If you find yourself in Bintan for a holiday, then like any other holiday, you must make it a point to enjoy its food as much as you can. There is, of course, a variety of Indonesian cuisines you can try when you’re in Bintan, but here are the five you simply must not miss out on. We’ll give you an overview of how they are made so you can better appreciate what you’ll be feasting on.
Gong gong (Sea Snails)
No Bintan trip is complete without having a meal at a local Bintan seafood restaurant. When you're there, be sure to order gong gong, which translates to sea snail in English. These sea creatures are boiled and then served with chilli sauce or other yummy sauces to dip them in. A simple but oh-so-satisfying dish, which may need some work on your end because you will need to pick out the snail meat with toothpicks. Still, definitely worth the effort!
Otak-otak is another snack that you should try in Bintan. Besides restaurants, you can usually find it sold in food courts or at roadside stalls. While not unique to just Indonesia, otak-otak is best when eaten at places close to the sea like Bintan, so that the core ingredient, which is fish or squid, is as fresh as it can be. The fish or squid is mixed together with tapioca/sago and spices, wrapped in banana leaf, and then grilled. This delicacy is usually served with seafood broth or a deliciously spicy peanut sauce, which when combined, form a flavourful explosion in your mouth.
Ikan Asam Pedas (Sour and Spicy Fish)
Many may be familiar with ikan asam pedas as it is also a popular dish in Peranakan cuisine, but that’s not surprising as the Riau Islands which Bintan is part of has a rich history that intermingles with that of Malaya in the past. This dish is made by cooking any kind of fish in a blend of aromatic spices such as bay leaves, garlic, turmeric, galangal and more as well as the star ingredients which give it the signature taste: tamarind and chilli. Pair this dish with a plate of fluffy white rice at any Bintan local restaurant, and you will have a meal that will make your tastebuds dance and your heart fill with joy.
Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish)
To continue with the Bintan seafood theme, ikan bakar is a worthy addition to this list. Made from a variety of fish which are marinated with a blend of spices which vary from cook to cook and then slow-grilled to perfection, ikan bakar is a great way to enjoy local Bintan cuisine while getting in a good amount of protein. Among the fish that are used in this recipe include rabbitfish, mackerel, catfish, carp, and so on. Some Bintan restaurants also offer ayam bakar (grilled chicken) as an option if you are tired of eating seafood.
Tapai is not the kind of food that everyone may enjoy, but this regional delicacy is popular as a snack in this area. The Indonesian version tastes slightly different from tapai in neighbouring countries as it can be made from cassava or rice and has a sweet yet astringent alcoholic taste. It’s made by fermenting the carbohydrate source with a starter culture, spices, sugar, and other natural flavourings for a few days. Some people love the taste but others don’t, and it’s only if you try it will you know which side you fall on.
There you have it, five fabulous Bintan food, seafood and more that you can note down to try in Bintan during your holiday. While you’re at it, why not also complete your stay by booking your accommodation with us at Club Med Bintan Island? If it’s food that’s your life’s passion, then you can definitely benefit from our all-day onsite dining options, which are all covered in the one all-inclusive price you pay. Our restaurants and bars will serve you tantalising food and drinks, including an unlimited supply of highly nutritious slow press juices, that will fulfil both your Bintan food and international cuisine cravings. Book now!