Chinese Indonesian cuisine is characterized by the mixture of Chinese with local Indonesian style. Chinese dishes modified with addition of chili, santan (coconut milk) and spices form a new Indonesian Chinese cuisine. Some of the dishes and cakes share the same style as in Malaysia and Singapore which are known as the Nonya cuisine by the Peranakan.
The Indonesian Chinese cuisine also vary with locations. For example in different parts of Java the dishes are adapted to local culture. In central Java, the food tends to be much more sweet. In Medan, North Sumatra a more traditional Chinese style can be found.
There are different style of Chinese food in Indonesia:
- New style Chinese food with chefs from China, Hongkong or Taiwan.
- traditional Chinese food, such as the Teochew, Hokkian, Hakka dishes.
- Chinese-Indonesian food with recipes borrowed from Dutch and other European cuisine as well as local cuisine.
- Chinese dishes adapted to the local taste, such as replacing pork with chicken or beef to make it halal
Some of the typical Chinese Indonesian Food:
- Bakmi, noodles which are adapted to different styles and regions. Each city has its own recipe for noodles or mie, e.g. Bakmi Bandung, Bakmi Medan, Bakmi Makassar, Bakmi Bangka, etc. 'Bak-Mi' comes from the Hokkien pronunciation for 'Meat-Noodle'.
- Nasi goreng, fried rice with spices and chili, often add kecap manis, but another variant may differ.
- Mi goreng, fried noodle with spices and chili darkened with kecap manis.
- Kwetiau goreng, fried flat noodle similar to char kuay teow.
- Cap Cai, named for the Hokkian word for a mixture of various types of vegetables. Usually served as stir fried mixed vegetables with chicken when ordered as ala carte.
- Tahu Goreng, fried Tofu with peanut sauce and chili. 'Tau-Hu' also comes from the Chinese word for 'Bean-Curd'.
- Pau, which is the Chinese word for 'bun'; sometimes written as Bak-Pau, literally meaning 'Meat-Bun', which is a bun with meat fillings. (Bak is the Hokkien pronunciation for 'meat'.)
- Bakwan, Bak-Wan is the Hokkien pronunciation for 'Meat-Ball', usually made from beef.
- Bakso, Bak-So is the Hokkien pronunciation for 'Shredded-Meat'.
- Sapo, Sa-Po which is the Chinese word for 'Clay-Pot'.
- Lumpia, a fresh spring roll of Hokkien/Chaozhou-style origin.