Welcome, everyone!

Are you currently preparing for mudik?

Or have you already reached your hometown, busy with the planning and preparation of Eid’s feast?

In keeping with our cherished tradition of exploring Ramadan customs through our blog, we’re embarking on another flavorful journey. This time, we’re diving deep into the culinary treasures of the Nusantara. Yes, we’re venturing beyond the beloved “Ayam Opor” and “Sambal Goreng Ati”, friends… Get ready to be introduced to an array of dishes so rich and diverse, they’re guaranteed to make your taste buds dance with joy!

Related blog: 10 amazing Ramadhan traditions from around the world

1. Ketupat

Ketupat is a quintessential Eid dish celebrated across Java and Kalimantan, and its popularity stretches to Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and even Thailand!

This unique dish is crafted from rice encased in a meticulously woven palm leaf pouch, which is then boiled to perfection. It’s traditionally paired with savory delights such as “Opor Ayam” (chicken cooked in coconut milk) or “Rendang” (a slow-cooked meat dish in coconut milk and spices).

What makes ketupat truly fascinating is the philosophy it embodies. The term “ketupat” is believed to symbolize the act of “ngaku lepat,” which translates to acknowledging one’s faults. 

This aligns with the profound ethos of Eid al-Fitr, a time for purification and renewal. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing and forgiving not just one’s own transgressions but also those of others, embodying the spirit of reconciliation and rebirth inherent in this significant festival.

2. Rendang (West Sumatra)

Rendang is a culinary gem that simply cannot be overlooked on our list. Deriving its name from “Marandang,” a Minangkabau cooking process, Rendang has been crowned the most delicious dish in the world according to a survey by CNN! This accolade highlights Rendang’s rich cultural heritage, as it is believed to have evolved from the Nusantara region’s culinary intermingling with Indian’s curry!

At its core, Rendang is a sumptuous dish traditionally made from buffalo meat, slow-cooked to perfection in a rich concoction of spices. This includes shallots, turmeric, ginger, galangal, and a medley of aromatic components like cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg. The dish is gradually infused with the creamy richness of coconut milk, transforming it into the most flavorful, hearty dish!

The cooking process is an art of patience and precision, reflecting the dish’s intricate flavors and textures. Rendang’s enduring appeal lies not just in its taste but also in its cultural significance, making it a revered dish in festive celebrations and beyond.

3. Lontong sayur (Betawi)

Lontong Sayur is a delightful dish featuring lontong, which are rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves, accompanied by a medley of vegetables including chayote, bean sprouts, and vermicelli, all generously bathed in a rich and savory coconut milk sauce.

This dish exemplifies the fusion of Betawi and Chinese culinary traditions, a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of the Nusantara region. As a result of this unique blend, Lontong Sayur not only holds a cherished spot in Eid festivities but also graces the tables during Cap Go Meh celebrations, marking the end of the Chinese New Year period and highlighting the harmonious blend of cultures in the region.

4. Soto Banjar (South Kalimantan)

Soto Banjar is a variety of soto from South Kalimantan, noted for its enchanting fragrance and distinctly flavoured broth. 

The unique, authentic taste is crafted from an essential trio of spices: cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, each contributing to its depth and warmth. Traditionally, this dish is accompanied by an array of complements: fluffy rice, tender shreds of chicken, soft-boiled eggs, and crispy fried potato slices, along with delectable potato fritters and ketupat. In some recipes, a touch of milk is subtly introduced to the broth, adding a creamy dimension that enhances the Soto Banjar’s rich flavor profile. 

This dish is a culinary expression of South Kalimantan’s rich cultural heritage, offering a warm, comforting embrace with every spoonful!

5. Bolu Maksuba (Palembang)

Bolu Maksuba, hailing from Palembang, is a traditional Indonesian cake cherished for its delicate and sweet flavors. Crafted from a harmonious blend of wheat flour, eggs, sugar, and coconut milk, the cake is meticulously shaped and then baked to perfection. Upon completion, a sugary glaze is applied to Bolu Maksuba, imparting a distinctive sweetness and a touch of caramelization to the cake’s exterior. This subtle caramelization not only enhances the flavor but also adds a delightful texture contrast to the cake’s soft interior. 

Bolu Maksuba’s exquisite taste and tender texture have made it a favored choice for a variety of occasions, becoming a hallmark treat during Eid celebrations in Palembang and the surrounding regions.

6. Sate Ambal (Central Java)

Sate Ambal is a unique variant of satay originating from Kebumen in Central Java, known for its distinctive preparation method. This dish typically features skewered beef or chicken, which is marinated and then grilled over an open flame, infusing it with a smoky flavor that’s characteristic of traditional satay. 

However, the standout feature of Sate Ambal lies in its unconventional sauce. Unlike the peanut-based sauces commonly associated with satay, Sate Ambal employs a smoother, thinner sauce made from ground tempeh—a fermented soybean cake that’s a staple in Indonesian cuisine.

Interestingly, the sauce’s consistency is more akin to the broth-like sauces found in Padang-style satay, offering a lighter complement to the grilled meat. It is said that for the best taste experience, it should be enjoyed with ketupat, not lontong. Whether this is true, you’ll have to try it out for yourself!

7. Nasi Jaha (Gorontalo & Ternate)

Nasi Jaha is a traditional dish originating from Gorontalo and Ternate in North Maluku, renowned for its distinctive use of ginger—locally known as jaha—which imparts a unique spice and depth to its flavor. While its appearance might bear a resemblance to lontong, Nasi Jaha sets itself apart through a richer and more savory taste profile, enriched by the aromatic presence of ginger.

What makes Nasi Jaha particularly special is its composition. The dish skillfully blends regular rice with glutinous rice, creating a texture that is both unique and delightful. This combination not only contributes to the dish’s substantial texture but also enhances its ability to absorb and meld with the rich spice-infused flavors.

8. Soto Makassar (South Sulawesi)

Coto Makassar, or sometimes called Pallu Coto Mangkasarak, is a special kind of soto from South Sulawesi that really stands out because of its thick, super tasty broth that’s packed with spices. It’s made by slow-cooking beef and its innards with a bunch of unique spices until everything’s really tender but still bursting with fresh flavors.

One cool thing about this dish is that it gets its thick and yummy broth from adding ground roasted peanuts, which isn’t something you find in your everyday soto. And when it comes to spices, this dish doesn’t hold back—it uses around 40 different kinds to get that amazing flavor, which is pretty awesome if you ask me! 

So, whether you’re thinking about trying to make it yourself or just want to dig in, Coto Makassar is definitely worth a try!

9. Bebek gulai kurma (Aceh)

Bebek gulai kurma is a mouth-watering dish that features tender duck pieces simmered in a spice-laden curry sauce, sweetened with the unique addition of dates. The preparation begins with marinating the duck in a rich blend of spices, including coriander, turmeric, cumin, and pepper, creating a foundation of deep flavors. To this, a medley of aromatics like shallots, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass is added, infusing the dish with layers of flavor.

The real twist comes with the dates, which are stirred into the curry, lending a subtle sweetness that complements the spices beautifully! This delightful contrast elevates the dish, offering a harmonious balance between the savory depth of the curry and the natural sweetness of the dates.

Typically enjoyed with a side of white or yellow rice, bebek gulai kurma is often garnished with fresh shallot slices and celery leaves, adding a crunch and freshness that rounds out the dish perfectly!

10. Nasi tutug oncom (West Java/Sunda)

From its name, you can probably guess the main ingredient in Nasi Tutug Oncom is indeed Oncom. Oncom is fermented from tempeh, while “tutug” means to pound in Sundanese. So, Nasi Tutug Oncom is a dish where rice is stir-fried and mixed with finely crushed oncom, along with shallots,galangal, shrimp paste, pepper, and chili. It’s then served on banana leaves with other side dishes like salted fish, fried chicken, and tofu tempeh.

Nasi Tutug Oncom is meant to be eaten warm and finished in one sitting. It cannot be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, as it can turn toxic.

Sounds like a bit of a challenge to enjoy, doesn’t it!


We’ve now explored all 10 of the special Eid dishes from across the Nusantara, each boasting its own unique flair yet united by one common thread: the liberal use of spices! It’s hardly surprising, considering our beloved Nusantara is a treasure trove of spices stretching from Sabang to Merauke.

Which of these 10 dishes has caught your eye, or which one are you eager to try? This Eid, seize the opportunity to dive into the diverse culinary delights that the Eid festivities offer from different regions.

Wishing you a joyous Eid and a thrilling journey through these culinary delights!