11. Desserts and Sweets
Indonesia is a complex country, and always surprising, there is so much good and enjoyable food that Indonesians don’t put a high priority on serving or having desserts, and yet they have so much variety here as well. Often these are eaten as snacks or served to guests outside the main meal.
Indonesia’s steamy climate makes light, fruity desserts more appealing than rich, decadent treats such as cake or pie. After a large meal, Indonesians typically reach for fresh fruit such as mangoes, jack- fruit, or bananas. But some favourite desserts are served on special occasions or when guests come to dinner. Black rice pudding, sweet coconut-rice balls, and steamed coconut custard are likely to appear on holiday tables. These sweets feature foods that grow in abundance on the islands, including bananas, coconuts, and rice. Some desserts, such as deep-fried bananas, can be purchased from street vendors to eat as a sweet snack in the sweltering heat of the afternoon.
As always there is a fusion of street food and popular dishes. Indonesia has also a strong heard of popularist movement, in that when something becomes popular, everyone learns about it and wants to go there. So suddenly it becomes impossible to get a booking or eat at a newly popular restaurant, almost overnight it seems.
Indonesia has a rich collection of snacks called kue (cakes and pastry), both savoury and sweet. Traditional kue usually made from rice flour, coconut milk, coconut sugar and mostly steamed or fried instead of baked. Traditional kue are popularly known as kue basah (“wet cake”) that has moisty and soft texture because of rich coconut milk. The kue kering (dried cake) is local name for cookies.
Indonesia has rich variations of kue, both native-origin or foreign-influenced. Popular ones include Bika Ambon, kue pisang, kue cubit, klepon, onde-onde, nagasari, kue pandan, lupis, lemang, lemper, lontong, tahu isi, getuk, risoles, pastel, lumpia, bakpia, lapis legit, soes, poffertjes and bolu kukus.
The influence of many different people are shown in this range as many have strong connections to the Dutch and other visitors to the region.