Indonesia was a wonderful experience for me, cruising from Irian Jaya, to Sulawesi and on through central “Indo”, around Flores and to the big island of Jakarta. The cuisine varied impressively from region to region, but one thing was consistent throughout the country—inexpensive fresh produce with a good variety of local greens, and incredibly fresh fish! Not surprising, I guess, in the world’s largest island archipelago within the world’s greatest series of coral reefs. Still technologically primitive, and lacking much in the way of refrigeration, “rush hour” at the markets began at dawn.
Watching the fish coming in on small, one- or two-man canoes, the bargaining began as soon as the canoes hit the dock. Fresh seafood is a staple eaten daily with rice. Meat is limited, with the highly respected pig free to roam and never eaten, and with the occasional bit of beef and the ubiquitous chicken eaten with gusto. Rice is plentiful, eaten with greens and just about everything else eaten in Indo. Soups are very popular, with fresh coconut providing one of the many soup flavors. Chilli and peanuts are other ingredients familiar in Indonesian cuisine, especially in the wealthier and more populated areas.
Below are some of my favourite Indonesian dishes:
Mushroom & Chicken Noodle Soup with Crispy Fried Dumplings (Jakarta)
Spicy Beef Broth with Bean Sprouts, Radish & Crispy Shallots (Sumatra)
Assorted Satay with Pineapple Sambal
Shredded Chicken Salad (Balinese Style)
Mi-Goreng – Noodles with Shrimp & Vegetables
Baby Snapper Filets with Spicy Ginger, Chilli & Tomato Relish
Grilled Whole Fish (Tabanan Style)
Grilled Beef in Rendang Marinade (Sumatra)
Spiced Braised Coriander Marinated Beef Sirloin
Baked Coconut Cream Custard