Here’s just a quick question and answer for some questions that newbies to Indonesian food may have about it.

Is Indonesian food spicy?

This is kind of a trick question. Indonesian cuisine is full of amazing spices, but it is not hot food. While chilies are used in a lot of things, you will not find yourself gasping for air having burned your mouth.

Can you find Western food in Indonesia?

I ask a question to this question. Why would you want to? I mean Indonesia’s cuisine is one-of-a-kind and should be enjoyed and experienced. That said, you will find some Western foods in Sumatra as well as some Dutch influences here and there, but overall you will need to eat the local food.

Can vegetarians find food there?

Vegetarians will be able to find food all over Asia. Not all dishes have meats in them. While Indonesians like their meats like so many other cultures do, there are plenty of dishes that do not have them or can be made without them. I will say vegans will have a hard time avoiding eggs in Indonesian food, but vegetarians should be just fine.

Do people drink alcohol in Indonesia?

It’s true that Indonesia has more Muslims than anywhere else in the world. That would make you think that alcohol is not consumed in Indonesia since it is forbidden by Islam. But that is not the case in Indonesia. While you will find devout Muslims who won’t touch it, alcohol is just a part of the food culture of Indonesia that people will still consume it, Muslim or not.

What kinds of utensils do Indonesians use?

To cook with, the standard tool is the wok, which is a big round frying pan that is often not soaped up afterward to maintain the flavors of all of the meals that have been cooked in it before. There is also a cauldron for soups and a standard frying pan. They usually eat their food with spoons and forks, with the fork in the left hard. There are never knives included in the utensils. And some foods are meant to be eaten just with your hands without utensils. Chopsticks are not used except when eating Chinese food, not unlike the standards of the United States.

Is there a quintessential Indonesian dish?

No. Indonesia has had so many influences throughout the centuries that there is not a defined type of Indonesian food. Most dishes are served with rice or noodles, but the dishes themselves vary a lot from place to place.

How is Indonesian food served?

It depends on where you are eating it. If you are grabbing a bite from a food stall in the street, you will just get it in a container that you can just eat right out of. If you are in a restaurant or someone’s home, the food is served family style, where everyone will take a portion of the food using serving spoons centrally located in the middle of the table.