02 Mar 15 Must Try Indonesian Desserts On Your Next Trip Over
Being a tropical country, Indonesia undoubtedly offers plenty of unique local drinks to try during your visit. More than just refreshments, these beverages represent the multicultural nature of the country that makes it’s cuisine interesting and diverse.
This guide will go through some of the must-try drinks & beverages when you’re travelling to Indonesia that will quench your thirst for both taste & culture.
In This Must Try Indonesian Desserts Guide:
1. Lapis Legit
The origin of Lapis Legit is much debated, but one thing is clear: the cake was first developed during the Dutch colonial era using spices that are native to Indonesia.
Lapis here is Indonesian for layers, of which there are approximately 18 to 24 within each cake, all piled on one another manually. Sometimes raisins are also added. Soft but firm, enticingly sweet, and a tad moist with butter, there’s hardly any debate about how good this delicacy is.
2. Bolu Macan
Due to its popularity and ease of making, you’re likely to find Bolu Macan at any cake shop with predominantly local offerings. Visually striking, the Bangka-hailed sponge cake has become the go-to pick for those looking to impress their guests during special get-togethers. Its swirling, macan or tiger-like patterns are a result of combining three types of doughs, which incorporate chocolate and mocha paste for both flavouring and colouring.
3. Lapis Surabaya
A sponge cake like Bolu Macan and layered like Lapis Legit, Lapis Surabaya is another staple cake that grace most Indonesian households and souvenir shops. The three layers—yellow, chocolate, and yellow again—are divided by a slather of mocha paste and strawberry jam. One way of eating it is to do it like most Indonesian children do, by picking out the layers one by one and making a slice last longer than it would have.
4. Pie Susu Bali
Among domestic tourists, Pie Susu Bali or Bali Milk Pie is perhaps the most popular souvenir to bring home to their families. Coming in bite-sized, the delicacy took inspiration from the Hong Kong egg tart, which was in turn inspired by the Portuguese pastel de nata. Unlike the original iteration, however, the ones from Bali favour a crumbly, thin, and biscuit-like crust that makes the dessert lighter on the palate.
5. Pisang Bolen
Like Pie Susu for Bali, Pisang Bolen is one of the most sought after dessert souvenirs in Bandung. It’s a type of puff pastry filled with banana, which is often accompanied by chocolate, cheese or both. Not to be mistaken with Pisang Molen, where banana is wrapped with dough and deep fried until crunchy on the outside. That said, you should definitely try both as each one offers a rich compilation of flavours and textures to satiate your sweet cravings.
From a product of acculturation of Fujianese migrants to a signature treat in Yogyakarta, Bakpia has continued to retain its significance throughout the years—which can be attributed to the dessert’s ever-evolving nature. Though Bakpia is traditionally filled with mung beans, people have since explored a variety of other fillings like cheese or chocolate and attempted tweaks on the pastry casing. Some are successful, some aren’t as much, but the diversity ensures that there is something for everyone when enjoying Bakpia.
Fried Indonesian Desserts
7. Pisang Goreng
A cup of hot tea and Pisang Goreng (banana fritter). Such a combo is a beloved pick for a rainy afternoon during wet seasons. In essence, Pisang Goreng is similar to the aforementioned Pisang Molen, only differing in form and dough. The latter is less sweet, allowing the flavour of the fruit to burst forth with warmth. Some like it with sambal for a multilayered taste, others like it even sweeter and would add honey into the mix.
8. Kue Cucur
Kue Cucur is a type of deep-fried rice flour pancake, sweetened with palm sugar that gives the dessert its identifying brown flour. From cake shops to street carts selling fritters would most likely have these chewy treats on offer, signifying its popularity. It’s best to eat Kue Cucur when it’s fresh and warm, for it would turn into a gooey, oily mess when left to cool down for too long.
Like many things in this Internet era, Odading has had its time in the limelight thanks to a viral video a few years back. Firm on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside, the simple fried bread dessert deserves the attention. But it has actually been around for quite a while, and it is even written that the name came from a Dutch mother’s reply to his son’s request for the treat, “O dat ding?” (“Oh, that thing?”)
Indonesians sure love adding bananas into their desserts, and Nagasari is no exception. Hailing from Java, the treat is made of rice flour, mixed in with coconut milk and a bit of sugar to produce a subtle sweetness that balances itself with the banana flavour. Nagasari comes wrapped in banana leaves like many other Indonesian delicacies that undergo steaming.
11. Kue Mangkok
Amidst rich pickings of jajan pasar or Indonesian kueh, the neon colours of Kue Mangkok make these treats a standout. These steamed cupcakes are chewy and subtly sweet, best eaten when warm while the rice flour body is at its softest but still good enough at room temperature. There’s not much to say about this dessert, except for us to recommend you to give it a try!
12. Kue Lupis
If you like sticky rice desserts, you’ll love Kue Lupis. Like the previous two, this one is also steamed, done while wrapped in banana leaves to achieve its triangular shape. Each Kue Lupis is covered in shredded coconut meat and comes accompanied by a brown sugar syrup. The option is yours whether or not to use the syrup as it’s a very subjective preference, so try it both with and without!
Shaved Ice Desserts
13. Es Pisang Ijo
Another banana-based dessert, Es Pisang Ijo provides a unique combination of textures by wrapping the fruit in Pandan-infused flour and sago whilst pairing it with syrup-drenched shaved ice. As such, the Makassar dessert might come off as quite an acquired taste, but you’ll never know until you try—this might just be the one for you.
14. Es Kacang Merah Palembang
Es Kacang Merah Palembang would be perfect for those who love the Japanese Ogura dessert! The Palembang city where it was first popularised in is well-known for its relentless heat, and the combination of boiled red beans, coconut milk, and shaved ice sweetened with palm sugar and condensed milk is the perfect antidote to the weather.
15. Es Doger
There are plenty of acronyms in the daily Indonesian lexicon, and the ‘Doger’ in Es Doger is one of them. It’s short for DOrong GERobak, which is Indonesian for pushing a cart. Accordingly, these pink shaved ice treats can be found around the neighbourhood being carted around by a street vendor. Toppings range from avocado, coconut, milk to bread and tapai, all of which come together unexpectedly well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Indonesian Desserts
What is the most popular dessert in Indonesia?
There’s no particular dessert that can be said to be the most famous in the country, but as can be surmised from the writing above, banana is definitely the most famous dessert ingredient in Indonesia.
What do Indonesian people eat for dessert?
In most cases, these desserts we’ve mentioned are usually eaten separately from a meal. Instead, fresh fruits are the popular go to!