Indonesia is globally recognized for its diverse culture. It is known as a heterogeneous country because every region of Indonesia has different cultures and traditions. This means you can find a variety of unique Indonesian snacks and food across the country.
As there are over 1300 ethnic groups around, the exploration of different traditions and food cultures is particularly interesting. This is one of the most exciting facts about Indonesia.
Every Indonesian province will give a unique experience of customs, languages, traditions, and food. Here are some of the most popular Indonesian snacks that you can try.
Indonesian Snacks – Chips And Crackers
Rempeyek (Indonesian Crackers)
Rempeyek, also known as peyek is a deep-fried Javanese and Indonesian snack. These are lentil or peanut crackers, commonly found in Javanese cuisine. The most famous type of rempeyek is peyek kacang, which is a peanut cracker.
Indonesian biscuits are prepared from coconut milk, rice flour, and other ingredients. Salt, coconut milk, ground coriander, and candlenut are mixed in the rice flour to form a batter. Before frying, the crackers are coated with a crispy flour batter.
The crackers turn hard, crispy, and golden brown upon frying. You might also find variations with chopped citrus leaves, anchovy, dried shrimp, spinach, or beans.
Pack some along so you can munch on them as you explore the famous landmarks in Indonesia.
Emping (Indonesian Chips)
Emping is a bite-sized Indonesia snack that can be addictive if you enjoy the taste. It is like a chip or a cracker, prepared from belinjo or melinjo nuts. The crackers also have a hint of bitter flavor to them.
Indonesian food points serve two types of emping, thick or thin. The thick emping has a sweet flavor and is coated with sugar syrup or chili pepper. While the salty ones are plain or salty.
You can easily find ready-to-eat emping in snack stores, restaurants, or supermarkets. Although emping is served solely, you can find it as an accompaniment to other traditional Indonesian food. These crackers are a popular addition to dishes like soto, nasi uduk, gado gado, sop buntut, or bubur ayam.
Indonesian Snacks – Fried Food
Bakwan Sayur (Vegetable Fritters)
Bakwan sayur is one of the most popular Indonesian snacks and street food. These are mixed vegetable fritters containing flour, vegetables, and spices. It is served with peanut sauce, chili peppers, and chili sauce.
The base for the fritters consists of rice or wheat flour, or a combination of both. This flour is mixed with water, eggs, baking powder, and Indonesian spices. The mixture acts as a binding agent to hold all ingredients.
Finely chopped and shredded vegetables are added to this mixture, including bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, and scallions. Usually, bakwan is known for mixed vegetables, but you can also find a non-vegetarian version, bakwan udang. These tasty Indonesian snacks contain whole shrimp in the batter, giving it a meaty flavor.
Pisang Goreng (Banana Fritters)
Pisang goreng or banana fritters are an everyday snack in Indonesia. They have a crispy texture on the outside and soft and tender bananas on the inside.
Fruit fritters are common throughout Indonesia and come in different variations. The most common among them are these fried banana snacks.
To make these fritters, banana slices are coated in batter and fried in hot oil to create a delicious goodie. The crispy exterior contrasts the soft gooey banana that is coated inside with increased sweetness.
These traditional Indonesian snacks are sold at carts and street food stalls. It tastes best when dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Rissole (Indonesian Patties)
Rissole, also called risoles or risol, are fried traditional Indonesian snacks. It has a delicate flavor with crispy skin, like a flat crepe made from batter.
These small croquettes are filled with chicken, seafood, meat, eggs, diced vegetables, or bechamel. Sometimes sweet ingredients are also used to make a sweet version of a rissole. The filling is wrapped in a batter which is rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown.
The savory Indonesian snack is served with chili sauce, tomato sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, or bird’s eye chili. You can find it in many bakeries, markets, or street food stalls.
Batagor (Fried Fish Dumplings)
Batagor is a fried fish dumpling served with a spicy sauce. It is a traditional Indonesian snack with roots in Chinese cuisine. The fish dumplings are fried instead of steamed like in Chinese dumplings.
The preferred fish for this delicious snack in Indonesia is wahoo. In some regions, you can also find tuna, prawns, or mackerel fish dumplings. Similarly, vegetarian versions of these dumplings include vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, or tofu.
The dumplings are cut into small pieces and then covered with soy sauce, peanut sauce, and chili sauce with some lemon juice. It has a crispy and crunchy texture with delicious stuffed seafood.
Indonesian Snacks – Sweet Dishes
Pie Susu (Milk Pie)
Pie susu is a legendary Indonesian food, admired by everyone. It is believed that the sweet snack originated in Bali. It is usually made as a small individual tart or one larger tart which is sliced later.
This custard tart is a round-shaped pastry stuffed with condensed milk and egg custard. The shortcrust pastry is flat with a very thin layer of custard. You can also find vegan milk pie, consisting of vegan condensed milk.
It is a simple Bali snack but the taste is just mind-blowing. The sweet and creamy flavor and crunchy texture will enchant your tastebuds. The dessert is buttery with balanced sweetness making you eat it without counting.
Kue Cubit (Indonesian Pinch Cake)
Kue Cubit is a snack Indonesia is famous for. It is popular among both kids and adults due to its sweet and savory flavor. The name of this Indonesian dessert comes from its small size.
This Indonesian snack is the main attraction of many kids when they are coming back home from school. These pinch cakes are sold by food vendors on almost every Indonesian street.
Kue cubit is prepared using ingredients, flour, sugar, milk, and baking powder. After it gets ready, it is topped up with meises, grated cheese, jackfruit, or any other fruit. The best way to enjoy kue cubit is when it is warm, with a hot cup of tea.
Wingko Babat (Coconut Pancake)
Wingko, wiwingka, or bibika is one of the popular desserts and Indonesian snacks. The most famous wingko is made in Babat, where it plays a significant role in the regional economy.
Grated coconut and glutinous rice flour are the main ingredients of these traditional Indonesian desserts. Wingko is usually round or it can also be served in tiny square-shaped pieces.
This Indonesian delicacy has a sweet flavor, a strong vanilla aroma, and a soft but somewhat chewy texture. You will find many peddlers at train stations, on buses, in trains, or in local shops selling this sweet. It is one of the best street foods in Indonesia to try when you are feeling like eating something light and sweet.
Indonesian Fruit Salad
Rojak (Fruit Salad)
Rojak is another famous traditional Indonesian snack admired by locals. You are going to love this fruit salad prepared with fresh seasonal fruits. Some common fruits used for rujak are mangoes, apples, papaya, June plums, and pineapples.
It is one of the best vegetarian Indonesian dishes you can find in the whole country. Originating from Java, rojak has different varieties throughout Indonesia.
The most popular among these variations is fruit rujak or rujak buah. It contains seasonal fruits served with sweet and spicy dressing. The rujak dressing contains water, fried peanuts, palm sugar, tamarind paste, and chili peppers.
Sometimes, the dressing also contains prawn paste. If you are looking for a vegetarian salad, ask the seller if the salad has prawn paste or not.
Discovering Traditional Indonesian Snacks
Quick bites and easy-to-eat dishes form an important part of traditional Indonesian cuisine. From pie susu to pisang goreng, every Indonesian snack is worth trying.
People in Indonesia love to eat snacks that are locally called “gorengan” or kue. Gorengan in the Indonesian language is referred to as fritters while Kue refers to all kinds of traditional pastries and cakes.
Indonesian snacks are usually eaten during the evening. Sometimes, these snacks are served in the Indonesian breakfast and dinner spread, or as a side dish and dessert.