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Indonesian Cuisine

Indonesian Cuisine

Indonesian cuisine reflects the vast variety created by the people who live on the 6,000 populated islands that make up the modern nation of Indonesia. There is not a single "Indonesian" cuisine, but rather, a diversity of regional cuisines formed by local Indonesian cultures and foreign influences. Indonesian cuisine reflects its complex cultural history. Cooking varies greatly by region and combines many different influences.

Sumatran cuisine, for example, shows the cooking style related to the "Melayu" culture with their rich and creamy dishes, which often uses lots of coconut milk and pungent spices. It often shows Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring varieties of "kari" (curry) and curried meat.

Sundanese and Javanese cuisine on the other hand is rather more indigenously developed, with strong liking of sweet fermented soy sauce. Sundanese dishes thrives on the freshness and naturalism by creating simple cooking dishes, with a high interest in raw vegetables which has its own term "lalab", that is eaten with various kind of sambal (chilli paste).

Manado region of North Sulawesi are famous for their sea fish based cooking, and the special sambal called "dabu-dabu" which is fresh, sour, and hot, combining the potentials of pineapple, shallot, and bird eye chillies. Manadonese also boasts the courage to cook uncommon meats such as jungle rat, monitor lizard, and paniki; bats. Famous delicacies from this region is Klappertaart which is a pie-like cake made with young coconut.

Makassar region of South Sulawesi on the contrary, is more famous for their beef based cooking, especially the Konro bakar which is a beef's ribs grilled with peanut sauce. The other famous choices are the soto; Sop Konro, Sop Saudara, which includes keluwak as the seasoning. Favorite dessert from this area is Pallu Butung and Es Pisang Hijau (green banana).

Different with the rest, the cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisine. In this region, rice is no longer a staple food as most of the natives here are more familiar to sagu as their main source of carbohydrate.

Elements of Chinese cuisine can also be seen in Indonesian cuisine, especially in those regions with big sea ports. Items such as bakmi (noodles), bakso (meat balls), and lumpia (spring rolls), have been completely assimilated.

Some popular Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng, gado-gado, sate, and soto is omnipresent in the country and considered as Indonesian national dishes.

The most popular dishes that originated in Indonesia are now common across much of Southeast Asia. Popular Indonesian dishes such as satay, beef rendang, and sambal are also favored in Malaysia and Singapore.

(Reference: Wikipedia)

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