Indonesian Eating Habits

Everyone eats. It is basic human needs to survive. To see how people eat can be varied. It can reflect their etiquette, is it acceptable or not depends on their belief.

I was born in Java. My family is Javanese too. I raised with Javanese and Islamic value. Javanese and Islam value already mixed since 11th century and it already passed generation to generation. It shaped our society like how to dress, how to appreciate things even how to eat.

Disclaimer, I’m Javanese. All this writing based on my experience and my observation. Other Indonesian tribes eating habits could be different.

Eat on The Floor

It is common for Indonesian to eat on the floor. We only use some woven mat on the ground as a layer to sit. Some people who live in the ceramic-house floor even skipped it because they like cold from the ceramic, especially if they are sure it was clean.

Some of use like to eat with squat too. It is more practical especially if you have a traditional kitchen and no dinner table. We can use small chair called dingklik or whatever nearby to sit in squat position.

Rattan plates or leaves plate

Rattan or wooden plates are common to use. We put banana leaf before the food. We think that it will give a specific aroma from the leaf to enhance the food. Especially for warung, it is more convenient too. They can just throw it away dirty banana leaf and replaced the new ones. It is organic after all 🙂

Eat with hand

Besides we eat with spoon and fork, we like to use the hand to eat. For some food like Nasi Padang, we prefer to use our hand. It will bring more joy. I personally never see people eat noodles nor nasi goreng with their hand.

If you visit warung, and you want to eat with your hand, they will bring you a small bowl of water to wet your hand. With a wet hand, the rice is not too sticky and you can eat easily. Use the right hand is considered polite. Nowadays, the young generation also more familiar to eat with chopsticks for noodle or korean/japanese food.

Talk during eat

I found it is a bit odd when you eat with Indonesian without talking. Mealtime is the most time to gather with others and you started to talk. Talking about the news, job, school or can be anything. I remembered when I move to my own rented house alone, I would like to set on my tv/radio to kill the silence. Some people think that people who eat alone is sad.

Fresh food, warm, and spicy (would be better)

If Indonesian living in the forest or remote village, they will prefer to get fresh food to eat. They will get any ingredients to cook for the next meal. People in the village also common to have a small pond in their house. They put some fish inside and if the fish are big enough, it can be ready to cook anytime. Always fresh. We love fresh and warm food.

Spicy food is our favorite. Sambal is the most famous condiment in our food. It will bring up the food to the next level. If European have wine pairing, we have sambal pairing. even it is just a condiment, it can be turn off if it is not right or tasty.

No alcohol, Black thick coffee, Smoke

Indonesia is a conservative country. Most of us are Moslem it means that we don’t drink alcohol. Our drink can be water, syrup, ice tea and even black coffee. Yes ice tea would be so nice after a hot lunch.

People from my grandpa era, are mostly like to have a nice cup of black thick coffee after a meal. It will neutralize my tastebud, my grandpa said. Smoking after a meal would be pleasure for Indonesian smoker.

How about your country eating habit?