Street food is part of Indonesian culture and there are endless dishes to try if you’re travelling in the country especially if you looking to travel Indonesia on a budget. We’ve done our best to squeeze it down to a few of our favourites, so you can tick them all off the list even if you’re on a short visit. Here are our 5 best Indonesian street food dishes, in no particular order.
It’s a go-to delicious street food dish for the veggies. If you’re worried about finding vegan and vegetarian food in Indonesia you can learn more about what to eat in our guide on that.
Ketropak is a staple of Indonesian cuisine and you’ll have no trouble finding stands selling it. The basis of the dish is lontong (rice cake) and tofu in a mouth-watering peanut sauce, it’s then normally mixed with chopped cabbage, bean sprouts, shallots and a boiled egg on the side. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, it’s a must try and easy to find if you’re in Jakarta or Yogyakarta.
More of a meat lover? Ayam Goreng is Indonesia’s answer to American fried chicken. While, in essence, that’s what it is (fried chicken) it’s quite a different dish to what you’re probably used to. The small, free-range chickens used for cooking in Indonesia mean the cuts tend to be smaller and a lot more flavoursome. Plus, rather than breadcrumbs it’s coated in a marinade of Indonesian spices before being placed in the deep fat fryer.
The result is some seriously tasty chicken and, if you like your food spicy, it’s often served with some sambal sauce for dipping as the final touch. If you want to try meat Indonesian-style then Ayam Goreng is one the best places to start.
If you want more than a snack try bakso, it’s a meatball soup and is one of the best street-food dishes to go for if you’re looking for a meal. What the meat is that makes up the meatballs isn’t entirely clear but try not to think about that! They are delicious and are loved across the whole country. If you’re looking to make it a proper meal than make sure you ask for Mie Bakso as this comes with noodles.
It’s most commonly found in Central Java and that’s where you’ll get the best bakso. However, any street food area in Indonesia is likely to serve it and it’s great value if you are travelling Indonesia on a budget!
One of the street-food dishes that’s become hard to find is kerak telor and if you do spot a stand selling it you should definitely buy some, we love it. It’s an omelette style dish made of up of egg and rice, topped with fried shallots and shrimp on top.
If you’re keen to try it, head to Kemayoran district when you’re in Jakarta and you’re likely to find some.
Gorengan is hugely popular in Indonesia, and there’s a reason why. Gorengan carts serve a diverse range of food bases, from banana to tofu, which are then deep-fried for you. It’s not the healthiest treat but it’s well worth the calories. Just try not to get addicted to this tasty treat.
You’ll have no problem finding street food stands selling this, whether you’re in Java or Bali.