Indonesian cuisine, with thousands of traditional recipes, has started to gain worldwide attention as people from across the world are eager to try it.
Throughout history, the islands of Maluku, which were known as “The Spice Islands”, have contributed to the introduction of native spices, such as cloves and nutmeg to Indonesian and global cuisines
For those seeking a gastronomic delight, there can be few things more adventurous and intriguing than traveling through the country and sampling the different local culinary specialties.
Several foreign tourists visiting the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta are in fact fond of traditional dishes, according to Cinema 21 Director of Food and Beverage Dody Suhartono.
“Every day, we see many foreign tourists coming to our restaurant to enjoy dishes that are part of the traditional Indonesian cuisine, such as nasi rames (rice and side dishes served together), meatballs, soto (kind of soup), satay, and pickles,” Suhartono remarked in Jakarta on Monday.
He noted that the tourists visiting a restaurant located in Metropole historic building will easily be able to find traditional Indonesian cuisine from different regions across the country.
“The food we serve does not contain any flavoring, but the foreign tourists have immensely liked them,” Suhartono said, adding that he chose to prepare natural broth that takes about seven hours.
Interestingly, this restaurant also serves food that is typical to the style of the past, such as the pudding tray duku, corn pudding platter, and ice gruel.
“In the past, we usually bought pudding tray duku from vendors, but now, all the foods are served at this restaurant is a hygienic way,” he noted.
He expressed hope that by serving such traditional cuisines, the visitors at the restaurant would be able to reminisce about the past.
According to Suhartono, the restaurant serves a menu encompassing the cuisines of all islands in Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, among several others.
Besides foreign tourists, several ambassadors from friendly countries also usually visit this restaurant.
“The most unique dish served at this restaurant is a vegetable made from papaya flowers, but it is prepared in a way that it does not taste bitter, in addition to gruel as well as traditional snacks and special pickles from Betawi,” he remarked.
Culinary expert William Wongso had earlier estimated that in the near future, the culinary mecca of the world will shift to Indonesia.
“Today, the mindset of the world community is different. People have tried different flavors, and in the near future, I believe the culinary mecca of the world will move to Indonesia,” William affirmed.
He noted that the Indonesian cuisine has a unique taste and is rich in spices that had drawn the Europeans to colonize the country.
An array of Indonesian cuisine, such as siomay (kind of steamed ravioli filled with meat), meatballs, potato cakes, rendang (meat simmered in spices and coconut milk), egg rolls, chicken satay, and bakwan (meatball noodle soup with fried wontons) were displayed at the Asia Food Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, recently.
“Such dishes are the favorite choice of the visitors to the festival, mostly the local residents,” according to spokesperson of the Indonesian Embassy in Prague, Fitriyani Riduan.
“Many traditional dishes from Indonesia can be found in the Asia Food Festival held at the bank of Vltava River. We want to showcase Indonesias rich culinary culture to the people in the Czech Republic,” she remarked.
According to Riduan, Indonesias participation in the food festival this time was part of its consistent efforts to promote the traditional cuisine among every society in the Czech Republic.
“Indonesian cuisine offers some of the best foods in the world. I do not regret coming all the way here to taste the food,” said one of the visitors to the festival.
During her visit to Beijing last April, Director of Meeting Incentive Convention Exhibition and Special Interest Promotion of the Tourism Ministry Rizki Handayani remarked that Indonesia had decided to open some restaurants in South Korea, Japan, and Australia.
At the time, she noted that opening the restaurants in foreign countries is part of the efforts to introduce Indonesias traditional cuisine to the international community.
“In Seoul, South Korea, the Bandung city government plans to set up a Sundanese traditional restaurant,” she affirmed, adding that the Indonesian restaurants in Australia and Japan will offer a wide range of traditional dishes from various regions in the country.
Handayani stated that Indonesian restaurants in Australia will be set up in Melbourne and Sydney.
“We, the government, highly support the plan to open Indonesian restaurants abroad as the culinary field now contributes the most to the gross domestic product from the creative economy sector,” she explained.
Handayani admitted that the number of Indonesian restaurants abroad was relatively small compared to those of other countries, including Thailand.
“As a matter of fact, Indonesia has a variety of culinary icons that are not inferior to those of other countries,” she remarked.
In this regard, she noted that the Tourism Ministry has distributed a book on 30 Indonesian traditional culinary icons to all Indonesian representatives abroad.
“Each Indonesian representative abroad must present Indonesian dishes at every routine event, particularly at state events. By doing so, the international community will be increasingly acquainted with Indonesia and its cuisine,” she pointed out.
In China, Indonesian restaurants are found in Beijing, Guang Zhou, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Several Indonesian culinary icons, such as rendang, fried rice, and baked fish are also served at several Thai, Malaysian, and Singaporean restaurants in Beijing.
Source: ANTARA News