Midday Treats


Our favourite lunch delights

A typical Indonesian lunch would vary from Rawon and Nasi Gudeg to Ayam Garo Rica and Pepes Gurame. While they are all differentiated by cultural influences, two similar characteristics draw them together: heavy and spicy. Here are five dishes that would commonly be consumed for lunch in Indonesia.

1.Nasi Padang
Known as the most popular traditional cuisine in Indonesia, Nasi Padang can easily be found in almost every nook and cranny of the country. Essentially a pre-cooked meal, it is the perfect choice for a quick lunch. One portion would usually consist of a meat of your choice, daun singkong (boiled cassava leaves), gulai nangka (ripe jackfruit curry), and chilli. It’s a meal that is packed to the brim with cholesterol, but it’s hard to deny its deliciousness. For one of the best Padangnese fish head in town, make a beeline to RM Medan Baru (Jl. Krekot Bunder No. 65, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta, T: 021 385 8992).

2.Mie Ayam
Seven out of ten Indonesians will never refuse a bowl of Mie Ayam for lunch. There are plenty of variations of the dish, including Mie Ayam Yamin (chicken noodles in sweet soy sauce), Mie Ayam Jamur (chicken and mushroom noodles), and Mie Ayam Bakso Pangsit (chicken noodles with meatball and wonton). For an even better experience, dump in loads of sambal in your Mie Ayam. One of the best Mie Ayam in Jakarta can be sampled at Bakmi Boy (Jl. Cikajang No. 42, Santa, South Jakarta).

3.Soto
A bowl of Soto is the ideal lunch if you want a bit of warmth for both your tummy and your heart, whether it is Soto Ayam, Soto Betawi, Soto Sapi, or Soto Padang. Its savoury flavour is best enjoyed with rice and a spoonful of chilli. Drop by Soto Betawi Afung (Jl. Gang Gloria No. 12, Glodok, Pancoran, West Jakarta, T:6 021 690 149) to nosh on authentic Soto Betawi.

4.Ayam Goreng
An all-time favourite of Indonesians, to have Ayam Goreng would be the icing on the cake for the ultimate lunch. Just imagine its tender meat and crispy skin, topped with sambal and eaten with rice. I’m feeling hungry just by writing about it. Ayam Berkah Rachmat (Jl. Melawai XIII, near RSB Asih, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, T: 021 573 6663) can be a tad crowded during lunchtime, but trust me when I say it’ll be worth the hassle.

5.Nasi Campur
As working professionals, we tend to want our lunch to be fast yet delicious enough for our palate. And we also love to see our plate filled with various dishes too. The only way you could have it all is by visiting a joint that offers Nasi Campur, such as a warteg or a Chinese restaurant that serves mixed rice. Go for the Nasi Campur with Char Siew Garing Madu (roasted honey pork) from Kacamata (Ruko Wijaya Grand Centre, Jl. Dharmawangsa, Blok C, No. 4, T: 021 723 5228) and you’ll be rewarded in spades.


Started her career as a food writer in 2012, Jessicha Valentina is the online editor of Good Indonesian Food. Jessicha has loved Sayur Asem since she was a wee kid and spends her free time trying to cook it.

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