’s always fresh and totally safe.

As for good beef...unfortunately the only real choice is to select from that imported from Australia, NZ, or when possible to locate...the US.  Local sapi does not make for good eating if you've been spoiled by enjoying top grade USDA prime.

Bali is well-known for it wonderful landscapes, fine sandy beaches, turquoise blue water. Therefore, Bali has many other features you have to discover mainly local delicacies. While the most of South East Asia countries cook the same kind of dishes, Bali holds it own unique flavours.

According to me there are 10 foods you should discover if you decide to visit the beautiful country:

Pisang Goreng: … jpg?f32325

The first one is sweety and belongs to dessert’s class, fried bananas. Bali has few sorts of bananas from small which are the sweetiest to big ones looking like weapons. Palm sugar syrup or honey, coconut or vanilla ice cream must come to perfect the taste in restaurant. Or you can simply buy it along the road which adds a charming character to the Balinese atmosphere.

Mie Goreng: … Goreng.jpg

If you taste it, you will realize it is more than simple fried noodles. There are vegetables combine with chicken, shramp or pork. That is further delicious with egg on top and peanuts sauce. So, try it!

Nasi Goreng: … goreng.jpg

It is similar to Mie Goreng by replacing noodles with rice. It depends on your taste but this is the Balinese’s favourit ones. They eat for any meals breakfast, lunch or dinner. This dish is so famous that all chefs are able to perfectly cook it. You can’t visit Bali without eating Nasi Goreng!

Sate: … 8b5718.jpg

It is chicken mashed with spices melted on sticks and grilled in barbecue. Thus, you can eat it easily by walking in the street. Most of Western people prefer chicken sate but Indonesian are specialized in the fish ones. So delightful!

Babi Guling: … allery.jpg

Basically called suckling pig in Western countries, this dish is one of the most famous in Bali. Thus, pork is rolled in turmeric with a mix of various spices stuffed incluing coriander seeds, lemongrass, lime leaves, salam leaves, chillies, black pepper, garlic, red shallots, ginger and lesser galangal.Then, preparation is roasted over coconut husks or wood until tender on the spit. Don’t be surprising! Before cooking, the waiter will show you the pig’s part you will eat.

Nasi Campur: … Campur.jpg

Very famous in Bali, this combine steamed rice and a bit of vegetables, meat or fish depending on tastes. If you meet this dish few times, you won’t eat exactly the same. Then, any of its are the number one but all are delicious and full of various flavours! Authenticity is totally part of Indonesian cooking.

Bebek Betutu: … xKpBZbp6rA

Smoked duck in Bali is also wonderful. It is rolled with few spices and stuffed with it, basically wrapped with areca palm leaf and then smoked with embers of rice husks. The most of restaurants cook it during 12 hours and then leave it to stand during one day at least. This process is said better and adds more taste. So, are you hungry now?

Mini Rijsttafel: … ip-CE1FxU0

Sharing meal is an Asian custom. This one is particularly appreciated by Balinese and means “rice table” from the colonial times. It is a combination of local dishes such as Bebek betutu (smoked duck), chicken with sambal, prawns, pork & chicken sates, sayur urap (mixed Bali vegetables), potato croquettes, tempe, tofu and yellow nasi tumpeng (rice cone). If you visit Bali for the first time, this dish is a good alternative to discover various Balinese food specialities!

Spring Rolls: … olls-3.jpg

Basically, spring rolls come from Vietnam. However, everyone has already eaten spring rolls which exist in all over the world. Thus, you have to taste these ones which are mixed vegetables and minced chicken, served with peanuts sauce or a sweet chili sauce. A casual dish but so perfect!

Gado-Gado: … p9w0ubLgOQ

Gado-Gado means “Mix-mix” in english is part of the best Indonesian dishes. It looks like cold salad but you can also eat warm. You eat various boiled vegetables and proteins really healthy such as long beans, spinaches, potatoes, cornes, eggs and beanes sprouts coupled with cucumbers and tofu. What a pleasure for the taste buds!

To sum up, you can find all dishes enumerated here anywhere in Bali from roadside food vendors to luxury restaurants. In the country, all dishes are cooked by hand and ingredients are really safe. In addition, various spices used add a particular flavour to tastes. Don’t be scared to try new specialities in Bali, you won’t be never disappointed!

Actually Oliver, the simple and best way to enjoy Balinese food is in a Balinese compound.  What’s cooked within those walls is not anything like what one normally finds in local restaurants or warungs. 

Anyone coming to Bali with a primary objective being to seriously experience Balinese cooking simply must secure an invitation to a tooth filing ceremony, a purification ceremony, an infant 3 or 6 month ceremony, or best yet…a Balinese wedding.  Each of these ceremonies are held within Balinese compounds, and each will include a feast. 

In Balinese compounds, all the food is cooked in a traditional manner…and that means a wood fired oven/stove.  This simply isn’t possible with the vast majority of restaurants or warungs.  Food, when cooked in this traditional manner, has a distinct flavor, well beyond that available elsewhere, and if you ask any Balinese, they will always say that when possible, they would prefer to eat food from a compound than from anywhere else.  Moreover, any Balinese will agree that any food cooked by gas…well, very simply…it isn’t real Balinese food. 

In your typical Balinese compound, preparing food for the day begins before sunrise.  It’s a long, loving, and time consuming process…and the results are simply incomparable to what a visitor will find in any warung, or restaurant in Bali.

The odd thing...but so very real, is that if you take a Balinese out for dinner or lunch...they never order a Balinese dish...and I mean, never!  They'll order a pasta dish, or a hamburger...but never, ever a Balinese dish.  The reason is simple...they know if they order a Balinese dish, they'll be disappointed and unsatisfied.  There are some exceptions...Ibu Oka for babi guling being one...but those exceptions are very few.

Bandung is famous for it's food, famous not only in Jakarta but all over Indonesia. Some call it the culinary centre of Indonesia. That's why Jakartans come here every weekend and public holiday....for the food as well as for it's cool micro-climate. Apparently it's a kind of food paradise here. And for those who haven't been here, you'd be amazed at the number of food places especially open at night. But some may look nice from the outside, traditional Sundanese looking restaurants, but having very ordinary food. So you need to get recommendations or just do as we do and try them out to find your favourites.

However, the western food in Bandung really sucks. If I wanted to choose the best place in Indonesia to eat western food then I'd probably choose Bali, followed distantly by Jakarta. I've also enjoyed the best nasi goreng in Bali too. But the padang food in Bali I've never really liked because I have always found it not fresh, too dry and hard. My sis in law is bringing some back for her boss in Bali so that he can see what a really good beef rendang tastes like.

Luke's mention of the steaks at Holy cow is spot on. We found their steaks overcooked, tough and with gristle and fat. The wagyu steak was also disappointing. One visit was enough. I guess if you want to enjoy a real tenderloin you might have difficulties trying to find it in Bandung unless in a five star hotel and it would have to be imported beef.

For seafood, Bali is good, but I very much like Bandar Djakarta in Ancol too. We don't sit at tables in the sand, but we can still sit at the water's edge.

Then again, if you don’t want to risk having a bad dining experience at a restaurant in Bandung, one can always consult Trip Advisor.  There are a lot of restaurants in Bandung that are reviewed there, in fact 1,324 of them: … l#MAINWRAP

Haha...I had a look on your link. Miss Bee was ridicuously busy this lunch time so we went to the Padma Hotel restaurant just up the road which had nicer food and was more relaxing with a great view. One of our family members from Bali told us that the views are similar to those of the Padma Hotel in Ubud, although I've never been there so can't compare.

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