Indonesia — a vast archipelago often called the Spice Islands — sits at the crossroads of many cultures. Indian, Chinese, Malay, Dutch, Portuguese — all these culinary traditions have influenced the cooking of Indonesia. From snowy mountains to steamy rainforest, Indonesian cuisine is marked by a use of bold spices and herbs, the calming creaminess of coconut milk and the sweet touch of palm sugar.
Rice is the most common starch in Indonesia, supplemented by a variety of rice and wheat noodles. A variety of vegetables are simmered in stews or tossed in cooling salads. Mild and spicy sauces, called sambals, add flavor to most dishes.