With the abundance of spices, ingredients and cultural influences of Indonesia, some might wonder – what do Indonesians eat when the munchies strike them? Let us illuminate you on this question of utmost importance.
It is an undeniable fact that Indonesians love two things: cassava and deep-fried food. When these two immutable facts are combined, what you get is keripik singkong (cassava chips). For those who are sceptical about this unorthodox creation, do give it a try and you’ll wonder how you’ve lived your life without it. Crisp with the distinctive earthy taste of cassava, flavoured cassava chips is an entirely different ball game compared to your conventional potato chips.
The humble roti bakar (grilled bread) is one of the most popular street snacks in Jakarta. White bread is slathered with generous amount of margarine and layers of fillings – traditionally meses(chocolate rice), grated cheese, sugar, condensed milk and banana – topped with another slice of white bread before being grilled over charcoal-fire. Go on and indulge yourself, the sugar rush is well worth the treat.
A classic Indonesian street snack, klepon are steamed glutinous rice flour balls rolled in coconut flakes with fillings of piping hot gula jawa (Javanese palm sugar). Klepon is wrapped traditionally in banana leaves and sold alongside other treats such as kue putu bamboo and kueh putu mangkok which are made from the same ingredients.
A beloved fried snack found all over Indonesia, pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) is a staple sweet treat for obvious reasons – the countless varieties and abundance of banana trees found all over the archipelago. The most common banana varieties used are pisang Kepok and Tanduk, though pisang Uli, Raja and Ambon are also widely used when available. Grab a piping hot paper bag full of pisang goreng freshly deep-fried from your nearest street hawker.
For a sinful and unforgettable nighttime treat, order yourself a martabak. Available in sweet or savoury versions, our favourite is the decadent sweet version. The thick and fluffy pancake is generously brushed over with margarine and topped traditionally with meses (chocolate rice), grated cheese, crushed peanuts and condensed milk before being folded and sliced into bite sized goodness. Contemporary versions of the sweet snack feature adventurous toppings such as Nutella, Kit-Kat, Oreos and peanut butter. For homesick Indonesians, martabak manis makes the perfect souvenir to bring back!