Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant and colourful cuisines in the world, full of intense flavour. It is diverse, in part because Indonesia is composed of approximately 6,000 populated islands of the total 17,508 in the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 300 ethnic groups calling Indonesia home. Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon indigenous culture and foreign influences. Indonesia has around 5,350 traditional recipes, with 30 of them considered the most important. Indonesia’s cuisine may include rice, noodle and soup dishes in modest local eateries to street-side snacks and top-dollar plates.
In 2011, Indonesian cuisine began to gain worldwide recognition, with three of its popular dishes make it to the list of ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick)’, a worldwide online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International. Rendang top the list as the number one, followed closely by nasi goreng in number two, and satay in number fourteen.
Indonesian cuisine varies greatly by region and has many different influences. Sumatran cuisine, for example, often has Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring curried meat and vegetables such as gulai and curry, while Javanese cuisine is mostly indigenous, with some hint of Chinese influence. The cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisine. Elements of Chinese cuisine can be seen in Indonesian cuisine: foods such as noodles, meat balls, and spring rolls have been completely assimilated.