The family is very important in Indonesia. The father is the head of the family, he is in charge and all other family members must show him respect. In some families it is normal for the father to eat first and the mother last. Nevertheless, women do have power within the family, even if it often doesn’t appear to be so. For many people, the family is the last resort when something goes wrong. In a country where many people have no pension or health insurance, where natural disasters threaten and volcanoes can erupt at any time, you have to be able to rely on each other.
Rich and poor – a land of contrasts
The economy in Indonesia is growing. Some people live in expensive houses or apartments, go shopping in shopping centers and buy almost the same products there that you can buy from us. They use smartphones, work with modern computers, drive big cars and spend their vacations in expensive hotels. But these are only a few. The difference between rich and poor people is growing in Indonesia. So many people are waiting for a job, the administration is bribed and the expansion of the country such as the construction of roads or schools should be given more support. Many people have to get by on a daily wage of the equivalent of 1.50 euros. You might get that much in pocket money. Young people in particular have the problem of finding work.
Life in slums and on the streets
Poor people often live in slums in the country’s major cities. These are “residential areas” in which there are usually no real houses at all, just tin huts. There is no clean water, no toilets and often enough a slum looks like a garbage dump here. Some children also no longer have a home and live on the streets. Sometimes parents send their children out on the streets when they are in great need so that they can make a living and earn some money.
It is estimated that 40,000 children are homeless in Indonesia, a country located in Asia according to prozipcodes, so they have no home. 11,000 of them live in the capital Jakarta alone. The reasons for being homeless are different: some children no longer have parents and do not know where to go. Often only life remains on the street. Sometimes the children are also sent out on the streets to support the family, even if the parents are still alive.
Eating in Indonesia
Rice should not be missing in Indonesian cuisine. There is also meat, fish or vegetables and – very important – various spices. Bami Goreng with noodles and Nasi Goreng with rice are particularly typical dishes. Crab chips, lamb with peanut sauce, and fried chicken are also popular. The neighboring countries of China and India had a great influence on Indonesia’s cuisine. The influence of the Dutch, who ruled Indonesia as a colony for over 350 years, must not be forgotten. In some areas where rice cannot be grown, people also eat cassava or yams.
Since many Indonesians are Muslims, they do not eat pork. Restaurants that prepare food in accordance with Muslim traditions are referred to as halal by Muslims. Instead of pork, chicken is on the menu. Coconut milk is also popular. Or with a special spice paste that consists of shrimp and that gives off a smell that non-Indonesians take getting used to.
Different island – different food!
The different regions of Indonesia also cook very differently. In Sumatra, the cooks also like to use very hot spices. The cuisine in Java is not so hot, but a little milder. Suckling pig is a specialty in Bali. Sometimes it is still roasted in the traditional way on a skewer over a campfire.
A bit of everything
Often different dishes are served at the same time and there is rice. A large table with different types of meat and vegetables is served. Everyone can try it. Since the meat is usually cut very small before cooking, knives are not necessary. Most of it can be eaten with a fork. Traditionally, people still like to eat with their hands in the country.