20 Best Indonesian Street Foods in Jakarta, Bali, East & West Java

 

No matter where you’re from, street foods are always a great choice for filling you up or satisfying a craving while you’re out and about. Indonesia is a country made up of thousands of islands and hundreds of cultures—and that richness in cultures translates into an endless variety of street foods.

Indonesian street food is rich with a mix of traditional and modern food from all across the country—some might suit your tastes while others might not. To help you choose the right ones for you, these are the most popular Indonesian street foods that you really should try you’re in the country.

1. Cilok (Savory tapioca balls)

Cilok

Cilok is savory tapioca balls that have become one of the most famous street snacks found throughout Indonesia. Three main sauce types are served with cilok: ketchup, soy sauce, and peanut sauce.

You can buy cilok from street vendors. Some of them have a cart set up in one place while others cycle around and sell their food. The name itself is short for the phrase aci dicolok (skewered tapioca), but there are various other names such as pentol or salome.

2. Pisang cokelat (Fried bananas with chocolate)

You may already be familiar with fried bananas, but pisang cokelat takes another spin on banana fritters by adding a layer of chocolate between the banana and the crispy coating.

You can enjoy this sweet, oily, and delicious street food as a casual snack between meals or as a dessert. Pisang cokelat sellers usually set up their carts in the late afternoon and sell for an hour or two. Most of them make pisang cokelat by order because they are most delicious when hot.

If you’re not into sweet snacks try pisang goreng, the less sugary banana fritter.

If you’re not into sweet snacks, try the less sugary banana fritter (pisang goreng) that doesn’t have chocolate. But if you ever find yourselves exploring the city streets of Indonesia, you should give pisang cokelat a try.

3. Gorengan (Fried Snacks)

Gorengan

Gorengan is the common name for any type of fried snack, ranging from fried bananas to fried tempeh. You can find street vendors selling these oily foods in almost any city in Indonesia, including tourism places like Bali or Yogyakarta.

Most Indonesian consider them snacks as they would make a pretty heavy meal. In many restaurants across Indonesia, gorengan is served as an optional topping to a meal. There are dozens of types of gorengan, but the most popular are tahu goreng, tahu isi, tempe goreng, bakwan, and tempe mendoan.

4. Martabak

Martabak

It is unclear where martabak originates from, but you can find it in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.

There are two types of martabak in Indonesia: sweet and savory. The sweet martabak (also known as terang bulan) comes with various toppings such as chocolate, matcha, vanilla, strawberry, and many more. Savory martabak (also known as martabak telur) is made with chicken or duck eggs mixed with beef or chicken.

You can find street vendors selling sweet and savory martabak under one tent in almost every part of Indonesia. It’s commonly sold in the evening until midnight, but not in the morning or afternoon.

5. Pisang molen (Banana fritters)

Pisang molen

Pisang molen is a light delicacy made from bananas wrapped in layers of pastry, which is then deep-fried in vegetable oil. It’s one of the many iterations of banana fritters in Indonesia and is often served with a cup of hot tea or coffee to start the day.

The dough is flattened using a flattening device (often used to make noodles) for the wrapping. While being deep-fried, they hardly promote healthy living, but molen is usually made with high-protein flour and a diet-friendly amount of sugar (30 grams per serving). Since it’s a popular breakfast food, you can typically buy molen at 6 in the morning up until around 3 in the afternoon.

6. Siomay (Steamed Fish Dumplings)

Siomay

Siomay is a steamed fish dumpling that contains various chopped vegetables. It is Indonesia’s take on the Chinese shumai. These fish dumplings are served with peanut sauce, steamed cabbage, potatoes, boiled egg, and tofu.

The original Chinese Shumai is typically made from pork. Since Indonesians are predominantly Muslim, and therefore can’t eat pork, they substitute the pork with tenggiri (mackerel), tuna, or prawn depending on the cook. Most siomay sellers also offer a slice of lime to add freshness and reduce the fishy odor (if there is any).

7. Batagor

Batagor

Batagor is a popular Indonesian street food that originates from Bandung, West Java. This savory half-meal mainly consists of fried mackerel meatballs with various toppings, including tofu, and fried dumplings, drenched with peanut sauce.

If you’re ever in Bandung, it’s a must-try delicacy because that is its original birthplace, making the taste of them there as authentic as you can get. However, you can find street vendors selling batagor Bandung all across Java and Bali, which can be just as delicious.

8. Cimol (Starch Balls)

Cimol
Credit: @sukabumikuliner on Instagram

Cimol is very similar to cilok in that they are snacks made from starch balls. You could say they are siblings in a way, but instead of being steamed, as is cilok, cimol are deep-fried and then served with seasoning or sauce.

The starch balls themselves are unseasoned and therefore unflavored, but the simplicity makes cimol very popular with Indonesians. Its plain and original taste acts as a blank canvas for which you can choose your own seasoning for flavor.

9. Seblak (Spicy Soup)

Seblak

Seblak is a spicy soup with boiled crackers, meatballs, and various toppings. This dish is popular with teens and students in Indonesia due to its affordability and the kick in its flavor.

The main ingredients are garlic, onion, and chili peppers. Most seblak sellers offer various toppings, including ceker (chicken’s feet), chicken, eggs, sausage, and melted cheese.

Seblak is a spicy Indonesian street food originating from Bandung, which has overall cooler weather than other Indonesian cities. The seblak (boiled crackers) have a chewy texture that blends perfectly with the soup, especially when it’s piping hot.

10. Leker (Indonesian Crepe)

Leker is a type of Indonesian crepe made using wheat flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. Street vendors offer various fillings for their leker, including banana, condensed milk, cheese, and chocolate. Unlike typical crepes, which get folded multiple times, leker is folded in half for serving.

Although many Indonesians believe that leker originates from Solo, it is, in fact, famous as one of the signature street foods of Surabaya, East Java. The name leker is taken from the Dutch word lekker, meaning tasty, which was adapted during the Dutch colonial period.

11. Es Dung Dung (Ice Cream)

Es dung dung is a type of Indonesian ice cream, aptly named after the sound street vendors make when selling them. Vendors usually push a cart while sounding a miniature gong made from brass, making the dung sound, hence the name.

Unlike typical ice cream, es dung dung is made with coconut milk. It’s believed that es dung dung was a cheaper alternative to dairy-based ice cream, which was introduced by the Dutch and was too expensive for the locals.

While its availability is declining due to industrial ice cream being more affordable, es dung dung is still preferred by the older generation over the dairy-based dessert.

12. Cireng

Cireng

Cireng is another Indonesian street food made from tapioca starch, but it’s quite different from cilok and cimol. In essence, cireng is very similar to cimol since they’re both fried starch balls. The only difference is in the shape and sauce served with it.

While cilok and cimol are starch balls, cireng is a starch disc—if that makes sense. Cireng is essentially flattened starchy dough that is deep fried and served with peanut sauce and a touch of palm sugar to create its signature sweet and spicy taste.

13. Es Doger

Es doger is a form of cold dessert made with coconut milk, commonly found around Bandung, West Java. Even though it originates from Cirebon, you can find es doger in almost every city in Indonesia, especially the larger ones like Surabaya, Malang, and Jakarta.

The ingredients for es doger are tapioca pearls, grass jelly, coconut milk, milk, and red syrup. Es doger is especially common on city streets, where the temperature tends to be warmer.

14. Cilor

Cilor is another popular Indonesian street food made from tapioca starch. It’s a street snack derived from cilok, which is very popular across the country—you could say cilor is cilok’s more delicious cousin.

Unlike cilok or cimol, which are cooked without any seasoning and rely on sauces for taste, cilor is fried with a coating of scrambled egg. It’s savory and delicious by itself, but Indonesians often enjoy it with spicy peanut sauce.

Street vendors usually sell cilor to go in a plastic bag (yes, we know it’s not the healthiest way to wrap food, but it works, and your sauce won’t drip everywhere).

15. Surabi (Coconut milk pancakes)

Surabi

Surabi is a bowl-shaped pancake made with rice flour and coconut milk dough. While it is one of Indonesia’s most famous street foods, surabi is quite famous in Thailand too. What sets surabi apart from western pancakes is how they are made.

While western pancakes are made in a pan, surabis are baked on earthenware on a clay stove. The burnt aroma from the natural cooking medium is what gives surabis their signature smell.

Surabis can be both savory and sweet. The most common version are the sweet ones with an ensemble of toppings ranging from chocolate to bananas. Modern food vendors offer their own take on surabis, eaten as a snack by city folks in Jakarta, Surabaya, and other urban areas.

16. Tahu bulat (Fried Tofu Balls)

Tahu bulat is a famous Indonesian street food that you can easily find anywhere in the country. Most tahu bulat vendors sell their food from a food truck complete with all the ingredients and a frying station on the truck bed.

In essence, tahu bulat is hollow fried tofu balls served with a touch of seasoning. The presence of tahu bulat vendors is often marked with a signature jingle telling you the snack is made fresh and to order.

Tahu bulat went viral in 2016 when a mobile phone game about a tahu bulat truck complete with its signature jingle was developed. Even though the game’s popularity was short-lived, the snack remains popular in most parts of the country.

17. Pukis (Half-moon shaped cakes)

Pukis

Pukis is a popular Indonesian traditional cake made from wheat flour batter and cooked using a specially-designed pan that gives it a half-moon shape. It is one of the most famous traditional snacks, and was brought to urban streets by vendors offering a fresh touch with various toppings and flavors.

Among the most popular modern toppings are chocolate sprinkles, crushed peanuts, grated cheese. In its traditional recipe, pukis is often topped with fermented cassava (tape), which has a sour taste.

Not only is pukis very popular Indonesian street food, most old-school bakeries and traditional markets also have it on their menu.

18. Sempol (Tapioca sticks)

Sempol

Sempol is yet another tapioca starch-based street food iteration that has gained popularity in East Java and Central Java. In its simplest form, sempol is made by rolling tapioca-starch on a bamboo stick. However, since this lacks taste, most street vendors add a touch of ground chicken or fish meat into the mix.

Since it’s made from tapioca starch, sempol has a chewy texture that complements its savory taste. Sempol is typically served with tomato, chili, and soy sauce—but it’s a treat even without the added sauce.

19. Kue Cubit

Kue Cubit

Kue cubit is an Indonesian street food found in many Indonesian cities. It’s a small cake made with flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, and other additional ingredients such as chocolate sprinkles and grated cheese to enhance the flavor.

Kue cubit vendors often set their stall or cart near schools and traditional markets. The texture of kue cubit is very similar to pukis, but they are two very different dishes. The name kue cubit means pinch cake, taken from its small size that makes it possible to hold it by just pinching it.

20. Kerak Telor

Kerak telor is a traditional street food originating from the Batavia area (Jakarta and its surrounding cities) made from sticky rice, chicken or duck eggs, and prawn. The fried mixture is then served with roasted coconut, chili peppers, galangal, pepper, salt, and sugar.

The name literally means eggshells, but that’s not because there are pieces of eggshell in the food. Kerak telor gets its name due to the crusty bottom part of the food.

You can easily find kerak telor around Jakarta, but it is not so common in other cities. It’s one of the signature Batavian dishes passionately preserved by the locals, hence, its authenticity makes it a popular street food in Indonesia.

Indonesia is one of the largest countries in South East Asia in terms of population, but its diversity in culture has given birth to various delicious street food that you can enjoy, regardless of where you come from. Some will be spicy and others might seem unfamiliar, but you won’t regret trying these top 20 most popular street food in Indonesia.


If you love Indonesian cuisine, check out our story on the best 30 sweet and savory Indonesian foods.

Top 30 Most Popular Foods in Indonesia

Jefri Ade Yonata

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital city, Jefri is an Indonesian writer with a keen interest in Content Marketing. He has a B.A. in English Linguistics from the State University of Malang.

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