Oh Indonesian Snacks … How I Love Them So!

Submitted by mumunmumun on 22 February 2011   •  Opinion

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Once upon a time, there was a traveler. She roamed new worlds in search of the meaning of life. While staring in to the oblivion, her thoughts wonder to the answers which she had compiled on the journey so far. What is life?

As the wind gently touches her face that afternoon, and the birds singing softly in the distance…. she suddenly hears an odd sound…

“Growl!” the sound states its existence. The traveler chooses to ignore this sound.

“Growl” it demands attention. What can this be? What is making this inhuman sound? What is this sensation the traveler is feeling????….

Yep! It’s your stomach that wants something from you and you gots to give it some munchies. When you’re traveling, food will always be an issue. What should you eat? What is it that the locals are selling? And should you eat local food (highly recommended since it’s part of the traveling experience) or stay with the western? And sometimes you just lost track of time that you totally forgot to have your regular meal. Dang! How can anyone forget that??? 😛

But don’t worry young travelers, we’ll update you with some of the great Indonesian snacks that are common throughout the cities. Just in case you didn’t have time to eat between your quests. Here are some snacks that you will definitely find on the streets you wander. They’re local and cheap. What else would you want? Now I’m hungry. 

1. Gorengan

Goreng translates to fry. So basically, if a stand says Gorengan, this means that it sells deep fried battered goodies. This is the most common snack throughout Indonesia. The basic items would be fried bananas, tofu with veggies inserted in the middle, tempe, and veggies mixed with dough. You might find some other items like fried cassava, pineapple, or jackfruit if you’re lucky. And if you like some spice to it, the seller usually toss in a few raw chili that you can munch with your snack. Prices can range from IDR 500 – 2000 (or rarely more) a piece

Travel Indonesia: Jakarta

2. Rujak

An all time favorite for so many. Rujak, the Indonesian fruit salad. It’s cut up fruits poured with liquid sugar sauce. The fruits are fresh in many varieties, from Papaya, watermelon, mangoes (ripe and green), Jicama, and so much more depending on what fruit the seller can get his hands on. The sugar sauce is made of palm sugar mixed with a few more spices, and peanuts. It’s a whole lot of flavor, but we do love it. It’s actually the official food for a gossip session amongst girls. Price: IDR 3,000 – 10,000 / serving.

Travel Indonesia: Jakarta

3. Indomie (warung)

While this is actually a brand, people now know it as a product in general. It is instant noodles or maybe some might know it as ramen. The Indomie stalls are everywhere, and they don’t necessary sell this brand of noodles. They will cook you a bowl of these noodles in a pack (both fried or with broth) and probably add a Benedict egg, a bit of green vegetables (just to keep it healthy… NOT!), and a sprinkle of fried shallots. Usually you can find these stalls everywhere and can open all night. They’re delish especially if you add cuts of raw chili… Oh Lord!

These stalls also sell coffee (and crappy 3 in 1 sachet coffee) and other snacks too. A portion of noodles can start at IDR 5,000 / portion.

Travel Indonesia: Bandung

4. Drink Stand

Most foreigners would thrive on their water supply, especially traveling in a hot and humid climate like South East Asia. If you happen to be out of supply, don’t worry! You won’t easily find a vending machine around a developing country, but you will find service! We have tons of drink stand scattered around the country. They sell bottled water of course, and also other drinks that a vending machine would sell including bubbly drinks (wine not included , sorry!) and our favorite drink in a bottle… TEA! Sweet ones too. If you happen to be buying your supply in one of these stands, try the Teh Botol, our number one local tea drink. Indonesian people love and crave it, I tell you!

Travel Indonesia: Jakarta

5. Martabak

There are two types of martabak in Indonesia. The sweet kind or martabak manis or martabak terang bulan, which is like this thick pancake folded in to two and is filled with your choice of filling. Fillings can range from chocolate, peanuts, bananas, cheese (my favorite), to the odd stuff like sweet corn and black sticky rice. Sounds great, hey? One serving can start from IDR 10,000.

The ‘salty’ kind or martabak asin is like a huge simosa but doesn’t have a crispy skin. It’s made of a fried flattened dough filled with eggs, minced meat, and herbs like onion leaves, shallots, and other spices. Oh… dear…. Slurp! Some are sold with a special sour sauce or lightly chili sauce just to add more Umph. A portion is good for about 4 Indonesian people, or 2 foreigners who happen to love it.  Prices can start from IDR 8,000 / servings.

Travel Indonesia: Bandung

And there you have it. Some of Indonesia’s most common snacks found on the street. Do try one, and see what we fuss about between meals!

Note: Let it be noted, that when I’m writing about this, I was in Wetar where NONE of these food exist. Hence… forgive me if you see a drool stain (there are some things that an internet blog can not show) 🙂

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