Indonesia has gifted us one of the most vibrant cuisines in the world, a slice of which diners can delve into at these best Indonesian restaurants in Singapore.
The Southeast Asian nation is made up of 17,508 islands and over 300 ethnic groups, all who have their own say on a particular dish. Compounded with influences from China, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom, Indonesian food – also known as Nusantara cuisine – can simultaneously feel both hyper-focused and worldly, and thoroughly exciting.
Probably the most famous form of Indonesian cuisine served here is Minangkabau. Originally from West Sumatra, it gave us iconic dishes like nasi Padang – named after the province’s capital city – and rendang. Another is East Java, home to ayam penyet. Then there are other Indonesian restaurants in Singapore that specific items like bakmi, a dry noodle dish with Chinese origins, and chicken satay from Madura, an island of the northeastern coast of Java.
From a former embassy canteen to a family-owned restaurant in business since 1948, the list of Indonesian restaurants in Singapore is extensive, and here are some of the best. Check them out below.
9 best Indonesian restaurants in Singapore
Bebek Goreng Pak Ndut
Ayam penyet may be one of the first dishes that come up when thinking about Indonesian food in Singapore, but this restaurant puts a different spin on the fried chicken dish. They use duck, or bebek, which is marinated for 24 hours with Indonesian spices then deep-fried until crispy. The bird can also be ordered whole, shredded, or just the skin, along with other dishes like oxtail soup, and fried tofu and tempeh, all spiced up with hot sauces from the mild sweet chilli sauce to the fiery Original Chilli.
Image: Courtesy @terryfoodblog/Instagram
Traditional Indonesian recipes form the core of IndoChili. Satay is a something familiar to many Singaporeans, but the sate ayam Madura is a chicken skewer that is a little different from the rest. A heritage dish of Maduranese people, this charcoal-grilled skewer is glazed with a sweet soy sauce for a candied mouthfeel, creating a wonderful contrast to the savoury meat. Other dishes like the sop buntut is a hearty, thick oxtail soup that is perfect for chilly days.
Image: Courtesy IndoChili/Facebook
Simple, hearty, and wonderfully delicious are the first few words that come to mind when one thinks of Kintamani. Here, diners would find unassuming plates of Indonesian and Balinese classics like the beef rendang, gado-gado, and mee bakso among a whole range of dishes. Prices are extremely reasonable too – their à la carte buffet starts at S$38+ (INR 2,327.16) per person.
Image: Courtesy Furama Riverfront
Kulon is run by a mother and son who specialise in an Indonesian dry noodle dish called bakmi. First brought to the region by Chinese immigrants, it consists of springy wheat noodles that is seasoned with spices, which the restaurant tops with meat from braised sweet soy sauce chicken to bakso beef balls, and blanched bak choy. The China connection also shows up in kulit pangsit goreng, or fried dumpling skin, which soaks up the savoury bakso beef ball soup.
Image: Courtesy @drunkmochi/Instagram
Pondok was first opened in 2006 as a canteen at the Indonesian embassy in Singapore, and eventually turned into a restaurant after overwhelming demand. The cuisine here is East Javanese in origin and homey in feel, ranging from ayam penyet, nasi kuning, and mee goreng, complemented by luscious beef rendang, crispy bakwan jagung (corn fritter), rawon (Javanese beef soup), and gado-gado.
Image: Courtesy Pondok Jawa Timur – Indonesian Cuisine/Facebook
Since 1954, the family-owned Rumah Makan Minang has been serving Minangbakabau cuisine, which originated from West Sumatra and Negeri Sembilan. Nasi Padang is the star here, characterised by row of trays presenting ikan bakar Minang (grilled fish with Minang sauce), fried beef lung, ayam balado hijau (fried chicken with green chilli sambal), and sweet potato shoots cooked with coconut milk. Peak hours usually mean a long queue, but the line moves fast.
Image: Courtesy Rumah Makan Minang/Facebook
Sari Ratu Padang Indonesian restaurant
The headliner at Sari Ratu, an Indonesian restaurant chain started in 1982, is kikil sambal, a soft, gelatinous plate of cow trotters doused with chilli. Beef also comes in the form of gulai tunjang, or tendon cooked in a spiced coconut milk gravy, while gulai nangka (young jackfruit curry) and sayur singkong (cassava leaf) rounds out a hearty nasi Padang meal. For dessert, es teler is an iced fruit cocktail enriched with jackfruit, avocado, and coconut milk.
Image: Courtesy Sari Ratu Padang Indonesian Restaurant/Facebook
Tambuah Mas has been serving plates of Nusantara fare since 1981. Diners flock here for their version of the tahu telur, a glorious tower of egg-battered beancurd that is deep-fried and served with an addictive sweet-spicy dark sauce. Other standouts include ikan acar, made with fish head simmered in a tangy assam sauce, and the nasi goreng istimwa, complete with prawns, chicken satay, and acar.
Image: Courtesy Tambuah Mas Indonesian Restaurant – Paragon/Facebook
Warong Nasi Pariaman
Warong Nasi Pariaman is a national treasure. The nasi Padang restaurant was founded in 1948 by Isrin bin Ibrahim and his wife, Rosna binte Zainal Abidin, and retains the old way of cooking food over charcoal fire and following traditional recipes. Now run by their children, the beef rendang and ayam bakar continue to be one of their best sellers, joined by sambal squid, gulai ayam (green curry chicken), and perkedel (fried potato patty).
Image: Courtesy Warong Nasi Pariaman – North Bridge Road/Facebook
Hero and featured image: Courtesy Tambuah Mas Indonesian Restaurant – Paragon/Facebook
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The most famous Indonesian food in the world is Nasi Padang.
Answer: Ayam penyet is the most delicious food in Indonesia.
Answer: You can order bakmi, a dry noodle dish or chicken satay from Madura as a part of Indonesian food.