How Indonesians Eat Their Food

When it comes to Southeast Asian cuisines, Indonesian cooking is known to be among the heartiest. Their dishes are made and served not just to cater one hungry individual, but everybody else on seated at the dinner table. This only makes this particular regional cuisine more interesting, as you get to feel not just full at the end of the meal, but you also get to see how their culture and tradition are moulded through food.

But how exactly do Indonesians enjoy their meals? If you’re going to have Indonesian food in Singapore, then here are the things you may have to anticipate:

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  1. They eat with their hands.

In authentic Indonesian restaurants, you will see that no utensils are placed on the table, only a basin where diners can wash their hands. This is because they eat with their hands. It is an integral part of the country’s culture to eat with the hands, as this is how the food felt and appreciated the most.

The locals also concentrate on their food when eating, thus you may notice the lack of reservations with each and every bite, compared to when you use the usual utensils.

If it is your first time to eat in a restaurant that serves Indonesian cuisine, then you better savor the moment of eating with your hands as well.

  1. They only eat with their right hand.

Just in case you haven’t realized it yet, Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, thus it follows Islamic traditions and practices. And in their faith they are only allowed to use their right hand for major activities, including eating. Thus, when eating with your hands, make sure to use only the right hand and not the left, as using the other is a major no-no.

If you are not comfortable of eating only with the right hand, then you may switch to using utensils. You may request to have these placed on your table during the course of the meal.

  1. Rice is everywhere.

An Indonesian meal is never complete without rice, so you must expect that when dining at a restaurant that serves the country’s cuisine, you’ll be served with heaps of rice. It is rare for Indonesians to serve other types of starch in their meals, such as bread or pasta, thus you have to get used to rice on your plate.

Rice can be served steamed, but it can also be prepared in different ways, such as stir fried with vegetables, meat, or seafood. And yes, when it comes to dessert and other sweet treats, you can expect to be served with rice (albeit the sticky kind) as well.

You may also want to try their cakes made of sticky rice flour, as they too are infused with different flavours using various herbs and other ingredients such as lemongrass, pandan leaves, and coconut milk.

  1. You can choose from three to four dishes in one seating.

Indonesian dining tends to be of great variety. Unlike other cuisines that focus on specific dishes for a particular mealtime, in Indonesia you can choose from three to four entrees to match with rice. This is customary in the country’s culture:  in one meal you are served with a number of main courses so that you are better able to enjoy different tastes of Indonesian cuisine in one seating.

If you are going to try Indonesian food in Singapore, then it is best that you do it with family, friends, or a big group. This is because you are able to enjoy the cuisine to the fullest, and at the same time feel the satisfaction of sharing the food with people you value.

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