Eating out and ordering food

Eating out and ordering food

When traveling around Indonesia – you’re very likely to come across some amazing food. But, you might be stuck for a quick way to explain that you want to buy a tasty snack from a local street vendor. The below sentences will help you through most situations:

English Bahasa Indonesia Pronunciation
Excuse me sir / madam, can I order [food / drink]? Permisi Bapak / Ibuk, bisakah saya pesan [makan / minum]?
Excuse me bro / sis I want to order [food / drink] Maaf Mas / Mbak saya mau pesan [makan / minum]
I want to order [food / drink]. And please deliver it to table one. Thank you! Saya mau pesan [makan / minum]. Dan tolong diantarkan ke meja satu. Terima kasih!
How much does this [makan / minum] cost? Berapa harganya [makan / minum] ini?
Thank you sir / madan – this is delicious! Terima kasih Bapak / Ibuk – ini enak!

With the above sentences, you can replace [food / drink] or [makan / minum] with any food or drink you would like to try. Here are some tasty examples you could find on your travels:

Bahasa Indonesia English description Pronunciation
Ayam Betutu A Balinese dish of steamed or roasted chicken, with a rich and spicy marinade. An extra-spicy version of this dish is available – so always remember to say ‘saya tidak mau ini pedas’ if you don’t want it to be spicy.
Ayam Taliwang A sweet and spicy grilled chicken dish from Lombok, tenderised halfway through cooking.
Gado-gado A ‘mixture’ (‘gado-gado’ literally means ‘mix-mix’) of many different lightly cooked vegetables with a delicious peanut sauce.
Mie ayam A traditional dish of diced chicken with wheat noodles, usually served with a light broth. A great dish to have on a cool or rainy day.
Mie goreng Simply, fried noodles. And if you’ve not tried Indonesian fried noodles – you sir – you haven’t lived.
Nasi ayam penyet Beautifully tenderised fried chicken with rice, often served with a sambal (chilli sauce). Keep a look out for a local Ayam Penyet Surabaya to give this a try with a very spicy sambal.
Nasi goreng Simple and beautifully tasty – fried rice at its best. Depending on the last word added, this could be with chicken (ayam) or another meat. Always delicious, usually with a small amount of vegetables and a handful of crackers.
Nasi lemak Rice cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves – usually accompanied by other vegetables and meats (like nasi goreng).
Nasi Padang A medley of different dishes served with steamed rice – originating from the city of Padang, this dish is similar in concept to the Spanish dish tapas, as it usually comprises of lots of dishes, amazing tastes and textures in each bowl – but unlike tapas, these are usually big dishes.
Sate ayam Chicken on skewers, usually covered in a delicate peanut satay (sauce). You’re likely to have tried a version of this outside of Indonesia before – but just wait until you try it at a local restaurant.
Sate kambing Seasoned goat on skewers, usually covered in a delicate peanut satay (sauce), like sate ayam. Very popular in Java – look out for the lamb version of this if you’re in Jakarta.
Coto Makassar A beef and peanut soup from Makassar, similar to soto. Filled full of ground spices, this can be mixed with various parts of beef (intestines / lungs / liver / tripe / heart / brain).
Soto Medan A warm torn chicken and vegetable soup from Medan, with a small amount of coconut milk. Perfect for cold days or thunderstorms.
Soto Padang Usually served as one of the dishes available with Nasi Padang. This is a warm and refreshing beef soup, usually served with potato fritters.