Foods to Try in Raja Ampat
After a day of diving in the incredible reefs of Raja Ampat, nothing is better than enjoying the local cuisine the area has to offer. While the site is not known for cultivating much of its produce, the local communities have perfected what they have available to make delicious homemade meals. Here are a few of our favorites you should try while in the area.
Fresh BBQ fish.
The majority of the local people are avid fishermen and will come home with the freshest fish possible. This fish is prepared on the grill using local spices and roots to give the fish a smoked and crispy outer layer while the inner meat is soft and will melt in your mouth.
The fish is usually served with a rice dish and local green herbs as a side. For those who like spicier food, sample the local sambal served on the side, a sweet chilli sauce. That brings the whole meal together.
While Raja Ampat is not known for big towns or vibrant restaurant areas, the capital of Waisai is home to numerous small restaurants that serve a selection of seafood dishes that are a must to visit. One of the best to sample is the crispy calamari. In contrast, this dish is not traditional or regional in any way. The quality of the calamari is out of this world. Crispy batter encases the most tender calamari tubes you will ever eat and melts in your mouth like butter.
With the need to diversify the food available to tourists who visit the Last Paradise on Earth, there has been a fusion of cuisines available in Waisai. One fusion that stands out is the influence of Asian cuisine, specifically noodles. Making use of the local herbs and spices known to them, restaurant owners have an incredible of noodle-based dishes on offer that perfectly accompany the selection of seafood that is usually on offer. Our personal favourite is the flat noodle with egg—the perfect comfort food after a day of diving.
No one should visit Raja Ampat without sampling the local spin on the traditional Indonesian Satay. Skewers of flame-grilled meat, chicken, or fish. Most common in the Raja Ampat is chicken and fish.
The meat is marinaded in kecap manis, a sweet syrupy soy sauce, and other spices, such as lemongrass and turmeric, before being grilled to perfection. These skewers are often served with Tempe, green herbs and beans, and a savory peanut sauce. A combination of flavours that blend perfectly together.
Martabak, a stuffed pancake, is a dessert enjoyed all over the Middle East and Asia. But Papua is known for its unique take on the recipe. A commonly used ingredient in daily cooking in the region is sago. The local take on the sweet treat combines sago and brown sugar to create a fluffy sponge-like texture for the pancake that is layered with various fillings, including chocolate and nuts. There is also a savory version of the sago martabak, where the filling will most often include egg and pieces of meat.
One of the best sweet treats you could ever enjoy. While not many fruits grow naturally in the region, Raja Ampat provides some of the sweetest, tastiest bananas you can imagine. Although slightly smaller than you might be used to picking up at your grocery store. These little bananas are cut in half and fried over a fire in a cast iron pan with a bit of brown sugar to caramelise and give a crunchy texture to the fruit. These treats can be bought on many small islands that make up the Raja Ampat islands and are the perfect snack between dives to keep energy levels high.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.