The Development of an Indonesian National Cuisine:
A Study of New Movement of Instant Foods and Local Cuisine

Michiko Kubo



Consisting of 17,000 islands Indonesia has more than 400 ethnic groups. The image of “Indonesian cuisine” is diverse, depending on where it is discussed or on what kind of food. The term “Indonesian cuisine” is not familiar to the Indonesian people and is rarely used among them. But what we call “Indonesian cuisine” does exist. What then is meant by “Indonesian cuisine,” in what situations is it discussed or where and how do people eat “Indonesian cuisine”?


This research focuses on two trends in Indonesian cuisine development: (1) the emergence and diffusion of Indonesian cuisine as an instant food, and (2) new trends in the development of Indonesian cuisine at the local level. Indonesia’s economic growth and urbanization have affected women’s awareness and values, bringing significant changes in their life styles. Accordingly, women are starting to look for ways to save household labor, and the demand for easy-to-prepare instant foods is on the increase. In urban areas, new trends are emerging with café-style restaurants that are now replacing “food stands,” which used to serve local dishes solely for migrant workers.


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Michiko KuboKubo Michiko graduated from the MA course in Asian Studies at Sophia University. She worked for 10 years at a school offering classes in Southeast Asian languages, cooking and dancing.  She supported the lecturers as an assistant, was involved in planning for the cooking courses, devised the recipes and took charge of food shopping.  The experience at the school inspired her interest in Southeast Asian food culture, which is the subject of her MA thesis, “Masakan Indonesia as a National Cuisine.”  At present, she organizes Thai and Indonesian cooking classes and has a column in serial form in an Indonesian restaurant newsletter.