Indonesian Drinks You Must Try On Your Next Visit
Indonesia is always a fascinating place to visit. The country has thousands of islands, an endless array of cultures, unique cuisines and drinks, and a long list of stunning places to visit. You can visit Indonesia multiple times and still find new and fascinating destinations to visit and activities to try every time.
In this article, however, we are going to focus more on Indonesian drinks. Just like its cuisines, Indonesian drinks have rich cultural roots and interesting stories behind them. More importantly, they are uniquely refreshing and are among the things you must try when visiting the country.
So, which Indonesian drinks should you try?
Wedang Jahe is basically a ginger tea, made from freshly shredded ginger. Even the color resembles that of a tea; golden or brown with a hint of black. Wedang Jahe is best served hot with a pinch of honey.
The drink originated from Java. If you visit cities like Yogyakarta or Solo, you will find Wedang Jahe being served by street food vendors; almost every one of them to be precise. It is warm and soothing and is certainly a joy to try.
Wedang Secang is very similar to Wedang Jage in many ways. It too is a drink based on ginger, but it has other ingredients added to it. Wedang Secang appears redder than Wedang Jahe, plus it has a stronger flavor to it.
Aside from shredded ginger, Wedang Secang also contains lemon, cinnamon, sappan wood, and cardamoms. This is a drink that has a lot of health benefits. It can cure fevers and help ease an upset stomach.
Jamu was originally a traditional medicine made from herbs by ancient Javanese. It was used to treat various illnesses whilst keeping the body immune and balanced. Jamu can be made with combinations of natural ingredients, from seeds, roots, flowers, fruits, and leaves. Today, Jamu can still be purchased in some traditional markets and it made from mainly turmeric and ginger. Some extracts are manufactured as powder and can be conveniently brewed at home. Many Indonesian modern medicines are also based on Jamu ingredients and concept.
Asam in Bahasa Indonesia means sour, and that is exactly the flavor you want to expect when you try Kunyit Asam. It is part of a wider family of Jamu, a set of traditional herbal drinks. Kunyit Asam in particular can be served hot and cold.
Kunyit Asam is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammation, making it a healthy drink to try when you are visiting the country. It is a good drink for women too, since it nourishes the skin, eliminates body odor, helps burn more fat, and brings other health benefits.
Es Pisang Ijo
Es Pisang Ijo is a unique dessert from Makassar, South Sulawesi, but it can also be found in restaurants that serve dishes from Makassar in other parts of the country. The name “Pisang Ijo” translates to green banana, which is accurate considering the shape of this dessert.
Es Pisang Ijo is served cold with sugar, coconut milk, and shaved ice. Depending on where you try it, it is served on a bowl or a large glass. It is also very sweet, but not excessively so that you cringe every time you take a sip.
While Es Pisang Ijo is more exclusive to Makassar, Es Teler is its more universal version. Es Teler is native to some areas in Indonesia, but they each have their own version, and sampling them is a lot of fun. They are served with sugar, syrup, and shaved ice, but they may contain different ingredients.
Some versions are served with avocado and coconut. Others used a traditional jelly known as Cendol or Cincau, both of which are very tasty and will melt in the mouth. This too is a form of dessert that gets served in a bowl or a glass depending on where you get it.
We really cannot talk about traditional Indonesian drinks without talking about coffee, and there is no better coffee to try while visiting the country than Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak has a very unique, albeit rather strong, flavor that cannot be found in other coffee beans.
What produces that unique flavor is the Luwak – Civet Cat – eating coffee beans and digesting them. The digested coffee beans are then collected, cleaned, and roasted to perfection. 100% wild Kopi Luwak is what you want since the flavors are much more vibrant.
Bajigur, at least from the outside, looks a lot like a cup of cappuccino. It is served hot with cinnamon. Have a sip, however, and you will immediately notice the exciting flavor, and that it is not coffee. Bajigur is made from coconut milk, ginger, vanilla, and palm sugar.
When served hot, bajigur adds warmth to the stomach. You usually see fried or boiled cassava, boiled banana, or other traditional Sundanese snacks being served with the drink. Have an afternoon sipping Bajigur while enjoying the tropical weather, and you’ll never forget the moment.
Other drinks are just as exciting. You can try Temulawak, which is naturally carbonated due to the nature of Curcuma, its primary ingredient. Indonesia also has several traditional spirits like Arak Bali and Brem, all of which are worth a try. If you are planning a trip to the country, going hunting for the drinks we covered in this article must be in your itinerary.
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