Thousands of heavenly islands together create what must be the most diverse country in the world - Indonesia.
Over the course of many centuries, sailors, explorers and merchants from different cultures were attracted by the spices and other riches of the country and left their footprints. Indonesian cuisine reflects this enormous diversity, among others, there are Chinese, Arabian and European elements to be found in the Indonesian food culture. Many of the more or less isolated island communities still maintained their authenticity regarding preparation, ingredients, specialities and traditions.
Even today there are recognisable differences between, for example, the mild sweet dishes from Java and the spicy Sumatran cuisine. Compared to the rest of the mostly Islamic country, a lot more pork is eaten in Bali which is influenced by Hinduism. Indonesia possesses an endless variety of cuisines and dishes, all as different and fascinating as the country itself and its surrounding sea.
* Recipes, text and images extracted from The real taste of Indonesia: a culinary journey - 100 unique family recipes (Hardie Grant, $45).