Naturally there is no such thing as 'summer food' in Indonesia due to the country's yearlong hot weather. But for those who insist on finding one regardless, here are five delicious local dishes that you may enjoy to celebrate the occasion.
Sweet icy drinks
The endless summer in a tropical country like Indonesia has enriched its culinary options with a variety of cold dessert beverages to cool down during the blazing hot days.
In Bandung and the rest of West Java alone, there are many dessert drinks varieties that have become the city's proud signature beverages such as es sekoteng, es dung dung and es goyobod, among others.
Es sekoteng is West Javanese's take of es campur (mixed ice), which is a bowl of mixed tropical fruits (like avocado, jack fruit and coconut) with black grass jelly, sugar palm fruit and sekoteng (pink sago pearl), which is then topped with grated ice, syrup and condensed milk.
As the ice melts and all the toppings mix, the dessert cools down your body from within, thanks to all those refreshing ingredients.
To make the dish more exciting, many eateries such as the legendary Es Teler Pa Oyen Sukajadi 18 that has been around since the 1960s, added the stinky yet mouthwatering durian to the drink.
Another popular ice dessert beverage is es dung dung; a traditional Indonesian ice cream made from coconut milk or sometimes, durian.
Unlike modern or Western ice cream, the texture of this ice cream is rough; you can sometimes feel the small flakes of coconut or durian in your mouth.
Es dung dung is homemade and takes around three hours just to mix all the ingredients until they meet the desired consistency.
Sate kambing or Indonesian-style lamb skewer is the perfect food for those longing to have a picnic or outdoor barbeque session during their leisure time in the country.
According to the grill master at a famous sate house in Bandung, Sate H. Haris on Jl. Asia Afrika, the key to a great sate lies in the seasoning and marinating technique and the method of tenderizing the meat.
“Indonesian sate seasoning is as simple as marinating the meat in sweet soya sauce, then serving it with peanut sauce and another helping of sweet soya sauce mixed with sliced chilies, tomato, raw onion and lime juice,” he said.
To tenderize the meat, the traditional Indonesian way is by wrapping it in a papaya leaf, which is then left overnight.
The grill master at another famous Bandung sate house, Sate Hadori on Jl. Stasiun Timur 11-12, said that the grilling technique also counts in making a great sate.
After a quick dip in sweet soy sauce, the meat is placed on a charcoal grill for several minutes. Then the grill master turns on a fan until the flaming red fire appears to caramelize the meat and add that special taste to the delectable sate.
Fresh fruit rujak
Munching fresh tropical fruit is healthy and would certainly keep the waistline in check during summer.
Rujak (fruit salad) is another Indonesian-style dish that will alter your fruit eating experience. It is basically made of sliced fruits dipped in a rather sweet and spicy sambal (chili relish).
There are many kinds of rujak in Indonesia, but the simplest and easiest to create is the fresh fruit rujak.
The preparation includes slicing pretty any available tropical fruit, such as mango, star fruit, sweet potato, guava, papaya, bengkoang (cubed jicama) and pineapple. Refrigerating the fruit before consumption is advised to add a cooling sensation.
The sambal is made of peanuts, palm sugar, chili, tamarind and pisang batu (stony plantain). The ingredients are then ground together with a splash of water to soften the texture.
A different style of eating fresh tropical fruits in Indonesia is by soaking the fruits in sweet sour sauce with shredded white cabbage and fried peanuts to add an extra crunch.
The sauce is made of grinded red chili, which is then boiled with water, before vinegar, salt and sugar are added. Refrigerating the sauce prior to eating will add a refreshing tanginess to this rujak.
This traditional Indonesian pancake is usually made in a terracotta stove and pot. An array of toppings can be added such as oncom (fermented tempeh), but the most common and popular way to savor this delicacy is by soaking the serabi in a coconut milk-based sauce with palm sugar.
Usually this dish is enjoyed at room temperature, but can also be chilled with its sauce to savor on a hot summer day.