July 30, 2021  •  5min read

9 Traditional Indonesian Food Ideas for Your Wedding Menu

Best traditional food for wedding

A wedding menu is an essential part of your wedding list and it requires a lot of planning due to the number of options to consider. Whether you’re looking for plated dinners to buffet-style receptions, and even though you should bring some quality service for your dinner, the food you’re serving may be the most important thing. 

When it comes to a wedding destination in Bali, you should consider serving traditional Indonesian food that goes with the summer vibe and features some tasty and unique flavors. Almost each of the thousands of Indonesian islands presents its traditional food. Your guests who have never experienced Indonesian cuisine will likely fall in love with the iconic traditional dishes. Some of the most popular Indonesian delights like the ‘beef rendang’ have been voted as ‘the world’s best food’ and ‘most delicious food.’ Here are our picks of traditional Indonesian cuisine for your wedding fest. 

A Brief History of Indonesian Cuisine 

Indonesia’s cuisine is rich in spices and culture. The variations of the food in the archipelago mean that every dish has its own history. Some foods result from foreign influences, which are adopted and modified by the local people. Studies and experts believe that Arab, India, China and Europe may have significantly influenced the Indonesian food that we know today. This influence is believed to have come to Indonesia through foreign merchants who contributed to spreading religion, culture and food to the locals. 

However, foods with foreign influence are only a small part of the rest of Indonesia’s culinary culture. Indonesia still has more original food that everyone can appreciate. The food’s diversity, history and taste make people, whether tourists or locals alike, can’t get enough of it. Indonesian food is so varied that even locals haven’t tried them all, which is why local foods need to be preserved for future generations.

Traditional indonesian wedding menu ideas and history

Nasi goreng

The nasi goreng is Indonesia’s fried rice, a wholesome dish that comes in different styles. It’s mainly steamed white rice that is put in a hot frying pan and mixed with chili, onions, garlic, shrimp paste, tomato sauce and soy sauce with other ingredients depending on the chef. These can include chicken, beef, lamb, pork, cabbages, scrambled eggs, satays and slices of cucumber. Indonesia’s fried rice is quite different from other countries.

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Beef rendang

This West Sumatran delight has become a national and international hit. The rendang consists of thick slices of beef cooked for hours while mixed in coconut milk and spices. The cooking process consists of either frying and boiling as it lets some liquid evaporate up until the gravy dries up and gets absorbed by the meat. This results in a juicy and extra tender piece of beef with less gravy, making it a tasty dish that goes perfectly with rice and other side dishes.  


One of Indonesia’s most famous street foods, bakso or the Indonesian meatball soup, is sold mainly on the meals-on-wheels throughout Indonesia’s streets. One bakso bowl is usually served with egg noodles, tofu, boiled eggs layered in the same meatball mixture and crispy fried onion pieces with soy sauce. These meatballs can be from various meats, including chicken, beef, fish and pork. The size of these baksos can be as small as marbles to as big as tennis balls with more meatballs inside them!

Meat Satays

The satay is generally made by marinating chucks of meat first. The meat includes beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish with added seasoning before skewering them onto a stick and grilling them on top of fiery charcoal. The best topping for these satays is usually hot and spicy peanut sauce served with cucumber pieces and slices of ketupat rice cakes or just plain rice on the side. Satays can widely vary across the archipelago; the region may only have chicken satay while another serves pork satays, also the accompanying sauce can significantly differ based on the areas.

Gado gado

This can serve as an excellent menu for your vegetarian guests, as Indonesia’s gado gado is a vegetable salad composed of mixed fresh veggies including cabbage, steamed bitter melon, chayote, slices of fried tofu and tempeh and ketupat rice cakes or lontong. The vegetable mix is then topped with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce dressing. The gado gado can also widely vary depending on the vegetables used.

Ayam penyet

The ayam penyet literally translates into ‘flattened chicken.’ Whether it’s the breast or the drumstick, all are marinated in spices and deep-fried into a tasty golden-crispy dish. Before it’s cooked, the chicken is first ‘flattened’ by squishing it down onto a tray of spices. The extra hot chili sauce is the main appeal for Indonesians who love their spicy food, but this can also be toned down to no chili included. And just like most Indonesian food, the ayam penyet is usually served with white steamed rice, fresh vegetables and slices of tofu and tempeh.

Sop buntut

This soup is a meaty delight that originated from West Java. Sop buntut is an Indonesian oxtail soup that usually consists of grilled or fried oxtail slices within a clear broth with a mix of garlic, pepper, shallots, nutmeg and cloves. The soup may differ slightly depending on which city it is served in, but most include carrots, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, leek, celery and shallots with a final touch of a squeeze of sliced lime over the bowl and of course, a plate of steamed white rice.   

Bali’s babi guling

It’s Bali’s iconic spit-roast pig. The babi guling is usually served in family or community gatherings or temple ceremonies. Nowadays, the babi guling is a popular dish in many warungs and restaurants around the island. It’s not common to find it outside of Bali due to the majority of Muslim communities. One serve of babi guling usually includes a plate of steamed rice, trimming of the pork’s crispy skin, fried innards, meat and a famous veggie salad and meat mix known as ‘lawar’.


The martabak is a sweet Indonesian food that is perfect for a traditional dessert! If you’ve had enough of the country’s spicy and meaty dishes, the martabak is filled with various sweet flavors from chocolate, nuts to cheese. It’s a kind of a thicker version of crepes. These sweets are usually served in the evenings, making it the perfect finish after your dinner.

Have you decided on which menu to serve at your wedding? Remember that you don’t have to serve only Indonesian dishes for your reception as your guests may not be used to the rich flavors and spices that are usually the highlight of the country’s dishes. And always remember to consider your guests’ allergies or special diet if they have any.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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