From the 3 kingdoms to the Republic
Indonesia has an ancient history: the Indian documents report the foundation of the first kingdom around 200 B.C. on the islands of Java and Sumatra, but the first human settlements date back to 500.000 years ago. In 2003 the ‘Flores Man’, dated 50.000 years ago, was also found.
In the fifth century the kingdom of Tamura was established on Java island and with it, in 425 A.C., Buddhism became the main cult. While Europe entered the Renaissance, Indonesia had enjoyed an advanced civilization for a thousand years and was divided into three kingdoms: Srivijaya, Buddhist to the west, Sailendra, in the center, which erected the great monument of Borobudur and, to the east, the great Hindu empire of Majapahit.
Buddhism and Hinduism were gradually supplanted by Islam from the twelfth century, when the first Arab merchants began to trade in Indonesia. Today, Bali is the only island with a Hindu majority.
In 1602 the Dutch conquered Indonesia, thus beginning the colonial era which lasted 300 years, until 1945, year of the proclamation of Republic.
Culture and Religions
300 ethnic groups, 6 Religions and 1 single people
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, literally "Unity in Diversity", is the motto written on the Garuda Pancasila, the national emblem, which represents the "GARUDA" deity with the appearance of an eagle, supporting a shield divided into 5 segments, as 5 are the Indonesian ideological principles. United in diversity fully sums up the souls of this country that, over the centuries, has been able to merge and evolve with all the encountered cultures.
Today Indonesia is the most populous nation with a Muslim majority in the world, but here there are 6 Religions living in peace (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism). Freedom of worship is a right provided for and guaranteed by the Constitution. Bali is the only one with Hindu dominance today and you could see the blessing of buses before a trip on the highway. The unity of the people is evident in daily life both in the family and in the social bonds of one's own village: here you will be able to see the children going from house to house and adults helping each other with manual labor. This sense of community reaches its peak in the KOS, flats with common areas to socialize, inhabited mainly by workers far from families.
Indonesian cuisine: unity in diversity
From Java to Bali: tradition and street food
This archipelago, extended from Indochina to Australia straddling the equator, with its 6000 inhabited islands, including Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Molucca spice islands, supports and nourishes 250 million people, divided into 300 religious ethnic groups that, as the Indonesian national motto says 'unity in diversity', are united and merged in a varied traditional cuisine.
The distinctive element is the variety of raw materials, all natural products supplied by the sea and the lush volcanic soil. The trade, which followed the days of barter, between the islands before and with neighboring countries then, the various foreign dominations, from the Arab one to the Dutch one until 1945, the year of independence, brought a fusion of flavors and perfumes linked inextricably with all religions and cultures, creating a sort of cuisine from ancestral heritage.
Indonesian cuisine is marked by its original creativity: you can enjoy spicy and sweet, sweet and sour, crunchy and soft, fluid and dense, creamy and consistent dishes. You will find hot, warm and cold dishes, all characterized by a triumph of colors because, for example, beautiful red prawns are added to the green of the vegetables.
Indonesia could also boast the origin of street food: here street food, or better, eating on the street is part of everyday life. In every corner you can find the KAKI LIMA, street cooks, who transport and assemble their kitchen always in different places. They are always ready to serve grilled dishes, soups or satay, meat skewers covered with sauces with an unmistakable flavor. In addition to KAKI LIMA we suggest you to explore the gastronomic shops overlooking the streets, the WARUNG, real gathering places for a multitude of native and immigrant cultures.
MASAKAN: the typical Indonesian cuisine
Nasi goreng, gado-gado and saté
Nasi goreng, gado-gado and saté are traditional dishes that, mixing different flavors, can be enjoyed anywhere, from the heart of the capital to the borders of the Republic. All of them are linked to local production, enriched by spices, the fruits of the earth and the benevolence of the sea. They represent and confirm the national motto 'unity in diversity'.
Nasi goreng, literally fried rice, is a first sautéed dish with chicken, shrimp and, based on the area where you will taste it, with the addition of different vegetables. Nasi goreng is usually cooked in the morning, left covered and then served at room temperature. It is one of the main dishes of Indonesian cuisine and It was served to the president of the United States of America, Barak Obama during his visit in 2010.
Gado-gado, which derives from the indonesian verb menggado 'eating side dishes without rice', is a side dish of seasoned vegetables with peanut sauce. The ingredients are: white cabbage, shallot, cauliflower, bean sprouts, green beans, peanuts, garlic, lemon juice and sesame oil. All masterfully sautéed create one of the most fragrant dishes of MASAKAN and It is an excellent accompaniment for meat dishes.
Saté is a second course based on meat, which changes depending on the island where you will be, but usually chicken or beef. The most famous is Saté Padang: the meat is boiled twice to make it soft and juicy, then it is cut into pieces and sprinkled with spices. The broth is then used to prepare the sauce, mixing many spices and various types of chili. The meat is finally grilled on coconut coal just before serving. Saté Padang has two variants: Sate Panjang, which is distinguished by its yellow sauce, and Saté Pariaman, which is red in color. Sauces have different spices, so even the taste differs greatly.