How to eat like an Indonesian

The best way to enjoy Indonesian food: with family and friends, especially on Jalan Malioboro, Jogjakarta (btw sorry for showing my feet- more on that in a later post)

The best way to enjoy Indonesian food: with family and friends, especially on Jalan Malioboro, Jogjakarta (btw sorry for showing my feet- more on that in a later post)

There is a saying in Indonesia that if you haven’t eaten rice throughout the day, then you haven’t eaten at all. Rice is the bread and butter of every Indonesians diet and this is the main reason I titled my blog ‘don’t forget the rice’. Almost every meal will be served with rice, even for breakfast and sometimes even for dessert.

There are 4 different words in Indonesian for rice but the one your probably most familiar with is Nasi. This translates into English as cooked rice. The main rice that is available on every menu is of the white variety. I mean you can even order it nicely wrapped up like a burger at McDonald’s.

How you eat your rice is up to you. Indonesians eat their meals with a spoon and a fork or with their right hand. There are lots of variables as to when it is appropriate to use either, but as a foreigner I suggest you stick with the spoon and fork method to begin with. From an outsider it might look easy eating sans utensils but it takes a lot of practice to make it look effortless and dignified.

Eating with your hand is surprisingly satisfying, especially when you have had a long day.

Eating with your hand is surprisingly satisfying, especially when you have had a long day. (p.s. First GIF I ever made…)

When eating your….say, nasi goreng (fried rice) the fork is in your left hand as you would normally and the spoon in your right as your main utensil. The spoon will play the role of knife and spoon, very versatile little fellow and he has probably played knifey-spoony before.

And if you want to impress/flatter your host and/or your Indonesian friends, once you have finished your meal place your fork and spoon as shown in the picture below.

.....................Selamat makan

…………………Selamat makan

Memories of holidays past is always about the food for me. What are your favourite Indonesian food memories? Have you ever tried Durian? I have and I didn’t like it, but Isan doesnt like vegemite so we are even.

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8 thoughts on “How to eat like an Indonesian

  1. simonerobertsau Post author

    Thank you very much Shaneo. I look forward to you reading more of my posts. We all miss you here.

    Reply
  2. Johng996

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    Reply
    1. simonerobertsau Post author

      Thank you Johng996. The artwork is a shared effort between me and my fiance. I am glad you like it and the helpful tips. I hope you keep reading 🙂

      Reply
  3. wordinherit

    Simone, I enjoy reading your post. I smiled reading your caption “sorry for showing my feet”. Must have lived quite a long time in Java. Don’t worry, you can always say that you are “kesemutan” for excuse. 😉 I’m quite impressed with your eating with hand skill! Btw, have you ever eaten with a “spoon” made of banana leaf? Next challenge maybe? 🙂

    PS. I think the fork must be put under the spoon. :p

    Reply
    1. simonerobertsau Post author

      Thank you wordinherit, I am really glad you like it.

      I lived in Jogja for 1 year. My fiance has taught me a lot about culture and manners, I am so lucky to have him and thanks for the tip :).

      Again my fiance showed me how to pake tangan, some days I prefer it. My Mum reckons I might not look Indonesian but I sure have become one. This makes me happy.

      I have yet to use a banana leaf as a spoon. I will definitely have to try it. Perhaps I can write a post on how to make one?

      Many people have commented on my picture, someone told me that the whole fork and spoon thing was a leftover from the Dutch.

      Reply
  4. citramanica

    I love eating with my hand, especially when I’m eating nasi panas with ikan goreng, lalapan, sambal trasi and krupuk! Enak! Unfortunately eating with your hand is considered super rude in Brasil (where my husband is from), so I have to be careful, jangan makan pakai tangan di depan mertua ya! 😛

    Reply
    1. simonerobertsau Post author

      Lalapan pake tangan is the best! It’s far more enjoyable and definitely easier to eat this way.
      Ahhh pasti ada krupuk di rumah orang jowo 🙂

      Oke sip. Thank you for the advice.
      It isn’t very well received either in Australia but I have learned to love it. There is hope for your husband yet.

      Reply

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