Indonesian Cuisine

A Nation of Islands
Rijsttafel, Sate, and Sambals

“Indonesia isn’t a country, it’s a happening.” — Christopher Lucas [1]

Garjda, Indonesia 14th cent.

Garuda, Indonesia, 14th cent.

Indonesia stretches from the Asian mainland towards Australia, like a jade necklace across the southern ocean.  The nation contains more than 17,000 islands, and its people represent several hundred ethnic groups, speaking many different languages.

Indonesia is an ancient country and its Continue reading

Malaysian Cuisine

Durian Cake and Zuberbuhler’s Special
Raffles, Maugham and Lord Jim Country

“At the end of the tenth century Canton carried on direct trade with the Malay Peninsula.” —Friedrich Hirt and W. W. Rockhill [1]

Tang Dynasty horse from the Silk Road

Tang Dynasty Camel
From the Silk Road, 8th Century

For centuries the Malay Peninsula has been an important corridor in the southern sea route of the Spice Route.

The Strait of Malacca was an important Continue reading

Indonesian Hot Sauce Sambal Oelek

Mortar-Ground Intense Hot Sauce
Rice Table Essential

cooking with Indonesian hot sauce Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

A spicy hot red sauce called Sambal Oelek may be the most popular of the hundreds of varieties of Sambals in Indonesian cuisine.

The name Sambal Oelek means a mortar-ground Sambal or savory sauce, because it is typically ground in a stone mortar.

Sambal Oelek is probably the most familiar hot sauce served to accompany Indonesian food.It’s probably essential for a Rice Table or Rijsttafel meal. Continue reading


Essential to Any Indonesian Dinner
Another Tamil Traveler

“A most essential part of any respectable Indonesian dinner.” — Alec Robeau [1]

“In the realm of condiments, the unbridled Indonesian imagination runs wild.” — Agnes de Keijzer Brackman [2]

Indonesian sambal

Sambal Istimewa, one of many Indonesian sambals

The Indonesian food group called Sambals is sometimes translated as pickles or relish or condiments.  It is commonly described as chili based, although this may not always  be the case.

Sambal is normally used to mean a condiment that has a chile based sauce.

Sambals are popular in the cooking of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Continue reading