This country consisting of 13,000 islands spread over a very large area in both the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, inhabited by indigenous peoples, Chinese and mulattos. The majority of Indonesians (80 percent) are Muslims and shun pork.
The Dutch colonized the country in the 16th century and benefited from the cooking of Indonesians. Still today in the Netherlands, rijstafel, a rice feast, is a sumptuous and often served meal. It consists of simply boiled rice served in a big bowl, along with a variety of flavouring sauces and seafood stew. Diners serve themselves to the rice and take whatever sauce they prefer for flavouring.
Fish sauce is a main ingredient for other sauces, as are many chillies.
Deep-fried shrimp flavoured puffs are often served as appetizers and texture contrast.
Indonesian food is relatively spicy but flavourful. Stewing, and boiling are the most frequently used cooking techniques.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu