Xanadu Indonesian welcome dinner

Indonesian and Sasak food secrets unveiled

Food to try when in Lombok

While in Lombok, don’t miss the opportunity to try out Indonesian and Sasak (meaning from Lombok) food staples. If you’re vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed as there is many amazing vegetarian dishes you can indulge in. If you’re still not familiar with tempeh, we are warning you it can become your new addiction. Also, the unique way of preparing tofu, makes it extremely taste – the simple yet delicious tofu sambal (sambal: Indonesian chili sauce or paste – there’s many different varieties)  is not to be missed.

There is of course plenty of options for carnivorous and seafood-loving crowd, too. Fish grilled in sambal, lobsters, chicken Taliwang or beef rendang. Are you hungry yet?

Below, we have prepared a list of must-try dishes when in Lombok.

Gado gado


Literally means mix-mix and is an Indonesian salad made of a mix of blanched veggies, tofu, aromatic lontong rice cooked for hours in a banana leaf and topped with a peanut sauce. Healthy and extremely filling. You’ll have a chance to try it at Xanadu as it is our Tuesday breakfast special, perfect after a morning surf session.

Urap urap Sasak food


Another addiction of ours and a light option for veggie lovers. Often served as a side dish, urap-urap is an Indonesian salad made of boiled/steamed vegetables, such as bean sprouts, green beans, water spinach, topped with freshly grated coconut and a touch of sambal. It sounds very basic but the right mix of everything makes it hard to resist. If not as a side dish, it tastes great with plain rice or lontong (see above for explanation).


Beef rendang

A spicy beef dish originating from West Sumatra. The beef is slow cooked in coconut milk and a mix of spices, including ginger, galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, shallots, garlic, chillis and other. Usually served with steamed rice – actually most things come with rice here.

nasi goreng

Nasi goreng / Mie goreng

Nasi means rice, mie means noodles and goreng means fried. Therefore, we’re talking here about fried rice or fried noodles available in every restaurant on every corner. Spices play a big role in Indonesian cuisine and so they do in nasi and mie goreng. In addition to the spiced noodles or rice, you will find a range of vegetables, egg, tofu, tempeh and seafood or chicken. Everyone has their own way of preparing these dishes, so worth trying in various places to find your favourite edition.



It’s a type of thick and creamy coconut curry. Usually a vegetable curry. Our absolute favourite is the grilled long eggplant version of olah-olah, which you can try in Warung Lalapan on the main street of Kuta, Lombok.


Tempeh manis

A delicious side dish that goes well with pretty much every meal. It is tempeh cut into small pieces, fried with chillis and sometimes with shallots and flavoured with kecap manis, a sweet version of soy sauce.

Chicken satay

Chicken satay 

Satay in Indonesia, sate in Malaysia. These are small pieces of chicken on a skewer, served with a peanut sauce. Locals love them in a spicy version but if spicy food is not your friend, you may ask to tone down on it. A street food classic.


Chicken Taliwang 

This Sasak dish will set you on fire. It’s a grilled chicken with very hot seasoning so only for adventurous. Absolutely delicious though.


Plecing kankung

Another Sasak classic: water spinach with chilli-tomato sambal. The sambal will vary. Some places, but not all, tend to add the pungent terasi (shrimp paste), which for some may prove too strong.

Tofu sambal and gorengans

Tofu sambal 

If you’re not a fan of tofu and think it lacks flavour, you may change your mind when you try this side dish. It couldn’t be more simple; just a fried tofu with a chili sambal, but we challenge you to stop eating after you try one piece.



You know by know that goreng means fried. Gorengan is fried everything: a banana, mixed veggies, tofu stuffed with bean sprouts (this one is delicious!), corn etc. A very guilty pleasure but we love to sin with it from time to time.

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