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The Indonesian 30 Culinary Icons

Started with a national symposium and followed by series of discussions and meetings, Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy finally decides on 30 traditional cuisines that will represent Indonesia to the global culinary scene. 

Aiming to support Indonesia's tourism attraction, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Marie Elka Pangestu formally introduced the 30 traditional culinary icons on Friday afternoon (14/12).

"Cooking has become an important part of tourism. People from the streets have always wanted to taste their special dishes. In the future, there should also be culinary destinations. People go to a place just to taste the food. Like everyone in the world going to Bordeaux to taste the wine. If necessary we can also have to make Rendang Tourism", says Marie Elka Pangestu said in her speech.

At the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by practitioners of the culinary and tourism icons, 30 kinds of traditional Indonesia from Java, Sumatra, Bali, Madura, and Sulawesi were presented.

The 30 icons are:

  1.  Ayam Panggang Bumbu Rujak Yogyakarta (M) 
  2.  Gado-gado Jakarta (M) 
  3.  Nasi Goreng Kampung (M) 
  4.  Serabi Bandung (D) 
  5.  Sarikayo Minangkabau (D) 
  6.  Es Dawet Ayu Banjarnegara (D) 
  7.  Urap Sayuran Jogjakarta (M) 
  8.  Sayur Nangka Kapau (M) 
  9.  Lumpia Semarang (A) 
  10.  Nagasari Jogjakarta (D) 
  11.  Kue Lumpur Jakarta (D) 
  12.  Soto Ayam Lamongan (M) 
  13.  Rawon Surabaya (M) 
  14.  Asinan Jakarta (A) 
  15.  Sate Ayam Madura (M) 
  16.  Sate Maranggi Purwakarta (M) 
  17.  Klappertaart Manado (D) 
  18.  Tahu Telur Surabaya (M) 
  19.  Sate Lilit Bali (M) 
  20.  Rendang Padang (M) 
  21.  Orak-arik Buncis Solo (M) 
  22.  Pindang Patin Palembang (M) 
  23.  Asam Padeh Tongkol Padang (M) 
  24.  Nasi Liwet Solo (M) 
  25.  Es Bir Pletok Jakarta (D) 
  26.  Kolak Pisang Ubi Bandung (D) 
  27.  Ayam Goreng Lengkuas Bandung (M) 
  28.  Laksa Bogor (M) 
  29.  Kunyit Asam Solo (D) 
  30.  and Nasi Tumpeng (M) 

Note: Appetizer (A), Main Course (M), Dessert & Drink (D)

Initially there were 70 candidates, then trimmed down to 30 under assessment of the ministry's working group led by William Wongso, and Bondan Winarno; two of the most prominent Indonesian culinary figures at the moment. The initial 70 were chosen due to their heritage status, authenticity, and it was a combination of both appetizer, main courses, and desserts.

According to the Dirjen Pengembangan Destinasi Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif Firmansyah Rachim, the selection was made based on some criteria: First the ingredients must be easy to find, both inside or outside Indonesia; second, the cuisine have been known by Indonesian people, and there are professionals already involved in the creation of the cuisine.

Responding to the very limited numbers of selection, considering Indonesia has a very diverse traditional cuisine styles, Mari further mentioned "The selection of traditional culinary icons doesn't stop at these 30. We start from these 30 then we implemented, why we choose those culinary, with stories lies behind the culinary. Later every tourism destination each must have icons and culinary champions. Because culinary is part of tourism." 

"The establishment of 30 Indonesian traditional culinary icons is hoped to become the mandatory menu on every national events or international at the Presidential Palace" added Firmansyah.

Comments already arises on the internet about the final selections, and its considerably narrow selections of the cuisine's origin, including in Twitter under hashtag "#30IkonKulinerIndonesia". Many got surprised, some got disappointed by the lack of transparency in its process, and some because they think it doesn't really represent the richness of Indonesian heritage, but many are optimistic as well that no matter how imperfect the list might looks like, it's a start toward the right direction. (byms)