Semantics matter, people. Being a worldly, knowledgable traveller > being a uninformed, mistake-makin’ tourist. Ja feel?
It can be highly difficult to pretend that you’re #notatourist when you’re in a country you’ve never visited before; no one likes acknowledging that they have absolutely no idea where they are, or what the menu says.
So we’ve decided to throw down some Indonesian food knowledge on ya’ll, just in case you’re sick of accidentally requesting a hearty dish of deep-fried snake. (Yep, that’s a thing.)
This absolutely bloody delicious meat soup is a common Indonesian street food, and can be chicken, goat, or beef. It differs slightly depending on what region of Indonesia you’re in (it has a coconut milk base in Jakarta, but ends to be more of a clear broth in other areas) but goddamn if it isn’t delicious everywhere. Top it with as much sambal as your brittle Aussie tastebuds can handle, as well as heaps of shallots. Hearty is a understatement.
Yeah, just bats in general. There’s a range of different ways it’s served, so perhaps just double check what kind of meat is in the thing you just ordered. Whole deep-fried or grilled bats are pretty common, as is bat meat in stews and soups.
Ampo is a snack that’s supposed to aid digestion, and it looks like the curled chocolate shavings that you’d get on cakes from the supermarket in the 00s. But it’s not chocolate. Do not think it is chocolate. You will be upset. It is grilled clay. ACTUAL CLAY.
Bakpao is a snack you actually will enjoy. Bakpao is a white fluffy bread roll, with delicious fillings. It can be meat, or it can be chocolate/bean curd. Bakpao is typically a super common street food, so you’ll be able to find them pretty much anywhere.
TIP: if you’re after a sweet bakpao rather than savoury, sweet fillings usually have a coloured dot on the top of the roll.
Fried worms – what a treat! We feel like if you accidentally eat these without realising they are worms, you may have to get your eyes checked. But hey, these fried sago babies might be really juicy and delicious – the texture is described as ‘pulpy’.
Not actually called POOP COFFEE, it’s called Kopi Luwak. But it is, in essence, poop coffee. There’s a cat-like creature called the Luwak in Indonesia, and it eats little coffee bean cherries. It can’t digest them, and poops them out. Then the beans are roasted for coffee, as usual. Apparently the coffee is delightful and tasty and has a ‘special aroma’. Which is possibly the aroma of poop. Poop aroma.
Now: you’re #notatourist, you’re a traveller. Go forth and enjoy everything Indonesia has to offer (including the fried worms) with Visa – it’s money you can’t lose.
Title image: Ed Wray via Getty Images