Indonesian cuisine is diverse, in part because Indonesia is composed of approximately 6,000 populated islands of the total 18,000 in the world’s largest archipelago.  Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon cultural and foreign influences.  Indonesian cuisine varies greatly by region and has many different influences.  Throughout its history, Indonesia has been involved in trade due to its location and natural resources. Additionally, Indonesia’s indigenous techniques and ingredients were influenced by India, the Middle East, China, and finally Europe.
Spanish and Portuguese traders brought New World produce even before the Dutch came to colonize most of the archipelago. The Indonesian islands The Moluccas (Maluku), which are famed as “the Spice Islands”, also contributed to the introduction of native spices, such as cloves and nutmeg, to Indonesian and global cuisine. Some popular Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng, gado-gado, sate, and soto are ubiquitous in the country and considered as Indonesian national dishes.
Sumatran cuisine, for example, often has Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring curried meat and vegetables such as gulai and kari, while Javanese cuisine is more indigenous.  The cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisine. Elements of Chinese cuisine can be seen in Indonesian cuisine: foods such as bakmi (noodles), bakso (meat or fish balls), and lumpia (spring rolls) have been completely assimilated. Some popular dishes that originated in Indonesia are now common across much of Southeast Asia.
Indonesian dishes such as satay, beef rendang, and sambal are also favoured in Malaysia and Singapore. Soy-based dishes, such as variations of tofu (tahu) and tempe, are also very popular. Tempe is regarded as a Javanese invention, a local adaptation of soy-based food fermentation and production. Another fermented food is oncom, similar in some ways to tempe but using a variety of bases (not only soy), created by different fungi, and particularly popular in West Java.
Indonesian meals are commonly eaten with the combination of a spoon in the right hand and fork in the left hand (to push the food onto the spoon), although in many parts of the country, such as West Java and West Sumatra, it is also common to eat with one’s hands. In restaurants or households that commonly use bare hands to eat, like in seafood foodstalls, traditional Sundanese and Minangkabau restaurants, or East Javanese pecel lele (fried catfish with sambal) and ayam goreng (fried chicken) food stalls, they usually serve kobokan, a bowl of tap water with a slice of lime in it to give a fresh scent.
This bowl of water should not to be consumed, however; it is used to wash one’s hand before and after eating. Eating with chopsticks is generally only found in food stalls or restaurants serving Indonesian adaptations of Chinese cuisine, such as bakmie or mie ayam (chicken noodle) with pangsit (wonton), mie goreng (fried noodles), and kwetiau goreng (fried flat rice noodles). Contents [hide] 1 Rice 2 Other staples 3 Vegetables 4 Meat and fish 5 Spices and other flavorings 6 Peanut sauce 7 Coconut milk 8 Regional dishes Foreign influences 10 Influence Abroad 11 Meal Times 12 Feasts: Tumpeng and Rijsttafel 13 Non-alcoholic Beverages 14 Alcoholic beverages 15 Snacks and street food 16 Fruits 17 Health and hygiene 18 See also 19 References 20 External links Rice Main article: Rice production in Indonesia Using water buffalo to plough rice fields in Java; Rice is a staple for all classes in contemporary; Indonesia is the world’s third largest paddy rice producer and its cultivation has transformed much of Indonesia’s landscape.
Rice is a staple for all classes in contemporary Indonesia, and it holds the central place in Indonesian culture: it shapes the landscape; is sold at markets; and is served in most meals both as a savoury and a sweet food. The importance of rice in Indonesian culture is demonstrated through the reverence of Dewi Sri, the rice goddess of ancient Java and Bali. Traditionally the agricultural cycles linked to rice cultivations were celebrated through rituals, such as Seren Taun rice harvest festival.
Rice is most often eaten as plain rice with just a few protein and vegetable dishes as side dishes. It is also served, however, as nasi uduk (rice cooked in coconut milk), nasi kuning (rice cooked with coconut milk and turmeric), ketupat (rice steamed in woven packets of coconut fronds), lontong (rice steamed in banana leaves), intip or rengginang (rice crackers), desserts, vermicelli, noodles, arak beras (rice wine), and nasi goreng (fried rice).  Nasi goreng is omnipresent in Indonesia and considered as national dish. 4] Rice was only incorporated into diets, however, as either the technology to grow it or the ability to buy it from elsewhere was gained. Evidence of wild rice on the island of Sulawesi dates from 3000 BCE. Evidence for the earliest cultivation, however, comes from eighth century stone inscriptions from the central island of Java, which show kings levied taxes in rice. The images of rice cultivation, rice barn, and mouse pest investing a ricefield is evident in Karmawibhanga bas-reliefs of Borobudur.
Divisions of labour between men, women, and animals that are still in place in Indonesian rice cultivation, were carved into relief friezes on the ninth century Prambanan temples in Central Java: a water buffalo attached to a plough; women planting seedlings and pounding grain; and a man carrying sheaves of rice on each end of a pole across his shoulders (pikulan). In the sixteenth century, Europeans visiting the Indonesian islands saw rice as a new prestige food served to the aristocracy during ceremonies and feasts. 9] Rice production in Indonesian history is linked to the development of iron tools and the domestication of Wild Asian Water Buffalo as water buffalo for cultivation of fields and manure for fertilizer. Rice production requires exposure to the sun. Once covered in dense forest, much of the Indonesian landscape has been gradually cleared for permanent fields and settlements as rice cultivation developed over the last fifteen hundred years.  Other staples Papeda, staple food of eastern Indonesia, served with yellow soup and grilled mackerel.
Other staple foods in Indonesia include a number of starchy tubers such as; yam, sweet potato, potato, taro and cassava; also starchy fruit such as breadfruit and jackfruit and grains such as maize and wheat. A sago congee called Papeda is a staple food especially in Maluku and Papua. Sago is also often mixed with water and cooked as a simple pancake. Next to sago, people of eastern Indonesia also consume various kind of wild tubers as staple food. Many types of tubers such as talas (a type of taro but larger and more bland) and breadfruit are native to Indonesia, while others are introduced from elsewhere.
Wheat, the base ingredient for bread and noodles were probably introduced from India or China; yam was introduced from Africa; while maize, potato, sweet potato, cassava and maize were introduced from Americas through Spanish influence and finally reached Java in 17th century. Cassava is usually boiled, steamed, fried or processed as popular snack kripik singkong (cassava crackers). Dried cassava, locally known as tiwul, is an alternate staple food in arid areas of Java such as Gunung Kidul and Wonogiri, while other roots and tubers are eaten especially in hard times.
Maize is eaten in drier regions such as Madura and islands east of the Wallace Line, such as the Lesser Sunda Islands. Vegetables Indonesian food includes many vegetables as ingredients like this Sayur oyong made with Luffa acutangula A number of leaf vegetables are widely used in Indonesian cuisine, such as kangkung, spinach, genjer, melinjo, papaya and cassava leaves. These are often sauteed with garlic. Spinach and corn are used in simple clear watery vegetable soup sayur bayam bening flavoured with temu kunci, garlic and shallot.
Other vegetables like labu air (calabash), labu siam (chayote), kelor, kacang panjang (yardlong bean), terung (eggplant), gambas and belustru, are cut and used in stir fries, curries and soups like sayur asem, sayur lodeh or laksa. Sayur sop is cabbage, cauliflower, potato, carrot, with macaroni spiced with black pepper, garlic and shallot in chicken or beef broth. The similar mixed vegetables are also stir fried as cap cai, a popular dish of the Chinese Indonesian cuisine. Vegetables like kecipir (winged bean), tomato, mentimun (cucumber) and the small variety of peria (bitter melon) are commonly eaten raw, like in lalab.
The large bitter melon variety is usually boiled. kecombrang and papaya flower buds are a common Indonesian vegetable. Urap is seasoned and spiced shredded coconut meat mixed together with vegetables, asinan betawi are preserved vegetables. Gado-gado and pecel are a salad of boiled vegetables dressed in a peanut-based spicy sauce, while karedok is its raw version. Meat and fish Rendang daging, a beef, mutton or goat meat dish cooked with coconut milk The main meat source diet mostly are poultry and fish, however meats such as beef, water buffalo, goat and mutton are commonly found in Indonesian marketplaces.
The most common poultry consumed is chicken and duck, however to a lesser amount, pigeon and wild migrating sea bird are also consumed. As a country with an Islamic majority, Indonesian Muslims follows the Islamic halal dietary law which forbids the consumption of pork. However in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant numbers of non-Muslims, boar and pork are commonly consumed. Dishes made of non-halal meats can be found in provinces such as Bali, North Sumatra, North Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, West Papua, Papua, and also in Chinatowns in major Indonesian cities.
Today to cater for the larger Muslim market, most of the restaurants and eating establishments in Indonesia put halal signs that signify they neither serve pork nor use lard in their cooking. The meat can be cooked in rich spices and coconut milk such as beef, goat or lamb rendang, skewered, seasoned and grilled chicken or mutton as satay, barbecued meats, or sliced and cooked in rich broth soup as soto. Muttons and various offals can be use as ingredients for soto soup or gulai curry.
In Bali, with its Hindu majority, the babi guling (pig roast) is popular among locals as well as non-Muslim visitors, while the Batak people of North Sumatra have babi panggang that is a similar dish. The meat also can be processed to be thinly-sliced and dried as dendeng (jerky), or made into abon (meat floss). Dendeng celeng is Indonesian “dried, jerked” boar meat.  As an archipelagic nation, seafood is abundant and commonly consumed especially by Indonesian resides in coastal areas. Popular seafood in Indonesian cuisine among others; mackerel, tuna, wahoo, milkfish, red snapper, anchovy, cuttlefish, shrimp, crab and mussel.
Seafood is commonly consumed across Indonesia, but it is especially popular in Maluku islands and Minahasa (North Sulawesi) cuisine. Seafood are usually being bakar (grilled), rebus (boiled) or goreng (fried). However another method of cooking like stir fried in spices or in soup is also possible. Ikan asin (salted fish) is preserved seafood through cured in salt, it is also can be found in Indonesian market. Fresh water fisheries can be found in inland region or area with large rivers or lakes. Popular fresh water fish among others; carp, gourami, snakehead, tilapia, catfish and pangasius. edit]Spices and other flavorings Sambal ulek, a common Indonesian spicy condiment. “Rempah” is Indonesian word for spice, while “bumbu” is the Indonesian word for spices mixture or seasoning, and it commonly appears in the names of certain spice mixtures, sauces and seasoning pastes.  Known throughout the world as the “Spice Islands”, the Indonesian islands of Maluku contributed to the introduction of its native spices to world cuisine. Spices such as pala (nutmeg/mace), cengkeh (clove), and laos (galangal) are native to Indonesia.
It is likely that lada hitam (black pepper), kunyit (turmeric), sereh (lemongrass), bawang merah (shallot), kayu manis (cinnamon), kemiri (candlenut), ketumbar (coriander), and asam jawa (tamarind) were introduced from India, while jahe (ginger), daun bawang (scallions) and bawang putih (garlic) were introduced from China. Those spices from mainland Asia were introduced early, in ancient times, thus they became integral ingredients in Indonesian cuisine. In ancient times, the kingdom of Sunda and the later sultanate of Banten were well known as the world’s major producers of black pepper.
The maritime empires of Srivijaya and Majapahit also benefited from the lucrative spice trade between the spice islands with China and India. Later the Dutch East India Company controlled the spice trade between Indonesia and the world. The Indonesian fondness for hot and spicy food was enriched when the Spanish introduced cabai chili pepper from the New World to the region in 16th century. After that hot and spicy sambals have become an important part of Indonesian cuisine.  Sambal evolved into many variants across Indonesia, ones of the most popular is sambal terasi (sambal belacan) and sambal mangga muda (young mango sambal).
Dabu-dabu is North Sulawesi style of sambal with chopped fresh tomato, chili, and lime juice. Traditionally prepared laboriously ground upon stone mortar, today sambals is also available as industrial processed products in bottles or jars. Soy sauce is also an important flavorings in Indonesian cuisine. Kecap asin (salty or common soy sauce) was adopted from Chinese cuisine, however Indonesian developed their own kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) with generous addition of palm sugar into soy sauce. Sweet soy sauce is an important marinade for barbecued meat and fish, such as satay and grilled fishes.
Sweet soy sauce is also an important ingredient for semur, Indonesian stew. Peanut sauce Peanut sauce is important part of gado-gado. One of the main characteristics of Indonesian cuisine is the wide application of peanuts in many Indonesian signature dishes, such as satay, gado-gado, karedok, ketoprak, and pecel. Gado-gado and Sate for example have been considered as Indonesian national dishes.  Introduced from Mexico by Portuguese and Spanish merchants in 16th century, peanuts assumed a place within Indonesian cuisine as a key ingredient.
Peanuts thrived in the tropical environment of Southeast Asia, and today they can be found, roasted and chopped finely, in many recipes. Whole, halved, or crushed peanuts are used to garnish a variety of dishes, and used in marinades and dipping sauces such as sambal kacang (a mixture of ground chilies and fried peanuts) for otak-otak or ketan. Peanut oil, extracted from peanuts, is one of the most commonly used cooking oils in Indonesia. Bumbu kacang or peanut sauce represents a sophisticated, earthy seasoning rather than a sweet, gloppy sauce. 14] It should have a delicate balance of savoury, sweet, sour, and spicy flavours, acquired from various ingredients, such as fried peanuts, gula jawa (coconut sugar), garlic, shallots, ginger, tamarind, lemon juice, lemongrass, salt, chilli, peppercorns, sweet soy sauce, ground together and mixed with water to form the right consistency. The secret to good peanut sauce is “not too thick and not too watery. ” Indonesian peanut sauce tends to be less sweet than the Thai version, which is a hybrid adaptation. Gado-gado is a popular dish particularly associated with bumbu kacang, and is eaten across Indonesia. edit]Coconut milk Shredding coconut flesh to make coconut milk. Coconuts are abundant in tropical Indonesia, and since ancient times Indonesians developed many and various uses for this plant. The broad use of coconut milk in dishes throughout the archipelago is another common characteristic of Indonesian cuisine. It is used in recipes ranging from savoury dishes – such as rendang, soto, sayur lodeh, gudeg, and opor ayam – to desserts – such as es cendol and es doger. Soto is ubiquitous in Indonesia and considered as one of Indonesia’s national dishes. 8] The use of coconut milk is not exclusive to Indonesian cuisine. It can also be found in Indian, Samoan, Thai, Malaysian, Filipino, and Brazilian cuisines. Nonetheless, the use of coconut milk is quite extensive in Indonesia, especially in Minangkabau cuisine, although in Minahasan (North Sulawesi) cuisine, coconut milk is generally absent, except in Minahasan cakes and desserts such as klappertart. In Indonesian cuisine, two types of coconut milk are found, thin coconut milk and thick coconut milk. The difference depends on the water and oil content.
Thin coconut milk is usually used for soups such as sayur lodeh and soto, while the thicker variety is used for rendang and desserts. It can be made from freshly shredded coconut meat in traditional markets, or can be found processed in cartons at the supermarket. After the milk has been extracted from the shredded coconut flesh to make coconut milk, the ampas kelapa (leftover coconut flesh) can still be used in urap, seasoned and spiced shredded coconut meat mixed together with vegetables. Leftover shredded coconut can also be cooked, sauteed and seasoned to make serundeng, almost powdery sweet and spicy finely shredded coconut.
Kerisik paste, added to thicken rendang, is another use of coconut flesh. To acquire a rich taste, some households insist on using freshly shredded coconut, instead of leftover, for urap and serundeng. Serundeng can be mixed with meat in dishes such as serundeng daging (beef serundeng) or sprinkled on top of other dishes such as soto or ketan (sticky rice). An example of the heavy use of coconut is Buras from Makassar, rice wrapped in banana leaf cooked with coconut milk and sprinkled with powdered coconut similar to serundeng.