November 28, 2021


Is Food In You

An Introduction to East Nusa Tenggara’s Common Foods

7 min read

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Indonesia is popular for the wide range of its traditional food stuff, which is loaded in spices and flavors ranging from spicy, salty, savory, and sweet, which blend harmoniously to develop an appetizing aroma.

Nonetheless, spice-loaded common dishes are not usually found in the culinary culture of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province. But the style of regional foods from the japanese component of Indonesia is not any less delectable.

Ade Putri, a culinary storyteller who experienced accompanied movie star chef Gordon Ramsay on a taste experience in West Sumatra, shared her encounter on tasting NTT’s regular dishes. NTT’s regional food stuff has some exclusive features including incredibly minimum use of spices, she claimed.

NTT’s delicacies is special since it emphasizes the unique flavor of its elements, and it does not have a great deal of — just a reasonable volume of — seasoning, she additional.

Other than, the cooking procedure of NTT’s delicacies is fairly straightforward, she stated.

The men and women of NTT usually do not add as well a lot or a selection of spices to their food stuff, according to Renata Puji Sumedi Hangarawati, agroecosystem program manager at the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation.

“If they catch fish from the sea, they will not use a lot seasoning to prepare dinner the fish so they can love the sweet style of the fish meat. That’s due to the fact the fish is fresh new from the sea,” Hangarawati explained.

“For instance, their most loved menu … fish in bitter sauce, they only year the fish with a minimal bit of ginger, galangal, tomato, salt, and sliced lime leaves. The style is extraordinary,” she remarked.

In spite of small use of materials, there are truly quite a few food resources in the japanese portion of Indonesia, she reported.

The sample of balanced area food stuff consumption in NTT has come to be a custom, she added. The local foods resources are out there in mother nature and managed properly and continue to be wholesome, ranging from sources of carbohydrates, vegetable protein to land and sea animal protein, Hangarawati defined.

Together with modernization, on the other hand, the great routines of nutritious food use have begun to fade and transform to immediate food items usage, she said.

“We will need to assure persons in NTT that their community foodstuff is already superior and incredibly wholesome and invite them to return to consuming it,” Hangarawati remarked.

With some arranged socialization, she thinks that neighborhood farmers can carry on to plant regional food crops. In addition, other than staying ready to consume it by by themselves, farmers can also get additional economic profit from offering crops when individuals start out consuming area meals again, she reported.

With regards to regional foods elements, Indonesia has really numerous forms of food sources, Hangarawati explained. Every single area in the nation has its individual exceptional food items ingredients, she additional. As the circumstance in NTT, people today can discover the next five main meals substances.


In the latest years, sorghum has turn into one of the most well-known local food elements in NTT for its gluten-no cost nature, Hangarawati explained.

Sorghum is an historical cereal grain belonging to the grass spouse and children Poaceae. It truly is smaller, round, and typically white or yellow — though some versions are crimson, brown, black, or purple.

Ade Putri has been taking in sorghum for about a few many years in put of rice.

“Sorghum is also a higher-protein food items resource. People who have to consume plant-centered foods can get both of those protein and carbs from sorghum,” she explained.

“Its texture and taste are not a lot unique from rice. The cooking system is also the very same, you can also cook dinner it using a rice cooker. Only the sum of h2o is marginally diverse, but the recommended amount of drinking water is normally listed on the packaging. Not long ago, I tried out to make pancakes from sorghum flour,” she linked.

In NTT, there are quite a few versions of sorghum which are rich in fiber and can expand on dry land, she stated.

The existence of sorghum as a meals source in NTT are not able to be divided from local society, she observed. For instance, NTT’s Island of Ende has a custom named Ngoa Lolo ceremony for sorghum, she included.

“If the sorghum disappears, the ceremony will no for a longer time exist,” she remarked.

Sorghum has also been demonstrated to be great for wellbeing, so it is generally provided to sufferers in hospitals, this kind of as diabetic clients, simply because gluten-free sorghum is beneficial for decreasing blood sugar concentrations, she stated.

Nearby people today normally take in sorghum as a cereal. In addition, they also system sorghum flour as a cake component.

Apart from the grain eaten, sorghum stalks can be made use of to make sorghum sugar or fermented into soy sauce.


A different preferred nearby foods ingredient in NTT is Jewawut, which is a form of cereal with small seeds that was the moment the staple food items of the persons of East Asia and Southeast Asia ahead of rice cultivation grew to become known to them.

Jewawut (Foxtail millet) is not eaten as a substitute of rice by the folks of NTT, but fairly as a snack.

“I have tasted jewawut which is processed into some porridge. It tastes a little bit sweet. Ordinarily, jewawut porridge is eaten as a breakfast menu or afternoon snack,” reported Putri.

The style of jewawut itself is bland, so the remaining taste relies upon on how people system it by including spices or taste enhancers, such as sugar or salt, she stated.

Jewawut porridge is frequently utilized by the persons of NTT to restore the health and fitness of men and women who have just specified start, she pointed out. Usage of jewawut porridge immediately after providing beginning has come to be a custom that has been passed down from technology to generation, she pointed out.

“Every time somebody gave beginning, their relations would make jewawut porridge for her,” she stated.


NTT is the paradise of a lot of sorts of peanuts. NTT people today from time to time mix peanuts into veggies and rice or make treats with them, such as fried peanuts and boiled peanuts.

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There are many types of peanuts from diverse places in NTT. For occasion, there are inexperienced beans from East Flores, and diverse varieties of red beans — from Ende, Paleo, and East Flores — with a plain visual appeal or types that look like batik, Putri said.

Putri explained that she had tasted a food termed corn bose from NTT which appears to be like like peanut porridge.

“It only is made up of corn and various styles of peanuts with incredibly minimal salt included. What is highlighted is the unique taste of individuals peanuts. The form of the peanuts is even now noticeable, but the texture is not really hard, due to the fact it has been cooked for a extensive time,” she defined.

The individual who well prepared the dish also instructed me that he experienced experimented with fried batik peanuts, which at 1st glance glimpse like regular fried peanuts, but have a unique coloration and style, she said.

Moringa leaves

In some significant cities in NTT, moringa leaves have been broadly eaten for their excellent nutritional worth.

Moringa is really high in antioxidants, with a vitamin C content that is seven instances bigger than oranges. It also is made up of 15 situations far more potassium than bananas.

The men and women of NTT have been consuming moringa for a prolonged time because moringa trees prosper in the location.

Moringa is frequently used to treat malnutrition in kids. In fact, it has been applied in dealing with the high amount of stunting conditions in East Flores.

A community wellbeing centre in East Flores had even tried using to give added foods — in the kind of sorghum combined with moringa leaves and other veggies — to youngsters with extreme malnutrition.

The three-month supplementary foodstuff program had succeeded in rising the fat of stunted youngsters to a balanced level.

The method was then examined in quite a few other public wellbeing facilities, and afterwards on an more food campaign was established to promote the consumption of local foods combinations produced from moringa and sorghum.

This is crystal clear proof that community foods assets are useful to overcome overall health challenges faced by persons in the province.


As a beverage, coffee is a person of the leading merchandise in NTT. There are a lot of espresso making parts in NTT, a single of which is in the Manggarai district, Flores Island.


Drinking coffee at home for people of Manggarai has turn out to be a custom. Even so, in current years, the routine of consuming coffee has develop into an celebration for out of doors socializing in NTT.

NTT’s regional espresso products are now not only enjoyed at households, but also in cafés and coffee shops that are starting to grow rapidly there.

The excellent information is that the nearby governing administration has established a coverage for eating places and accommodations to offer community espresso to boost the opportunity of nearby products.

Manggarai district, which is the greatest coffee producer in NTT, after arranged a coffeepreneur plan that supplied young men and women with the information and capabilities to develop into baristas and make a organization strategy to open a espresso store.

“At present, several younger men and women in NTT want to turn out to be baristas. They also understand numerous items about coffee items, for illustration, in which it is developed, its varieties, and its each individual variety of cultivation,” claimed Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation’s Hangarawati.

In japanese Indonesia, such as in the province of East Nusa Tenggara, the foods component alone is the star of the dish so seasoning is saved extremely nominal.

The assortment of neighborhood meals in NTT undoubtedly mirror that Indonesia has an incredible wide range of standard cultures.