Ayam Addicted!

Chicken, known locally as ayam, is a very popular dish all over Indonesia, and is eaten with more regularity than duck (bebek), pork (babi), or fish (ikan). Interestingly, though, when it comes to ayam, each region of the country seems to have its own specialities and methods of cooking. Ayam can be used as part of a main course, added to a simple noodle dish, and sometimes even the bones can be eaten!

chicken2

On my travels around Indonesia, I can recall sitting on a rooftop terrace of my hotel in Yogyakarta and I could hear the chirping sounds of chickens, roosters, and cockerels nearby. Upon closer inspection, I realised that beneath me, just across the road, there were many of these birds being kept in small cages , presumably ready to be killed and cooked, but also there is the possibility they first would be used for cock fighting.

Bubur Ayam
Bubur Ayam

Bubur Ayam is a breakfast dish made with shredded chicken. Many Indonesians like to begin their day with this form of ayam!

Ayam Bakar
Ayam Bakar

Ayam Bakar is classic chargrilled chicken and is a very popular dish in Sumatra and Java. It is a slightly healthier option compared to ayam goreng (deep fried chicken). It is common to see Ayam Bakar being served up at warungs across Indonesia’s major cities.

Ayam Pelalah
Ayam Pelalah

Ayam Pelalah is a classic Balinese dish and is basically shredded chicken (that is not intended for breakfast). Unlike other more fulsome ayam meals listed here, Ayam Pelalah offers more of a stir fry option, or something to include with mixed rice.

Mie Ayam
Mie Ayam

Mie Ayam is a chicken noodle dish and this can be eaten at any time of the day. Originally a Chinese influence, now eaten all over the country. Often eaten with bakso.

Ayam Taliwang
Ayam Taliwang

Ayam Taliwang is a very spicy form of grilled chicken, that came to fame on the island of Lombok. During the cooking phase, the chicken is dipped in a spicy sauce of garlic, chili, and shrimp paste, and then additionally coated with sambal when served at the dinner table. Other areas of Indonesia have their own versions (like the original ayam bakar from Java), but they like it hot in Lombok!

Ayam Goreng
Ayam Goreng

Ayam Goreng is generic term for Indonesian fried chicken – usually as wings or drumsticks – and is probably the most popular chicken dish in South East Asia. Unlike fried chicken from other countries, Ayam Goreng lacks a lot of batter (sometimes has none), and is often coated in spices and sambal.

Ayam Tulang Lunak
Ayam Tulang Lunak

Ayam Tulang Lunak is native to the Yogyakarta area of Java. It is especially prepared and cooked so that it becomes so moist you can even eat the bones! It may look similar to other kinds of chicken, but the notoriety is all in the succulent softness! Eating the bones of ayam tulang lunak is known to increase calcium intake and it is completely safe.

Opor Ayam
Opor Ayam

Opor Ayam is a chicken curry of sorts, braised in coconut milk. The drumsticks are coated with the spicy curry and are usually eaten by hand. Sometimes called “Kari Ayam”.

Ayam Penyet
Ayam Penyet

Ayam Penyet is the ultimate smash and grab and is literally “smashed chicken” (with a mortar and pestle) and it can be served almost whole or in pieces! A fast food staple, this is very popular in Java, and it actually originated in the city of Surabaya.

Sate Ayam
Sate Ayam

Sate Ayam is chicken satay and is a very popular snack or street food all over Indonesia, and even in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines.

I have tried many variants of ayam myself, although regretfully some of them were in Singapore, so perhaps not truly authentic, but I still got enough of the taste of these mother cluckers to truly say that ‘ayam addicted’! But whatever ayam you try, don’t forget the sambal!

For more Indo food goodness, check out my previous post Indonesian Foodporn!

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9 thoughts on “Ayam Addicted!

      1. Ducks are easy to care for as well but Chickens are easier. I’m an American Chicken fancier no expert on Indonesia. I happen to have friends from all over the world who raise chickens for a hobby as well as a living. Many of my friends are from Indonesia. In the past most Americans had their own private flock of chickens they raised in their backyard just like people in Indonesia. Here in America there are large groups of people trying to save our endangered heritage chickens. We network with other groups all over the world that still have healthy heritage flocks. Factory farms are killing off all our old live/seed stock.

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      1. Yes. You miss Ayam Kalasan (fried chicken done Kalasan style), Ayam cabe ijo (fried chicken with green chilies), Nasi goreng ayam, Soto ayam. I believe there will be more lists but you’ve done a great job anyway documenting an interesting topic.

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