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Top 10 Fried Snacks To Savor On An Indonesian Adventure

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By Putri Hapsari of the WordInherit Blog

Indonesians typically eat a lot of gorengan, aka fried food. These fried dishes come in sweet and savory varieties, and while most are eaten as snacks it’s common to find locals enjoying certain savory eats with rice for a fuller meal.

When exploring Indonesian food and its focus on fried, don’t miss the following tasty bites:

1. Pisang Goreng (Fried Bananas)

With the country’s bananas galore, we can find pisang goreng almost anywhere. Fried bananas are served as snacks for guests and at traditional ceremonies, sold at street vendors, and offered at warungs (local restaurants) and cafes. While regular pisang goreng doesn’t include toppings, some creative cooks gown theirs in shredded cheese, sprinkles or syrup — making it even yummier!

2. Nangka Goreng (Fried Jackfruits)

Although they are not as popular as pisang goreng, fried jackfruits have their own fans. It may be because they are too sweet for many that they tend to get overlooked; however, those who embrace their sweet tooth should savor them. For me, I would rather have them in my kolak, a dessert made with palm sugar or coconut sugar, coconut milk and pandanus leaf.

3. Tape Goreng (Fried Tape)

Tape is fermented cassava. Dipped in batter and deep fried, tape goreng go well with black jasmine tea served in a traditional glass or mug.

4. Tahu Isi (Veggies-Filled Tofu)

The proper name is tahu isi (filled tofu), but Jakartans call it tahu bunting, or pregnant tofu. It’s made of firm tofu and filled with vegetables and, sometimes, rice noodles. We usually eat them with whole cabai rawit (small chilies) while watching television, though you can also eat them with ketchup. Anything goes when you eat tahu!

5. Tahu Bakso (Meat-Filled Tofu)

This dish is similar to tahu isi, except it’s filled with bakso, or “meatball.” School campuses typically sell this fried Indonesian snack. Moreover, certain supermarkets sell uncooked tahu bakso, so if your accommodation has a kitchen you can cook them at home.

6. Mendoan

This fried Indonesian food is as popular as pisang goreng. Made of a thin slice of tempeh dipped in batter, mendoan is typically accompanied by nasi pecel, rice with steamed veggies and peanut sauce. What differs mendoan from fried tempehs is the batter, as mendoan has a thicker coating with a softer texture.

7. Bakwan Sayur (Veggies Fritters)

Unlike mendoan, bakwan sayur are meant to be eaten alone. Some people eat them with rice and, to be honest, I want to scold them. Bakwan sayur is made of wheat flour and mixed veggies like carrot, cabbage, and some corns. It just tastes wrong to eat them with rice, possibly because they are sweet.

8. Bakwan Jagung (Corn Fritters)

They share many similarities with bakwan sayur. In fact, in East Java and Bali, the word “bakwan” often refers to this type of bakwan. They’re made of sweet corn, mashed and deep-fried. When eaten with rice, locals usually pair them with sayur bayam (spinach soup). Some people call bakwan jagung as perkedel jagung (corn patties).

9. Perkedel Kentang (Potato Patties)

These patties are usually eaten with nasi kuning (golden rice) or soto (soup made of broth, meat, and vegetables). The less popular types of perkedel include those made of tempeh and tofu. They are also delicious, but there’s still a long way to go to hit the same popularity level as their patty predecessor.

10. Singkong Goreng (Fried Cassava)

Mostly found in Java, this classic Indonesian food is perfect company for black coffee. The fried cassavas are not as popular as they used to be, but some vendors still sell them. The declining popularity might be caused by the image brought by the poor root, which is considered to be villagers’ food. Despite the image, this snack is definitely one of my favorites.

This is only a small list of humble fried foods you can find in Indonesia. There are many more dishes to sample and enjoy.

Have you eaten any Indonesian fried snacks? What is your favorite?

About The Author

Putri Hapsari is a freelance linguist and writer. She blogs about language and culture on WordInherit.

Jessie Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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  1. Oh how I miss Indonesian food. Before visiting Indonesia, I’d only ever had Nasi Goreng (still one of my favourites) but after a month, we discovered so many other foods. We were blown away by Indonesian cuisine… so delicious!

    1. @Karianne: Come to Indonesia to enjoy more of them. 🙂

  2. Bakwan Sayur sweet? It’s savoury.

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