Header image courtesy of 七彩蝦片 (OpenRice)
As the world’s largest archipelago and one of the most populous and ethnically diverse countries, Indonesia presents a stunning variety of regional cuisines. Although dishes like nasi goreng, gado-gado, and satay have come to stand for Indonesian food in the global imagination, it’s difficult to pin down any unifying logic to the cuisine, which has been shaped by crisscrossing legacies of trade, migration, and colonialism over centuries. And that’s part of what makes it all the more interesting to explore and unpack.
Largely owing to the swelling demand for foreign domestic help, there’s a sizable Indonesian population in Hong Kong. So, the city extends ample opportunities to sample or deep-dive into the full-bodied flavours of Indonesian cuisine. Here are our top picks for where to find the best Indonesian restaurants in Hong Kong.
Getting a nod from the Michelin Guide is no easy feat, but Lucky Indonesia does it without missing a beat. A neighbourhood stalwart with some of the kindest service, it has been awarded the Bib Gourmand for seven years straight. The Mee Goreng ($68) and Nasi Kuning ($68), seasoned with turmeric, ginger, and coconut milk, caught the inspectors’ attention, but don’t gloss over the rest of the menu—it’s replete with simple, well-prepared Central Javanese fare. For unadulterated coastal bliss, try the Pepes Ikan ($88), fish marinated in aromatic spices and herbs, and cooked in banana leaves. The classical dessert-drink Es Cendol ($30)—coconut milk mixed with palm sugar syrup and green rice flour jelly—is top-notch, too.
Lucky Indonesia, 46 Tung Ming Street, Kwun Tong
More often than not, you can find uncannily delicious food waiting at the end of a couple of dimly lit staircases inside a tumbledown building. And this is certainly true for Warung Malang Club. Popular among the office crowds for their convenient lunch sets (starting from $55) featuring the likes of beef rendang and fried tempeh, the offerings here are halal, affordable, and reliably tastebud-searing—they don’t temper the spice level for anyone. Ignore the “members-only” sign because Warung Malang is open to all. You can also order from them on Foodpanda.
Warung Malang Club, 2/F, Dragon Rise Building, 9 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay
Rounding the corner into Causeway Bay’s Sugar Street, the first thing you’re likely to spot is Kampoeng’s glass display brimming with sundry fried treats and vibrant-hued Lapis (starting from $7), a Dutch-influenced layer cake. Head downstairs for the restaurant, where dishes like the Bebek Penyet ($70), a fried duck with raw chilli sambal, and Nasi Campur (starting from $68) shine. There’s also a wide variety of shaved ice concoctions to choose from for dessert. If you’re feeling like dining at home, Kampoeng is available for delivery on Foodpanda and Deliveroo as well.
Kampoeng Fusion Restaurant, B/F, Causeway Bay Commercial Building, 1–5 Sugar Street, Causeway Bay
Located right next door to Kampoeng opposite an Indonesian grocery store, Pandan Leaf offers up a vast menu of explicitly pandan-forward foods. Here, the focus is on interpreting the Indonesian-Chinese blended cuisine of Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. Familiar items like Beef Rendang ($88) and Nasi Lemak ($88) are served with green-tinted pandan rice, while the Fish Maw Soup ($94) with wide rice noodles, modelled after the herbal soups of the region, comes with pandan-flavoured chicken. For an elaborate dessert, pick the Es Shanghai ($50)—a shaved ice cooler garnished with syrups and jellies in bright technicolour. You can find Pandan Leaf offering delivery on Foodpanda and UberEats and self-collection on Ritual.
Pandan Leaf, Shop B2, G/F, Causeway Bay Commercial Building, 1–5 Sugar Street Causeway Bay
When you find yourself craving some yardbird, avoid the fast-food chains and dodgy colonels and head straight to halal-certified Ria, formerly known as Ayam Penyet Ria. Both the Ayam Cabe Ijo ($58) and Ayam Penyet ($53) offer delectable, crispy-skinned chicken along with sides of tempeh goreng, cucumber, and lettuce. The only difference is in the type of relish: The former comes with smashed green chillies, while the latter features the more ubiquitous red chilli sambal. Although this spot is fairly under the radar, the fried chicken here is tremendous—it’s among the very best in Hong Kong. Find them online on Foodpanda as well.
Ria Indonesian Restaurant, Shop 5, G/F, The Grandeur, 48 Jardine’s Crescent, Causeway Bay
Awarded “The Plate” distinction by the Michelin Guide, Kaum offers diners an artful gastronomic tour. The team behind Kaum took the time to travel across Indonesia to learn about indigenous cooking methods, ingredients, and flavours found in the diverse communities that make up the nation. With a selection of small and big plates charting routes from North Sulawesi to South Sumatra, onto Bali and beyond, Kaum is best enjoyed in a larger party. Don’t miss the section dedicated solely to sambal (starting from $30), the spicy relish without which your meal would be incomplete. Delivery orders are available via Deliveroo.
Kaum by Potato Head, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun
With palm trees and rattan lamps, the tropical vibe at IR 1968 (formerly known as Indonesia Restaurant 1968) feels a little bit cliché, but the restaurant comes through on the food front. Signature items include the Seafood Laksa ($88), Beef Shank Rendang ($88), and Lidah Semur ($88) or braised ox tongue coated in a rich Javanese gravy fragrant with black pepper and cloves. The dishes are prepared thoughtfully and the effects of the spices more deeply felt: Instead of striking from the front, the bold flavours unfold leisurely on the palate. If you’re opting to dine at home, IR 1968 delivers via Foodpanda as well.
IR 1968, 5/F, The L.place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central
While there’s no shortage of stalls in Hong Kong to cater to your street food whims and fancies, satay is generally harder to come by. However, if it’s authentic satay you’re craving, look no further than Indonesian Sate House in Shau Kei Wan, the original location, which has been doling out skewers for years.
Bathed in a spicy-sweet peanut sauce, there’s a variety of meats and seafood on offer (all priced under $21): beef, chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp, squid, and more. Don’t panic if you can’t read the bilingual Chinese and Bahasa Indonesia menu—the server speaks English too, and most everything is delicious. You can order their skewers online via Foodpanda as well.
Located near the mythic Golden Computer Centre, AMIN serves up a concise menu of halal Indonesian Chinese food. Apart from Nasi Rendang ($52), the most popular item here is Bakmi Singkawang ($38)—in essence, a bowl of noodles with toppings.
This dish tells a story of migration uniquely compelling for Hong Kong diners: The bakmi (wheat-based “meat noodles”) are of Fujianese provenance and is said to have first been brought to the Indonesian archipelago by Hokkien immigrants. Consequently, the trimmings may feel more and less familiar: char siu, fish balls, dumplings, and krupuk (deep-fried crackers).
AMIN Indonesian Restaurant, 57 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po
Although Causeway Bay is widely considered the foremost Indonesian hub island-side, Kowloon has its own Little Indonesia. Fuk Wa Street in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong’s culinary hotspot, is home to a cluster of Indonesian businesses bursting with activity come Sunday.
Less than a minute away from MTR Exit B between 115 and 117 Fuk Wa Street, opposite two Indonesian grocery stores and a counter for remittance services, you’ll see a nook between shop numbers 107 and 115. Step in, and behold the mini complex of Indonesian stores. Kopi sachets, karipap, assorted fritters, and modestly priced yet generously portioned meals—you can find it all here. Walk around, be curious, and take your pick.