Indonesian cuisine is starting to make it big in the food industry, and it is shown by the growing number of restaurants that feature its luscious meals. This also means that it’s time that you give Indonesian food a try in your next food trip. It’s not only because the cuisine is becoming a trend; it’s also exciting to give in to the tempting flavours offered by this Asian region.
You need not go to Indonesia to get a taste of its dishes; in fact, you can check out Indonesian food in Singapore anytime you like. But if you’re not yet familiar about the cuisine’s offerings, then here are some of the terms you need to be familiar with:
Nasi simply means rice. Just like the rest of Southeast Asia, Indonesian cuisine has rice as its staple food, and it is either steamed or cooked with different ingredients. Rice is also paired with different dishes, such as chicken, duck, and goat.
Among the most common rice dishes you may encounter are “nasicampur,” which is rice with a mix of meat and vegetables, “nasigoreng” which is steamed rice that is stir fried with eggs, assorted meat, shrimp, vegetables, and seasoned with soy sauce.
When you hear the term “goreng,” it simply means fried. Goreng can be associated with many types of dishes, such as “nasigoreng” which means stir fried rice, and “miegoreng” which pertains to fried noodles.
A lot of Indonesian food in Singapore is served fried, so it is best that you are familiar with the term in case you are after fried dishes. And yes, if you are craving for fried chicken, you can simply tell the waiter to serve you “ayamgoreng,” since ayam means chicken.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a hearty bowl of soup in an Indonesian restaurant, then you should order Bakso. This meatball soup dish is a favourite among locals and foreign eaters and is somewhat similar to Chinese wontons.
Baksohas gained worldwide fame when US President Barack Obama mentioned the dish as one of his favourite meals when he was still living in Indonesia. It is served often with fried shallots, egg, and dumplings.
Aside from rice, curry is regarded to be a staple dish in Indonesia. Referred to as “gulai,”curry comes in different regional variations across the country.
Indonesian curry often consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, and other spices. It can also be cooked with chicken, beef, or fish, depending on which is available. What makes curry distinctly Indonesian is that it has certain sweetness to it, creating a balance between the explosive flavours brought by the different herbs and spices used.
Rendang is a popular Indonesian dish in Singapore, and it is a type of curry native to the country. But unlike other curry dishes, Rendang is not an easy dish to make since it takes time and skill to be done perfectly.
Beef rendang (the most common type of rendang) is marinated for several hours in a special gravy mix until the meat becomes soft and tender. Then it is cooked and served together with steamed rice.
Some restaurants also offer a dried version of rendang, and this jerky-type variant may last for months and is often served to guests during special celebrations.
In essence, sambal is not a type of food, but more of a condiment. It is a type of chilli sauce that is served together with all sorts of Indonesian dishes and consists of fermented shrimp paste, lime juice, sugar, salt, and chilli peppers.
Indonesians treat sambal as a very important element of their cuisine and you will notice that a dollop of this sauce is present in almost every dish served to you.