As a home to diverse culture and traditions, you can see the colors of Indonesia through its cuisine. The diversity is astounding, even the staple rice is cooked and served in myriad ways in each province of Indonesia, and each worth tasting!
Here are some must-try traditional rice dishes you can try:
Nasi Tutug Oncom
Originated from West Java, this rice dish features oncom (fermented soybean paste) that is mixed in the rice. Usually Nasi Tutug Oncom is served along with other side dishes such as fried tempe and tofu, fried fish or chicken, and spicy sambal. The savory flavor of oncom adds the unique flavor of this dish.
Where to try it in Jakarta: Nasi Tutug Oncom Pamulang, Jalan Pamulang Permai I No 21 Pamulang, Tangerang
Nasi Bogana is a rice dish originally from Tegal, Central Java. You can find this dish in almost every warung tegal (warteg) in town. Usually, Nasi Bogana is prepared by spreading a wide banana leaf and filling it with steamed rice. Over the rice, a smaller banana leaf is spread and the side dishes such as Opor Ayam (white chicken curry), dendeng (shredded meat), sambal goreng ati (chicken liver in chili and coconut gravy) and sambal.
Where to try it in Jakarta: Bogana Milka, Jalan Tanjung Duren Utara IIID/150 West Jakarta
Although it slightly sounds similar to Nasi Begana, Nasi Megana is a completely different dish. Originated from the northern coast of Central Java, this rice dish is very familiar in Pekalongan, Batang, and Pemalang regency in Central Java. Nasi Megono consisted as steamed rice topped with chopped young jackfruit cooked in shredded coconut and spices. Usually, Nasi Megono is served along with other side dishes such as mendoan (fried tempe in flour batter).
Where to try it in Jakarta: Warung Sewun, Jalan Raya Condet No 12B Balekambang, Kramatjati, East Jakarta
When you travel to Bali, this dish should be among the list of your must-try dishes. Served in a tiny portion, Nasi Jinggo is wrapped in a sheet of banana leaf. You will need more than two packs of Nasi Jinggo in one meal. Side dishes included in a portion of Nasi Jinggo are shredded chicken, Sambal Goreng Tempe (tempe in shallot and chili sauce), and Serundeng (sautéed shredded coconut).
Where to try it in Jakarta: Food Court Thamrin City, 2nd floor, Jalan Thamrin Boulevard, Central Jakarta
Its name was derived from an area called Jamblang in Cirebon, West Java. This rice dish is indeed one of the most popular traditional meals in the region. Nasi Jamblang usually uses teak as a pack of the rice. In common Nasi Jamblang stalls, the dish is served via a buffet with other menus such as chili fries, tofu vegetables, potatoes satay, scrambled eggs, tofu and tempe.
Where to try it in Jakarta: Nasi Jamblang Tulen Stabet, Jalan Tebet Raya No 93 Tebet, South Jakarta
Hailing from Surakarta, Central Java, Nasi Liwet is one of the most common rice dish you can find anywhere. Nasi Liwet is rice cooked in coconut milk, chicken broth, salam leaves and lemongrass, so it has a rich aroma and succulent taste. Nasi Liwet is usually served with a slice of omelette, shredded chicken (that had also been cooked in coconut milk) and a spoonful of thick aromatic coconut cream called kumut. Other side dish such as Telur Pindang (eggs boiled slowly in spices) and tempe are also added to make Nasi Liwet even more merry.
Where to try it in Jakarta: Opah Mami, The Promenade, Jalan Warung Buncit Raya No 98 Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta
Just like Nasi Jinggo, Nasi Kucing comes in small portions in a banana leaf wrapping. Originated from Yogyakarta, the name Nasi Kucing (cat’s rice) is derived from the portion size that is similar to the size of what Javanese would serve to a pet cat. The small portion of rice comes with toppings such as sambal, dried fish, and tempe. You will need more than 3 packs in one meal because of the tiny portion.
Where to try it in Jakarta: Angkringan Nasi Kucing Fatmawati, Jalan RS Fatmawati Raya No 77 Cilandak, South Jakarta