Delicious Indonesian dishes


Because I love cooking almost as much as I love photography, I thought it would be a good idea to combine those passions and take some photos of my favourite dishes. The food I like to cook the most is that of the Indonesian cuisine. This cuisine is not so familiar as, for example, the Italian cuisine, so let me first give you a short introduction:

Indonesian cuisine

Indonesia is a country of over six thousand populated islands and its diverse cuisine contains over five thousand traditional recipes. The colourful Indonesian dishes are full of spices and have an intense and unique flavour.

The Dutch history with Indonesia goes back centuries, as the country was colonised in the early 17th century after trading expeditions in 1595. The Dutch East Indies were a colony until its independence in 1949, after which many former colonials returned to The Netherlands.

These colonials brought with them the colonial cuisine and traditions, of which one is the most notable; rijsttafel (rice table). The rice table can be compared with the Spanish tapas and consists of seven to forty dishes from across the colony.

Preparing Indonesian dishes is time-consuming and involves not only spices of all kinds, but also lots of traditional cookware and kitchen utensils. To prepare a proper rice table, Indonesians can spend two or three days in the kitchen.

Cooking with fresh ingredients and traditional spices is very important and that is why I like the Indonesian cuisine so much. Apart from that I love the colours of the dishes and that is why I decided to give it a shot – literally – and see if I can take some photos of some dishes I prepared.

Setup and result

Like I mentioned before, the Indonesian dishes are time-consuming, making it practically impossible for me to take photos of the end result in natural light during the week. This made me depend on artificial light, for which I used the Nikon SB700 with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-lite soft box.

Setting up the flash and reflector opposite from the flash was new for me, so I experimented a bit with the setup, but I have to say that I am satisfied with the end results.

The first photo is a recipe called sambal goring bunics (green beans with tomato, red chilli and cocos) and was shot at 1/80s, f/8, ISO1600:


The second photo is a recipe called rempah (spiced minced beef with cocos), combined with sateh sauce (peanut sauce) and serundeng (roasted peanuts, cocos and spices). This photo was also shot at 1/80s, f/8, ISO1600:


To see more of my food photography, check out my food portfolio.

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