Exploring Sundanese Food in Jakarta: A Guide to the Best Dishes

By: Hipster Travel Guide

If you’re travelling to Jakarta, make sure to put Sundanese cuisine on top of your must-try list. Sundanese food is known for its simplicity and use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, making it one of the healthiest and most flavorful cuisines in Indonesia.

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the rich history of Sundanese cuisine and introduce you to some of the best dishes to try during your visit.

The Rich History of Sundanese Cuisine

Sundanese cuisine is more than just a collection of delicious dishes – it is a reflection of the rich history and cultural heritage of the Sundanese people. The cuisine traces its roots back to the ancient Sundanese kingdom, where rice was the main staple food. The Sundanese people were known for their agricultural practices, which emphasized the use of organic, locally sourced ingredients. This commitment to using fresh, high-quality ingredients has been a hallmark of Sundanese cuisine ever since.

Origins and Influences

Sundanese cuisine has been shaped by a variety of cultural and historical factors. One of the most significant influences on Sundanese cuisine is the neighbouring Javanese cuisine. The two cuisines share many similarities, including the use of rice as a staple food and a reliance on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. However, Sundanese cuisine also has its own unique flavour profile, thanks in part to the influence of Chinese and European cuisine.

The mountainous terrain of West Java also plays a role in shaping Sundanese cuisine. The region’s unique geography has led to the development of dishes that are perfectly suited to the local climate and soil. For example, many of the most popular Sundanese dishes feature fresh vegetables and herbs that thrive in the region’s cool, mountainous environment.

Traditional Cooking Techniques

Sundanese cuisine relies heavily on traditional cooking techniques that have been passed down through generations of Sundanese cooks. One of the most important of these techniques is grilling. Grilling helps to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients and creates a delicious, smoky flavour that is unique to Sundanese cuisine.

Another important cooking technique in Sundanese cuisine is steaming. Steaming is a great way to preserve the natural flavour and nutrients of the ingredients, while also creating a healthy, low-fat dish. Sundanese cuisine also makes use of boiling, which is a quick and easy way to cook ingredients like vegetables and meat.

Key Ingredients and Spices

Sundanese cuisine makes use of a wide range of ingredients, including rice, fish, vegetables, and meat. One of the most important ingredients in Sundanese cuisine is rice. Rice is used in a variety of dishes, from savoury main courses to sweet desserts.

Sundanese cuisine also makes use of a variety of spices and herbs to add flavour to each dish. Some of the most common spices used in Sundanese cuisine include turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. These simple but flavorful ingredients combine to create some of the best dishes in Indonesian cuisine.

In addition to these key ingredients and spices, Sundanese cuisine also makes use of a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs. Some of the most popular vegetables used in Sundanese cuisine include spinach, kale, and watercress. These vegetables are often cooked with a variety of herbs, such as basil, mint, and coriander, to create a flavorful and nutritious dish.

In conclusion, Sundanese cuisine is a reflection of the rich history and cultural heritage of the Sundanese people. From its ancient roots to its modern-day popularity, Sundanese cuisine has been shaped by a variety of cultural and historical factors. Whether you’re a fan of grilled meats, steamed vegetables, or spicy curries, there’s something for everyone in the world of Sundanese cuisine.

Best Places To Get Sundanese Cuisine

Bumbu Desa

Image source: Bumbu Desa

If you’re looking for the best place to enjoy Sundanese food with family and friends, this is the place to be. They have one of the best atmospheres to dine at. Not to forget to mention the great staff!

Seeng Nini Resto Khas Sunda Indonesia

Image source: Seeng Nini Resto Khas Sunda Indonesia

They have one of the best menus for Sundanese culture cuisine. They have a great dining ambience given that they are quite on the more expensive side – but with great food nonetheless!

Waroeng Sunda

Image source: Waroeng Sunda

Sundanese comfort food doesn’t come easy but Waroeng Sunda has both great Sundanese comfort food and a cosy place to dine in. What else could you ask for on a nice evening?

Pondok Sunda Prasmanan Cikajang

Image source: Pondok Sunda Prasmanan Cikajang

They serve authentic and affordable Sundanese cuisine. They have one of the most flavourful dishes because of practices they have since the owners are also well accustomed to the taste of real Sundanese food.

Must-Try Sundanese Dishes

Nasi Timbel

Nasi Timbel is a traditional Sundanese dish that consists of rice wrapped in banana leaves, accompanied by fried chicken, tofu, tempeh, and vegetables. The dish is typically served with sambal, a spicy chilli paste that adds an extra kick of flavour.

Soto Bandung

Soto Bandung is a hearty beef and vegetable soup that is popular in Sundanese cuisine. The soup is flavoured with turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger, and is served with rice noodles, bean sprouts, and lime wedges.


Karedok is a refreshing salad made with a variety of raw vegetables, including cucumber, bean sprouts, and cabbage, dressed with a spicy peanut sauce. This dish is a great way to enjoy the fresh flavours of Sundanese cuisine.


Lotek is a unique Sundanese dish that is similar to Karedok, but with the addition of boiled potatoes and a sweet and sour sauce. The dish is typically served with rice cakes and emping, a type of Indonesian chip made from the seeds of the belinjo tree.


Lalapan is a simple but flavorful dish that consists of fried or grilled chicken or fish, accompanied by a variety of raw vegetables and sambal. This dish is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.

Popular Sundanese Snacks and Desserts


Combro is a popular snack in Sundanese cuisine that consists of deep-fried cassava filled with grated coconut and spices. The crispy outer shell and savoury filling make for a delicious snack that is perfect for any time of day.


Cireng is another popular Sundanese snack made from tapioca flour and filled with seasoned ground meat. The snack is typically deep-fried and served with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Pisang Molen

Pisang Molen is a sweet and savoury dessert that consists of bananas wrapped in a pastry shell and then deep-fried. The dessert is often served with a sprinkle of cheese or chocolate sauce.

Bubur Sumsum

Bubur Sumsum is a popular Indonesian dessert that is made from rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. This sweet dessert is typically served cold and can be topped with a variety of fruits and nuts.

Sundanese cuisine is a must-try for anyone visiting Jakarta. With its rich history and use of fresh, healthy ingredients, Sundanese cuisine is sure to please both your taste buds and your stomach. So, whether you’re looking for a hearty soup or a sweet snack, be sure to explore the delicious world of Sundanese cuisine.