Thousands of islands, spread across landscapes that span floodplains, volcanic soils and sunny coastlines, rich in herbs and spices. These have culminated to create a national cuisine that is both vibrant and varied.

Over the centuries, and passed down through the generations, Indonesia’s regional foods have stood the test of time, and have become dishes craved, desired and admired by the Indonesian population. Select venues in Jakarta have perfected some of Indonesia’s iconic dishes and have built a solid fanbase for their signature iterations of said dishes.

Sop Buntut at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta

The name of Hotel Borobudur Jakarta cannot be separated from its legendary Oxtail Soup (Sop Buntut Legendaris). So iconic is their take on this dish that it has become the benchmark for what a good sop buntut should taste like.

Indonesian Iconic Dishes Sop Buntut Hotel Borobudur

Its origin story goes like this: in 1974, the hotel management decided to add Indonesian specialities to the menu available at Bogor Cafe by placing carts serving Oxtail Soup near the buffet table. The hot oxtail soup was served directly by the chef to the guests and unexpectedly it became the main attraction until they were serving up to 75kg of oxtail meat every single day!

Queues began to form, as curious guests flooded the restaurant just to get a taste of the hotel’s new trademark. A special counter was thus built in the restaurant to accommodate the overflowing guests, as well as to store more Oxtail Soup and complementary seasonings, serving the steady stream of diners more efficiently.

The Oxtail Soup recipe was later developed by the hotel’s chefs and proved to be the most popular dish on the menu and buffet. According to the hotel, it is estimated that more than 2.5 million servings of Oxtail Soup have been sold at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta since 1974. It is prepared daily according to a strict recipe using only selected ingredients including Indonesian spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and black peppercorn. The oxtail meat is imported from Australia with certain specifications such as size, weight, and fat content.

The success of this dish still created queues and waiting lists in front of Bogor Cafe. Luckily, the hotel’s signature restaurant was completely renovated and expanded in April 2005, reopening with 299 seats in November 2005. Now the dish is served at all the hotel outlets, and is even ordered for conference and wedding events, delivery and catering services — very much a business in its own right! To meet the high demand for this Legendary Oxtail Soup, Hotel Borobudur Jakarta also has a Sop Buntut Bogor Cafe restaurant at Pacific Place and Pondok Indah Mall.

Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan, Pasar Baru
+62 21 380 5555 

Pasar Sate Tugu at Lara Djonggrang 

Surely the satay is one of Indonesia’s most well-known dishes. Skewered meats, fish, prawns, chargrilled to perfection, accompanied by a variety of sauces — though most famously, peanut sauce. Historically, Java was the place where Indian-Arabic kebabs were imported by Muslim traders and then took on a more eastern flavour and style.

Indonesian Iconic Dishes Pasar Sate Tugu Lara Djonggrang

Across the archipelago, diverse ethnic groups and cultures have made satay their own, creating different variations of this crowd-pleasing dish. They differ in the spices used, the accompanying sauces, and even how the meat is skewered or prepared.

Famed for its authentic Indonesian cuisine, Lara Djonggrang has a special offering that presents a range of Indonesian satay across the regions.

Housed in a former Dutch mansion, here you can taste and enjoy Pasar Sate Tugu, a boat of nine satays from nine regions, such as satay from Kota Gede, Yogyakarta; originally from a street vendor during the early part of the 20th century, this satay is made from grilled-caramel marinated tenderloin served with cucumber salad and red pepper, tomato, and shrimp paste on the side. West Sumatra, renowned for its Sate Padang is another delicious variant, with its specialty using grilled tender ox tongue served with tamarind and galangal sauce, green chilli dip, and rice cake on the side.

Not only using beef and chicken, Pasar Sate Tugu also serves a variety of mutton, lamb, shrimp, fish and squid, like Sate Kambing Kapuran Camaran (Semarang) made from tender lamb satay with soy sauce and kaffir lime leaves, Sate Udang Sereh Lasem contains red curry grill prawn on lemongrass stalk, Sate Cumi Bakar Manado contains squid stewed in coconut milk, Sate Lilit Ikan Gianyar made from minced Balines fish with tropical sauces served with sambal matah, and Sate Tempe made from grilled soybean cake or tempe marinated with palm sugar and seven spices. 

Lara Djonggrang Restaurant, Jalan Teuku Cik Ditiro No. 4, Menteng
+62 21 315 3252
@lara_djonggrang | 

Iga Panggang Madu at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

The Dharmawangsa has a few types of serious fans: the Superbrunch fans, the Chocolate Martini fans and those who come to savour the Iga Panggang Madu (honey-glazed ribs). This dish stands out among the diverse Indonesian and international offerings which The Dharmawangsa Jakarta is known for.

Indonesian Iconic Dishes Iga Panggang Madu Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Tender and succulent, the Iga Panggang Madu has captured the hearts and palates of the hotel’s guests since its introduction in the early 2010’s and continues to reign supreme as the favourite among patrons. 

Each short, fresh beef rib is meticulously marinated with special seasoning for two days, intensifying the flavours. The ribs are grilled to the perfect level of cooking and are thoughtfully adorned with the hotel’s signature honey black pepper sauce, balancing the sweetness of pure honey with the distinctive kick of black pepper. These delicious and juicy ribs are served with seasoned vegetables on a hot plate.

To enjoy this Iga Panggang Madu, guests can head to the hotel’s restaurant Jakarta (inside and air conditioned) & The Courtyard (outside and breezy) which features an art deco-style design and exhibits a fine array of artworks from prominent artists. The restaurant also depicts scenes from old Jakarta including the Town Hall building in Kota, a good atmosphere to accompany your rib-dining experience.

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta, Jalan Brawijaya Raya No. 26, Kebayoran Baru
+62 811 1026 000 

Bubur Ayam at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski

Hotel Indonesia Kempinski shares the remarkable story behind their own iconic dish, Bubur Ayam (Chicken porridge) since its origins are rooted in the hotel’s own history.

In the early days of Hotel Indonesia’s establishment, around 1965, the hotel garnered a reputation for offering exquisite, high-quality cuisine, ranging from local delicacies to international fare. However, one dish was notably absent from their esteemed culinary repertoire: bubur ayam. Despite an extensive menu, eager guests, including local celebrities seeking a comforting breakfast after nights of revelry at the Nirwana Supper Club, yearned for the presence of this traditional dish. An Indonesian favourite, bubur ayam was not in the original menu.

Indonesian Iconic Dishes Bubur Ayam Hotel Indonesia Kempinski

Aiming to please the requests of their guets, Hotel Indonesia (pre-Kempinski days) embarked on a quest to satisfy this specific craving. It was added in the mid-1970s by Sous-Chef Bambang Sugeng, after Nirwana Supper Club’s customers, most of them local celebrities, consistently craved for a hearty Indonesian comfort food as an early, post-clubbing breakfast! And so the legend was born with dedication and culinary finesse, the chefs crafted a simple yet extraordinary rice porridge. Infused with the richness of turmeric infused broth and an array of authentic Indonesian spices, this humble dish was destined to become a sensation.

The demand for Bubur Ayam soared as guests discovered the delightful flavours and comforting nature of the dish.

What started as a humble offering soon transformed into a culinary legend. In fact, the Bubur Ayam at Hotel Indonesia became renowned as the most coveted rice porridge in the nation, commanding a price of Rp 1,000 per bowl.

This unprecedented distinction elevated the dish to new heights, setting it apart from any other.

Today, guests can relish in the tale of Bubur Ayam at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski through an extraordinary dining experience at Signatures Restaurant. Nestled within the luxurious hotel, the restaurant faithfully recreates the original recipe. Every spoonful tells a story, taking guests on a gastronomic journey that resonates with the rich heritage of Hotel Indonesia.

In addition to the restaurant, guests of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta have the privilege of savouring Bubur Ayam as a private breakfast in the comfort of their own rooms. The aroma of this legendary dish serves as a delightful morning awakening, inviting guests to savour its flavours while immersed in the hotel’s warm hospitality.

Hotel Indonesia invites both local and international guests to experience the legend of Bubur Ayam first hand. Discover the captivating story and indulge in the authentic flavours that have made this dish an enduring symbol of Hotel Indonesia’s culinary excellence

Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Menteng
+62 21 2358 3800

NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta