Acar is a traditional mixed vegetable pickle that usually consists of cabbage, carrots, cucumber, or long beans that are generously spiced with chilis and sliced shallots. All the vegetables are cut into thin strips or diced into larger chunks before they are mixed with a salty, lightly sweet water and vinegar brine.

Acar is used as a topping for noodles and rice or as an accompaniment to grilled or fried dishes and curries. The varieties of acar spread throughout Indonesia; they often incorporate various spices and fruits such as mango or pineapple. Acar is commonly prepared in Malaysia and Singapore, where it is traditionally made with a spicy peanut paste. 

Sayur asem

Sayur asem is a sweet and sour vegetable soup. Often referred to as tamarind soup, it is one of the favorite vegetable dishes in Indonesia. The entire dish is based on tamarind, an unusual plant commonly grown in Southeast Asia, which gives the dish a distinctive sour taste.

Other traditional Indonesian ingredients in sayur asem include jackfruit, melinjo, long beans, bilimbi, pumpkin, corn, and chayote. Sayur asem originated among the Sundanese people residing in West Java. However, their original recipe for this traditional soup has been adapted across Indonesia. 


Ketoprak is a traditional Indonesian street food dish that’s often described as tofu salad. It’s made with a combination of fried tofu, steamed rice cakes, rice vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, cabbage, and cucumbers. The combination is served in peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce (kecap manis).

It’s usually topped with fried shallots and krupuk. The dish can be found at numerous ketoprak food carts throughout Jakarta, although there is still an ongoing debate about the origin of the dish – some claim that it was first made in Cirebon because the majority of street food vendors come from Cirebon. 

Singkong goreng

Singkong goreng is a traditional dish originating from Indonesia. This simple dish is prepared with a combination of cassava, salt, garlic, coriander, oil, and water. The cassava is sliced into long strips and steamed, while the garlic is pounded or ground.

The sliced cassava is mixed with water, salt, coriander, and garlic, then marinated for a while before it’s fried in oil until golden brown. Indonesian fried cassava is served while still hot and crispy. This snack can be eaten on its own or served as a side dish accompanying larger dishes.

Pepes tahu

Pepes tahu is a traditional Indonesian dish hailing from West Java. It consists of spiced and steamed tofu that’s cooked in banana leaves. The ingredients usually include tofu, banana leaves, bell peppers, green onions, and a spice paste consisting of shallots, garlic, sugar, salt, and hot chili peppers.

The tofu is drained and mashed, then combined with the spice paste, bell peppers, and green onions. The combination is wrapped in banana leaves, steamed, then served while still warm with rice on the side. Alternatively, pepes tahu can be grilled instead of steamed, if desired.

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