15 Aug2009


Mrs. MM and I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for several years early in my career as a management consultant. And it is there that I learned how to enjoy chilies with serious heat. I arrived eating fried chicken with ketchup and by the time I left, I often enjoyed chicken with kecap manis (soy sauce and sugar/molasses) and sambal (chili paste) instead! Other local dishes that became favorites included sop buntot (oxtail soup) that I would enjoy at LEAST once a week, soto ayam (a chicken and sotanghon dish with turmeric) and of course, nasi goreng or fried rice, Indonesian style… Every so often, I still get a hankering for Indonesian food and last week I walked by an Indonesian snack food stall at Mega Mall and saw the large shrimp crackers that always seemed to accompany Indonesian fried rice and I bought some and knew I would be compelled to do a nasi goreng…


My nasi goreng is NEVER as good as the ones we used to have in Jakarta, but it was decent enough to satisfy the craving. I heated up some peanut oil, added chopped onions and garlic, then lots of small cubes of chicken and shrimp and sauteed this with a little kecap manis and sambal or chili paste. If you have belacang or shrimp paste, add a touch at this point. Then I added cooked and cooled rice (preferably long-grain, and best if several hours old and cold. I then added some oyster sauce, soy sauce, kecap manis and sambal to taste. Topped it with fried shallots and served with some slices of dayap. Made a quick Indonesian style pickle or acar of carrots, cucumbers and onions with a vinegar and sugar dressing. And more chilies and sweet sauce on the side. YUM. Totally delicious comfort food. Eat it with a fried egg on top if you want to be more authentic. Munch on a bit of prawn cracker as you consume the rice. Temper the heat of the chillies with the pickles. Salty, sweet, spicy and sour… Perfect on a rainy night or any night for that matter. :)



  1. Connie C says:

    I was so ahead of myself. As I read your walking past a food stall, I was about to exclaim, what do you know MM sitting at a mall food stall and eating nasi goreng? Of course you had to go home and cook it. Love those crunchy shrimp kropec!

    Aug 15, 2009 | 5:11 pm


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  3. moni says:

    Your photos and post on nasi goreng, kecap manis, and krupuk brought back good memories of Indonesia. I also lived in Jakarta for a few months while working on an FAO assignment. The food in Central Java is quite good too. MM, is there a genuine Indonesian food shop in Metro Manila?

    Aug 15, 2009 | 6:12 pm

  4. sanojmd says:

    wow! i love nasi goreng.. anything hot for the matter.. i also love sambal on fried chicken and pizza..

    Aug 15, 2009 | 6:23 pm

  5. fatcat says:

    can be better served on a sizzling plate…

    Aug 16, 2009 | 12:26 am

  6. millet says:

    i think i’ve said it here before…i’ve often wondered why there are no good indonesian and/or malaysian restaurants here in davao and other major cities in mindanao, considering our proximity to these two countries, the availability of most ingredients and the presence of malaysian and indonesian communities. oh, to have a good sop buntot, or ice kacang….

    Aug 16, 2009 | 12:50 am

  7. millet says:

    your nasi goreng looks delicious, MM. what are those dark threads on top..would they be the fried shallots? i like indonesian fried chicken too, the super-crisp type.

    Aug 16, 2009 | 12:52 am

  8. natie says:

    Yum!!! this is our local Indonesian resto in the area…quite good! with on-line ordering…good food and technology..


    Aug 16, 2009 | 1:23 am

  9. Mark says:

    I’m on my fourth year in Jakarta and must admit that I’ve acquired the local taste; hence, being back here in Manila for a couple of weeks makes me crave for what my tongue has been accustomed to unique herbs and spices of Indonesia. My wife, who’s on her 16th year in Indonesia, similarly shares the same gastronomic melancholy.

    Any thoughts on where I can have a sampling of those here in Manila?

    Aug 16, 2009 | 1:40 am

  10. THELMA says:

    i like indonesian fried rice when i pair it with the grilled
    chicken. a very thick sauce, with peanuts as the main ingredient, is the dipping sauce of the grilled chicken. aside from the fried rice and chicken, a papaya achara is
    served on the side. i think that these could be added to our dinner for tonight….

    Aug 16, 2009 | 2:44 am

  11. moni says:

    Natie, I checked out the link you posted and your local Indonesian resto is in the US of A. I was crestfallen!

    Aug 16, 2009 | 9:00 am

  12. jun b says:

    Its the chilli and the kecap manis that makes the difference on their nasi goreng plus the extreme heat from their wok.

    Aug 16, 2009 | 11:41 am

  13. dishesandplaces says:

    thanks for the recipe :)

    even if your stuff is never as good as the ones in jakarta, the ones in the restaurants here are universally mediocre to bad. this sounds a lot better :)

    Aug 16, 2009 | 2:36 pm

  14. crisci says:

    thanks for the post MM, i suddenly realized how much miss indonesia (yogya to be exact) i lived there for 3 mo. have you tried making gado-gado?

    Aug 16, 2009 | 7:43 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    crisci and others, oddly, I agree that there doesn’t seem to be a good (or I haven’t come across it) Indonesian restaurant around. I think there used to be one in Mega Mall, but I never tried it. When we first moved back to Manila, our neighbor who lived literally across the street was Indonesian/Balinese and we had our fill of wonderful food at their home on many occassions. They have since been relocated so I haven’t had good Indonesian food out lately. Those friends, incidentally, are the same ones who gave us a kaffir lime tree, that is still thriving in our own garden. For fans, you can get authentic bottled ABC (hahaha! I know authentic bottled) kecap manis and sambal at Metro grocery in market!Market! along with other Indonesian ingredients. The nasi goreng is great with sate on the side too. Mark, I haven’t found a good restaurant here with Indonesian food… and yes, I agree its all in the spices, not just spicy heat, but other varied spices from the spice islands… millet, hahaha, trust you to mention them. They are pathetically burned fried shallots. I never seem to be able to cook them till just the right degree of dark brown-ness… I always seem to burn them!

    Aug 16, 2009 | 10:11 pm

  16. joyce says:

    gaahd, i remember how good the sop buntot was the first time i tried it in sumatra. yumm. bought several packs of the sop buntot mix to bring back. loved the nasi goreng as well, if i r remember correctly they had many variations of the goreng?like noodles and such. nasi incidentally also means rice in the kapampangan dialect.

    Aug 16, 2009 | 10:25 pm

  17. Grayzo says:

    Hi MM! We lived in Indonesia for 13 years (in the 70s and 80s), spent the best years of our growing up lives there, and our family loves to reminisce about the great food (minus the super-duper hot sambal!) Bakmi baso was a family favorite, as well as martabak, sate ayam, soto, sop buntut, and of course, nasi goreng. My mom has tried to recreate all our favorite foods even with ingredients from Jakarta, but somehow it’s never quite the same.

    I, too, have been disappointed with the lack of good Indonesian food here in Manila, so am constantly in search of good, authentic Indonesian food. If you do come across a restaurant with good Indonesian food, please share naman!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 7:52 pm

  18. rye says:

    So far, the closest I’ve had to good Indo food are the ones from Talking Tongues (San Agustin St, Makati)… but, of course, still far from the ones I enjoyed in the streets of Jakarta.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 10:44 pm

  19. batjay says:

    there’s this nasi goreng stall on the 2nd floor of the mangga dua mall in jakarta that i always go to every time i am in town. your entry reminded me of what i am missing. here i am, stuck in southern california and indonesia is an ocean away.


    PS – i also terribly miss my beloved nasi padang.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 3:10 am

  20. kiko says:

    mmmm…chicken with kecap manis and sambal…plus nasi goreng…yummmm!

    Aug 19, 2009 | 12:52 pm

  21. millet says:

    yup..i thought they were fried shallots because mine look that way, too. i always manage to burn them no matter how careful i am.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 4:53 pm

  22. Katrina says:

    MM, have you eaten at Malacca on Jupiter? I am not familiar enough with the cuisine to know if it’s authentic, but everything we had was very tasty and delicious, especially the Sambal Shrimp! Granted, I’ve never been to Indonesia, but their Nasi Goreng’s the best I’ve tried. Unfortunately, they recently changed chefs and made the food halal, so there’s no more pork in the menu. But I would definitely eat there again.

    Aug 21, 2009 | 8:49 pm

  23. Kathleen says:

    I love nasi goreng as well! Was in Bali in 2007 and the food there is just amazing.. Has anyone tried babu galing (roasted pig) in the market in Ubug… Yummm.

    Tried Penang in Maryland as well few years ago when visiting my brother and it was heaven..

    Aug 28, 2009 | 1:02 am

  24. Pepy @ Indonesia Eats says:

    Having an Indonesian background, I never find the same taste of nasi goreng outside the country :)

    My family’s recipe always uses the leftover rice and sambal terasi. Shallots (not garlic), terasi, chilies and overnight cold cooked rice are the key to make nasi goreng.

    My favourite nasi goreng is topped with fried shallots, fried egg, kerupuk and acar.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 6:35 am

  25. buddy r says:

    hi guys!

    just like you i have an indonesian connection having worked there for abt 5 years. my favorite nasi goreng recipe i learned from an indonesian cook who worked with me in the same establishment. maybe if you have the time, you can try it:

    – put garlic, red onions, red bell pepper, ketchup, salt, MSG if you want, in a blender and blend ingredients together. you can decide on your own proportions. usually i put as much garlic as the onions
    – heat up some margarine in a wok and saute the blended ingredients until you get a thick paste
    – let cool and store the mixture in the ref.

    to prepare the nasi goreng, heat some oil and lightly fry ground beef or sliced meat balls, add the abt 2 tbsp of nasi goreng sauce, saute for a while then throw in the rice. mix and fry and make sure that all the rice is coated with the sauce. add salt to taste

    Oct 29, 2009 | 2:02 pm

  26. minerva says:

    Hey MM.. I found ur blog randomly :) I’m Indonesian living in Jakarta.
    My parents are working in Manila since few months ago. And I also can’t
    Find any indonesian restaurant in Manila.. I always think to open one.. I mean a good one.
    Do u think local will love our food taste? Thk u ;)

    Aug 30, 2010 | 9:32 pm

  27. Marketman says:

    minerva, personally, I would love it if there were a good Indonesian restaurant in Manila. Sop Buntot, Soto Ayam, the sates, the nasi goreng, mie gorengs, acar, samba, etc. :)

    Aug 31, 2010 | 7:34 am

  28. Erick says:

    Guys, don’t forget to update here if you find newly open Indonesian restaurant, especially cuisine from Sumatra :D

    NASI Padang, NASI Gurih, Satay Padang, Mie Sop Bakso, so many more


    Nov 26, 2010 | 9:53 pm

  29. Ray says:

    There are a lot kind of nasi goreng in Indonesia. My favourite is the authentic Jakarta style nasi goreng kambing. This is the best nasi goreng I’ve ever tasted. You have to try this at Kebon Sirih Jakarta, if you like lamb dishes.

    Jan 28, 2011 | 5:03 pm

  30. Charles Cortez says:

    goodness so glad i came across this thread. The replies here sure bring back lots of good memories when I was back in Jakarta. I always ask my mom who works for a travel agency back there to bring back home sambal sauce and other spices. Try mixing the nasi goreng with pan fried mie goreng. or or or add in cheese or corned beef. Have you guys ever had that variation back in Jkt?

    Mar 31, 2011 | 7:26 am

  31. Lou Kirkpatrick says:

    Your recipes and photos sure look so tempting. The only problem is I don’t usually enjoy very hot and spicy foods. Can I cook those recipes with a lot less spices and yet taste the same authentic Indonesian food? Where can I buy good Indonesian cook book? Do you know any good Indonesian restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada?



    Apr 7, 2011 | 12:30 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    Lou, Indonesian food is well spiced, though not only chili as a spice. Turmeric, galanggal, etc. are other portions of the flavor profile. But yes, a lot of good Indonesian food is spicy. Sorry, I am based in Manila, I have no clue what the restaurant choices are in Vancouver…

    Apr 7, 2011 | 1:10 pm


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