Given that the country is composed of many islands, you should not be surprised by the heavy presence of seafood in the menus. Individuals in the eastern part of Indonesia are mainly fishermen providing seafood for the other parts of the country, including fish such as tuna, milkfish, trevally, rabbit fish, blue crab, etc. In some parts, such as West Java, you will find fresh water fish from the rivers and lakes.
External influences on the Indonesian food
Indonesia cannot take the credit for all the food being native. Some foods have been influenced by different communities under different circumstances. These include influences from all around the planet, but mostly, they are Chinese, Indian and Dutch influences. The Chinese immigration to Indonesia was facilitated by the Dutch creating a fusion of cuisines from the three communities.
A family meal in Indonesia
Most families in Indonesia commonly belong to the middle class. During an ordinary day, you will find a large plate of rice on their table. All of the family members come to the table with their own smaller plates and serve themselves from the main plate. According to customs, the elders should serve themselves first, starting from the male family members – this is usually the father of the house.
In Indonesia, most of the meals are accompanied with soup. Soup should be on your right-hand side and a fork on the left. In case you come across seafood such as fish and fried chicken, then the meal will probably be eaten with bare hands. In some rare cases, you will find adaptations of Asian foods which are eaten using chopsticks.
Meal time in Indonesia
In Indonesia, there is no specific time when people get together to eat. For this reason, you will find that most of the meals prepared are designed to stay fresh for a longer period. Food is usually prepared early in the morning and it should be eaten during midday. Even after being left at room temperature the whole day, the same food is heated and eaten as the evening meal, as well. This means that the ordinary Indonesian family only makes their meals once a day, which sound very economical, doesn’t it?
There is no place, no matter its location on the globe, that goes year round without a fair share of feasts on its calendar. Indonesia is no exception, and in fact, if you get the chance to witness their traditional customs and ceremonies, you may think that the food is actually a piece of art. The most prominent of these feasts is the Tumpeng which is served as thanksgiving for a good harvest or blessings. This is celebrated through cone-shaped rice served at the feast, signifying the mountains.
It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. That said, most of the people envy men in the Indonesian society since they get a chance to experience some of the most colorful and flavored food in the world in their everyday life. The rich mixture of different food types is pleasing in all of its aspects – with its amazing colorfulness, smell and taste, it can assure you that when it comes to food variety, Indonesia is truly blessed.