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6 Chinese-Indonesian Foods Should be Known by Food Lovers

by Emilia Kurniasari
Chinese-Indonesian Foods

Indonesian foods are full of taste. You can find Indonesian cities with best street food or local taste food. Not only local tastes, some of them are also influenced by international tastes, such as from China. Indonesia has been influenced by Chinese since since long time ago.

You might ever hear The Silk Road, the traditional trade road initiated by China that linked almost all over the world, including Indonesia. It is just one of so many interactions between Indonesian and Chinese culture which then influence Indonesian foods.

There are many Indonesian foods which some people still do not know those are influenced by Chinese culture. Especially for food lovers, here are 6 Chinese-Indonesian foods you should know!

1. Bakmi


Who do not love noodle? It is one of the most famous food in Indonesia which is called Bakmi. Bakmi has been popular in Indonesia in 1870 when Indonesia was still governed by Dutch East Indies.

At that time, the government implemented openness political system in Java , so people from other countries, like China, could stay in Java.

In Chinese, Bakmi is called 面条 miàntiáo. The word 面 miàn itself means flour, and 条 tiáo means strip. It can be seen from the shape of Bakmi that is like long strips, and it is made from flour. The word ‘bak’ was absorbed from Hokkienese language which means pork.

But in Indonesia, most people has changed the pork with any other meats. Bakmi is often served with some condiments, such as chicken, dumpling etc. If you are a vegetarian, some Bakmi have been specially with vegetables. So it also can be called as one of vegetarian foods of Indonesia.

2. Bakso


Indonesian people must be familiar with this food, Bakso! Bakso or meatball is another Indonesian food influenced by Chinese culture. In Chinese, Bakso is called 肉丸 ròuwán. As same as Bakmi, the origin of Bakso was made from pork. But as the assimilation happened, the pork was changed into any other meats, such as chicken or beef.

Most Bakso in Indonesia is made from beef that is mixed with flour. Then the mixture is shaped like a ball, after that the ball is cooked inside water.

You can find many popular Bakso in Indonesia, such as Bakso Solo, Bakso Malang, Bakso Wonogiri etc. Bakso is usually served with the soup made from beef broth, noodle, and some other condiments like dumplings and chili sauce.

3. Lumpia


Thinking about things to do in Semarang? Just try to find the most popular food in Semarang, that is Lumpia. This food is also influenced by Chinese culture. The name of this food in Chinese is 春卷 chūnjuǎn.

The story of Lumpia in Indonesia was started in the 19th century when a Chinese young man, Tjoa Thay Joe, decided to stay in Semarang. After that, he started the sell the Lumpia with pork and bamboo shoots as the filling.

Not long after that, he met a Javanese woman who also sold Lumpia but the taste was sweet as the common Javanese foods taste. Then they married and the new recipe of Lumpia was created, also the pork has been changed with other kinds of meat, such as chicken and shrimp.

Currently, Lumpia from Semarang is often served with sweet-salty sauce, pickles, and spring onion. This is the best choice if you are considering what to eat in Semarang!

4. Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng or fried rice has been a very common and delicious food, not only in Indonesia but also all over the world. But do you know that Nasi Goreng has been influenced from Chinese culture? In Chinese, Nasi Goreng is called 炒饭 chǎofàn. Nasi Goreng has been known since thousand years ago.

It is said that Nasi Goreng was popularized by Chinese people. Chinese people do not like to eat food which is not warm, so they modified the rice by cooking it with some ingredients. There is also a story that tells Nasi Goreng has been becoming a Chinese-Indonesian food since the interaction between Indonesia and China during Sriwijaya Kingdom era.

The characteristic of most Nasi Goreng in Indonesia is in the soy sauce. Especially in Central Java, it will be easy to find Nasi Goreng with soy sauce wherever you eat. It is because most Javanese people like sweet taste.

5. Soto


Almost all cities in Indonesia has their own signature of Soto. The characteristic of Soto is in the soup, which can be clear, colored, dense etc. The original name of Soto in Chinese is 所多 suǒduō. It sounds similar with the name in Bahasa Indonesia, right?

The influence of Chinese culture to create this dish has started since the 19th century. In Indonesia, we can find many kinds of Soto, such as Soto Ayam, Soto Kambing, Soto Lamongan etc. Most Soto in Indonesia are served with egg, vegetables, and also cooked rice.

6. Lontong Cap Gomeh

Lontong Cap Go Meh

Talking about Cap Go Meh, you might think about how does Indonesia celebrate Chinese New Year or Imlek. What people have to know is, Cap Go Meh is not Imlek! It is the celebration 15 days after Imlek or so called Lantern Festival (元宵节 Yuǎnxiāojié). In Indonesia, the popular food during Cap Go Meh celebratrion is Lontong Cap Go Meh.

In Chinese culture, the original food during Lantern Festival is 元宵 yuǎnxiāo or balls made by rice flour. In Indonesia, it is replaced by lontong, cooked rice which is wrapped inside banana leaf. People often add the lontong with spicy stir-fried liver, egg, and vegetables.

There also many more Chinese-Indonesian foods. Which one do you love the most?

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