Indonesia is known for a lot of things, such as our exquisite handicraft for Batik, tropical beaches, and street food, an integral part of our food culture. With more than 18,000 islands combined, there are different cuisines in each island, right down to provinces. However, what we natives have in common is our shared love for street food and traditional snacks. Here’s a glimpse of tempting eats you shouldn't miss out on. 


Who knew Indonesia had their own version of caramel cubes? Dodol is a toffee-like confectionary made from sugar palm. As soon as you eat it, be prepared to taste its sweet, sticky, thick texture melt in your mouth, similar to caramel. Dodol is usually served during Ramadan seasons and Eid-ul Fitr festivals as candy for Muslim children. 


A martabak is a stuffed, thick-layered pancake that can be enjoyed with sweet or savory ingredients. Though savory martabak is popular in other Asian countries, sweet martabak is an Indonesian trademark and a guilty pleasure you have to try. Many local vendors have taken the next step and made sweet red velvet martabak.

Tahu Isi and Tempeh Goreng  

My favorite snacks growing up were tahu isi and tempeh goreng. Tahu isi is deep-fried tofu stuffed with bean sprouts, grated carrots, spring onions, and minced beef. I like to eat a whole green chili on the side for more kick. On the other hand, tempeh goreng is fried thinly-sliced tempeh. You can’t go wrong with satisfying everyday snacks.

Kue Lapis

These colorful, layered treats will brighten your day. Kue lapis is a type of dried rice flour pudding. This steamed snack usually has two alternate colors per layer using food coloring. The key to making kue lapis is patience; each layer is added one after another slowly so that the colors don’t mix.


This snack is made of glutinous rice filled with minced chicken or fish on the middle. The method of making lemper is similar to making sushi; you roll it up, except into banana leaves for lemper and roasted seaweed sheets for sushi. What makes it special is the use of cumin, ground coriander, and kaffir lime leaves for the stuffing and coconut milk for the glutinous rice, giving the snack a full-bodied, savory taste.


Modernists call this snack “onde-onde,” but they’re virtually the same thing. These green balls of rice cake are filled with melted palm sugar and coated in thin coconut flakes. Its texture resembles chewy mochi and is typically sweet in flavor. 


If Hong Kong has mango sago, Indonesia has jenang. Jenang is an umbrella term for a type of dessert porridge that uses coconut milk as the essential ingredient. There are a variety of jenangs, such as jenang mutiara (pink sago pearls soaked in coconut milk with pandan leaves), jenang grendul (glutinous rice balls made with red sugar in coconut milk), and jenang abang (glutinous rice balls made with brown sugar in coconut milk). 


Indonesians do go big on coconut milk. Serabi is another sweet snack that uses the vital ingredient. It is made using rice flour, pandan leaves, coconut sugar and of course, coconut milk and typically topped with sugar syrup or chocolate sprinkles. This is our version of traditional pancakes. The browned edges are crispy while the inside is super soft, full of coconut aroma and a hint of pandan flavor.

Pisang Goreng

What’s not to love about tropical fruits? Pisang goreng literally translates to fried banana fritters, which pretty much explains itself. It is fried using flour and vanilla extract is added to enhance its overall taste.

Kue Pukis

Having the alias “pie cake,” kue pukis is a soft, made with coconut milk. Its traditional semicircle shape and browned-bottom comes from the original kue pukis tray mold. Its texture is undeniably soft yet slightly chewy, you’ll ask for more than one. Variations of fillings for this snack are plain, melted chocolate sprinkles, jam, or cheese inside.

Bikang Ambon

Often referred to the Indonesian honeycomb cake, one can mix tapioca flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, a pinch of salt, and coconut milk and bake it until it’s golden brown on the outside. It tastes sweet yet somehow salty. Other flavors, like durian, cheese, or chocolate, are often added to mix things up. 


Though it’s the last on this list, it’s definitely not the least to offer. Kerupuk is merely a fried cracker made from starch and other ingredients for flavoring. The most common kerupuk flavors are shrimp and fish. It has a distinct, salty taste that separates it from other crackers you can find from other countries. You’ve got to try it to know what I’m talking about.

Now that you're acquainted with this non-exhaustive list of traditional Indonesian snacks, it's your turn to try them yourself. Book your plane ticket today, or at the least, start saving up.