Famous Sundanese Food

For centuries, Sundanese food is well known for its deliciousness. You might or might not have heard about Gepuk, Nasi Liwet, Flying Gourami, Tutug Oncom, Nasi Timbel, Karedok, and Colenak. So here, I will describe some of the most popular Sundanese dishes and I hope this information can help you decide which ones you want to order in the Sundanese restaurant you visit :)

Sundanese food: which one is your favorite?

The main course of Sundanese food must include rice. Depending on the restaurant, there are several types of rice they usually serve: 

  • The ordinary white rice in a container called boboko — a rice container made of bamboo,
  • Nasi Timbel — white rice wrapped with banana leaves,
  • Tutug Oncom — white rice mixed with roasted oncom (Oncom is a Sundanese staple food made from fermented peanut), 
  • Nasi Liwet — rice cooked with coconut milk and herbs such as lemongrass and Indonesian bay leaf using a metal pot called kastrol. One kastrol is sufficient for four people.
  • Brown rice, which is the un-hulled white rice. However, we know it as nasi merah (red rice in English).

We usually eat rice with fried or grilled gourami fish, fried or grilled chicken, gepuk (sliced beef that is cooked and seasoned for hours until tender then fried). 

Sundanese dishes have several popular mixed vegetables, such as Lalaban, Karedok, Gado-Gado, and LotekClick here to know the difference between these Sundanese salads :) 

Favorite side dishes in the Sundanese restaurant are fried tofu, fried tempe, grilled petai (Parkia speciosa or bitter bean), and stew of jengkol (Archidendron pauciflorum or dog fruit). Although the last two are popular as stinky beans due to their odor. 

The soup in Sundanese dishes is Sayur Asem (sour vegetable soup). They use tamarind to make the fresh soured taste. One particular vegetable cooked in Sayur Asem is the nuts and young leaves of melinjo (Gnetum gnemon in Latin).

Which Sundanese food is your favorite? Fried or grilled gourami, gepuk, fried or grilled chicken, sayur asem, grilled petai, stew jengkol, colenak, ... | #ExploreSunda | #SundaneseFood

Another well-liked soup in any Sundanese restaurant is Soto. The most popular one is Chicken Soto. Usually, the ingredients of Chicken Soto are glass noodles, cabbages, shredded chicken, and boiled egg. Plus a squeeze of jeruk limau (Citrus amblycarpa) — a small green orange that we add to the soup instead of vinegar. Although some Soto use coconut milk in their broth, most of the Chicken Soto in the Sundanese restaurant served clear broth, without coconut milk.

Of course, sambal (chili paste) is essential in any Sundanese restaurant. The spicier, the better!

Varieties of Traditional Drinks

Drinks are varied, from the most standard hot or ice tea (sweetened or unsweetened) to fresh young coconuts. Or try specialty drinks from West Java: Bajigur and Bandrek

Bajigur is a Sundanese drink made of brewed coffee, coconut milk, and palm sugar. It is served hot with pieces of kolang-kaling (the fruits of the aren palm)

On the other hand, Bandrek is made of brewed ginger and palm sugar. It is served hot with slices of young coconut.

Sundanese Food: Desserts Time

For desserts, you might want to try Colenak. It is an acronym for dicocol enak, which means it is delicious when you dip it into the sauce. Colenak is grilled fermented cassava with a topping of sweetened coconut shreds.

The best place to eat these delicious Sundanese food is in a Sundanese restaurant set up in rural atmospheres. The servers usually wear traditional Sundanese costumes. The dining rooms are in small huts called saung, surrounded by a fish pond, rice field, or garden, accompanied by instrumental Sundanese ensembles called Degung. So, next time you are in Bandung, why not try the experience of dining in the Sundanese restaurant. I have compiled a list of recommended Sundanese restaurants including their specialties!

NEXT: The best Sundanese restaurants in Bandung serving tasty Sundanese food.

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