Kerupuk And Sambal

Season 3 Episode A6

Level of Indonesian and English fluency: Beginner to Intermediate

Indonesian Version

Saat bersekolah di Amerika, salah satu topik yang sering dibicarakan dengan teman dari negara lain, adalah makanan. Mereka sering bertanya makanan Indonesia itu apa. Kadang aku suka berpikir dulu, mulai dari mana, karena sangat banyak. 

Dari Barat ke Timur, semuanya mempunyai makanan khas yang berbeda. 

Aku juga sering bercerita, apapun jenis makanannya, hampir selalu, warung hingga restoran besar akan menyediakan kerupuk dan sambal. Bahkan kerupuknya bisa digunakan menjadi pengganti sendok kalau makan dengan tangan. 

Ada satu jenis kerupuk namanya kerupuk Bangka, yang biasanya dijual lengkap dengan sambal. Untuk aku, sambalnya pedas sekali. Saat mengunyah,  aku biasanya sambil nangis-nangis. Pernah temanku bertanya, kenapa menyiksa diri kalau harus sampai kepedasan. 

Memang semuanya relatif, menyiksa untuk yang tidak suka, tapi untuk mayoritas orang Indonesia adalah kepuasan. 

English Version (02:04)

During my school years in America, one of the more frequently discussed topics with friends from other countries was food. They often asked me what was Indonesian food like. Sometimes I had to think for a while, where to start, as there were so many.

From West to East, each place had a different unique local food. 

I often shared that whatever the food was, almost always, from small food stalls to big restaurants, they would always provide kerupuk (crackers) and sambal (chilli sauce). The crackers could often be used as a spoon-replacement when eating with your hands.

There is one type of kerupuk, called kerupuk Bangka, which is usually sold together with a specific chilli sauce. For me that chilli sauce is very hot. Usually I chew while crying my eyes out. My friend once asked, if it’s too hot, why torture myself eating it.

Everything is relative, torture for those who don’t like it, but pure enjoyment for the majority of Indonesians.


Salah satu: one of

Makanan: food

Whatever: apapun 

Hampir: almost

Selalu: always

Bahkan: even, in fact

Kepedasan: suffer from hot spices/chili, spiciness 

‘Makan dengan tangan’ means eating without using any utensils. 

It is one of the Indonesian customs that are still common until now. If a restaurant provides you with a small bowl filled with water and (usually with) a small piece of lime, that’s not your drink, it’s to clean your hands.

That bowl is free, but if a restaurant provides you with packaged wet napkins, most of the time, the restaurant charges those.

A bit of a tip on how to ‘Makan dengan tangan’: 

When you scoop the food (rice with protein/veggies+sambal) with one of your hands, the amount of food that can be scooped is usually only around how much can be held by the tips of all five fingers joining together; or around one or one and a half tablespoons. 

People from a few other countries who eat without utensils might squeeze the rice like a ball in your palm, Indonesian don’t do that. The food will only be held by the tip of those five fingers. (Hence the small size of the hand cleansing bowl).

Besides ‘makan dengan tangan’, Indonesian usually use spoons, forks and chopsticks. Unless people are eating western food / steak in a restaurant, most of the time, Indonesian use spoons and forks. 

In the majority of places, there are no strict rules on what kind of utensils are used for certain food. So no worries, you may use whichever you prefer or provided at the stalls/restaurants. 

Indonesian language used here is in the daily-conversation format, that has influences from the local culture and custom. Should you have questions on the more formal version, please consult with your guru Bahasa Indonesia.

Level of Indonesian and English fluency: Beginner to Intermediate