Most Westerners only know white rice, nasi in Bahasa. But there are soo much more flavours. Hello, I’m Widya by the way. Let me introduce my Top 9 famous local nasi in Jakarta. As a local Chinese Indonesian, I know all about famous local rice meals that us locals can’t seem to have enough. Most of us eat rice 3 times a day. Not me, though. I eat twice a day.
When you have tasted these ‘nasi’ meals, you won’t be too surprised. They do taste good and fulfilling. However, I only managed to get 9, not 10, on my list. I can’t vouch for the ones I don’t like nor the ones I haven’t tried. So feel free to list the no. 10 for me.
Most Indonesian food are very rich in spices and some of these are made with coconut milk. So please mind your diet or allergies if you have any. I will try to describe them but you must still check with the restaurant or food stall if the food contain anything that you can’t eat. And please choose to drink warm unsweetened tea after each meal instead of cold soda or anything sweet and cold. After all, your safety and health are the most important things in the whole wide world. Bring your meds anyways, just in case. Lets begin.
Now this yellow rice or Tumeric rice is my favourite. It’s cooked with coconut milk and Tumeric. Usually served with fried chickens, potato fritters, boiled eggs, fried anchovy with peanuts, grated coconut, vegetable, chilli shrimp, shredded omelette, fried Tempe, shrimp crackers and sambal. But we can serve it with anything we like, including beef and seafood.
For special events or opening ceremonies, this rice is served in a cone/mountain shape on a round plaited mat, and it’s called ‘TUMPENG’.
Rice cooked in coconut milk, clove, Chinese cinnamon, lemongrass and knotted pandan leaves. The pre-packed nasi Uduk are commonly wrapped in banana leaf and sprinkled with fried shallots. Rice itself smells and tastes so good. As for the side dish, you can eat it with whatever you want. Fried chickens, fried beef, fried Tempe, fried rice vermicelli, fritters, anchovy with peanuts, shredded omelette, and peanut sauce (optional).
My favourite Nasi Uduk is the one from NASI UDUK KEBON KACANG. They have few stalls located across the city.
Steamed rice seasoned with spices and wrapped in banana leaf along with the ingredients of your choosing and grilled over charcoal fire. Smells good, tastes even better. There are several varieties of ingredients wrapped inside the rice such as fried chicken, fried beef, salted fish, salted duck egg, mushroom, certain fish, etc
This nasi is Indonesian Chinese steamed chicken rice served with chicken broth. Original main ingredients inside the rice are chicken and mushroom seasoned with soy sauce and garlic. Other variants also use pork, fish or beef to replace chicken. What makes it so unique is the pre-cooked rice is first stir-fried with sesame oil and some needed spices before being steamed together with the seasoned stir-fried chicken and mushroom in chicken broth in tin bowls. It is considered comfort food. My mum makes really delicious Nasi Tim.
Indonesian stir fried rice is probably quite famous and known worldwide. It’s easily prepared and you normally have this as your breakfast menu in hotels. Rice is spiced with sweet soy sauce, shallot, garlic, chilli with main ingredients ranging from chicken, beef, seafood or salted dried fish. And topped with a sunny side up. The salted dried fish fried rice is probably the most popular kind. Since I prefer saltier meals rather than sweet, I would ask for a saltier version.
This savoury rice is rich in spices and very delicious but it’s not for everyone. You either love it or hate it. And please mind your blood pressure and cholesterol since the rice is soaked in goat meat broth and coconut milk or goat milk. The goat meat is cooked with ghee oil and then boiled with the rice. Served with lamb soup and raisins on top of the rice. Yummy.
Mixed rice. You can mix the steam rice with any number of side dish you prefer from vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fritters, shrimp crackers, and sambal. Of course, certain areas such as Bali, Java and the Indonesian Chinese cultures have their variations. Javanese version is called NASI RAMES, and it’s kosher. Indonesian Chinese version contains pork. Balinese version usually has satay and not always kosher.
This rice is cooked in coconut milk, chicken broth, bay leaves, lemongrass to give the rice aromatic and delectable taste. The rice is then served with chicken braised in coconut milk, chayote, boiled eggs, and topped with a spoonful of a thick aromatic coconut cream. There is even a grilled version of the rice. If you like coconut milk, you should try this nasi.
Now there really isn’t anything special with the rice preparation since it’s only your average steam rice served with various choices of pre-cooked dishes originated from Padang city. Have you ever read or heard people say “When in Jakarta, eat Padang food” ? There is a reason for it. They taste awesome. I always go berserk in Padang restaurants. As soon as we sit, they lay out all the main dishes in front of you. Rendang of course, is the best. Then there are all sorts of chickens: grilled, fried, egg fried, curried, coconut milk braised, etc. All kinds of seafood, beef, you name it. Just try it. No one says no to Padang food, I guarantee you.