Manado cuisine

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Examples of Manado dishes
Bobara kuah asam, trevally in sour soup

Manado cuisine or Minahasan cuisine is the cooking tradition of Minahasan people of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is popularly known as "Manado cuisine" after Manado city, the capital of the province, although other cities in North Sulawesi, such as Bitung, Tomohon and Tondano are also known as Minahasan culinary hotspots. Manado cuisine is known for its rich variations in seafood, daring amount of spices, extra hot condiment,[1] exotic meats, and European-influenced cakes and pastries. Manado food hallmark among others are; tinutuan (Manado style vegetables and rice congee), cakalang fufu (smoked skipjack tuna), cakalang noodle, paniki (spiced fruit bat), chicken or various fish/seafood spiced in rica-rica or woku spices, chicken tuturuga, and brenebon.

Although not as popular and widely distributed as Padang food and Sundanese cuisine, today Manado cuisine has gained popularity in Indonesian cuisine scene. Numbers of Manado restaurants has been established in Indonesian cities, such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya and Makassar.

Traditions and influences

Papaya flower bud cooked as vegetables
Chicken rica-rica

Manado cuisines are marked by mixture of native and foreign influences. Native Minahasan cooking tradition rely heavily on seafood as well as exotic bushmeats, and also their preference on freshly chopped hot spices. Yet sometimes they also demonstrates Chinese and European influences (especially Portuguese and Dutch), most prominent in their soup, cake and pastry delicacies.

Chicken and beef are commonly consumed. Yet, unlike most of Indonesians, Minahasans are Christians, they did not share the halal dietary law like their Muslim neighbours (the Gorontalos and Northern Maluku people) do. Subsequently pork, wild boar, and even exotic meats such as dog meat and bat are normally consumed.


Hot and spicy dabu-dabu condiment

Manado cuisine is well known for their generous amount of spices that sometimes takes more than a half of the whole dish ingredients. Their preference to extremely hot and spicy food, made from freshly chopped chili peppers and other ingredients is also notorious. The spices that commonly used in Minahasan cuisine include lemongrass, lime or citrus leaves, lime juice, chili peppers, spring onion, shallots, garlic and candlenut. Seafood (fishes), pork and chicken are often cooked in several Manado signature bumbu (mixture of spices), such rica-rica and woku. Spicy condiments are also served as dipping sauce for seafood, such as dabu-dabu and sambal roa.


Cakalang fufu, cured and smoked skipjack tuna

Minahassa Peninsula – the northern arm of Sulawesi, a narrow peninsula that formed the North Sulawesi and Gorontalo provinces – are surrounded by seas in almost all sides. Minahasan people that inhabit the area have been harvesting the bounty of seas since a long time ago, therefore seafood is popular and almost become a staple diet. The Sulawesi Sea and Maluku Sea, and Gulf of Tomini are teeming with marine life. The harbor cities of Manado and Bitung are the center of fishing industry in the area. Actually, the whole eastern provinces of Indonesia, from Sulawesi to Maluku archipelago, are famous for their seafood. Various seafood such as cakalang (skipjack tuna), tude (mackerel), oci (larger mackerel), tuna, albacore, bobara (trevally), kakap (red snapper), kerapu (garoupa), tenggiri (wahoo), bawal (pomfret), shrimp, mussels and crabs are available in marketplace, and often being grilled on charcoal, and served in dabu-dabu condiment; cooked in woku or rica-rica spice, or in kuah asam soup.

Exotic meats

Paniki, fruit bat in spicy bumbu rica-rica green chili pepper

Minahasan people are also known for their bushmeats tradition. Before converting to Christianity in early 16th to 17th century, Minahasans were animists, and their practice on consuming almost every kind of animal still continued until this days. Rintek wu'uk or RW (lit. Minahasan: "fine hair") is euphemism of dog meat. In Minahasan culture it is considered a prestige on consuming a rare and unusual meat. The marketplaces of mountainous town of Tomohon and Tondano are notorious on selling various kinds of exotic bushmeats; from wild boar, field rats, patola snake (python), frog legs, paniki or fruit bats, to cat’s and dog’s meat. Sometimes even protected endangered animals such as yaki (Sulawesi black macaque), kuse (slow loris), tapir and anoa were illegally sold in marketplace as food.[2]

Cakes and pastries

Klappertaart or coconut custard

Among Indonesian ethnicities, Minahasans are well known for their affinities with European culture. Numbers of European-influenced cakes and pastries had made their way into Minahasan kitchen. The most notable probably is klappertaart (from Dutch language, lit. coconut tart), demonstrates the adoption of European cake and pastry techniques that uses locally available ingredients such as coconut. Another example is panada, a Portuguese-influenced pan (bread) filled with spiced ground skipjack tuna.

List of dishes



A bowl of warm brenebon soup.


See also


  1. Pingkan Elita Dundu/Neli Triana (Mon, 11 Maret 2013). "Selekta Rasa dalam Masakan Manado" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 29 March 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Fitri Prawitasari (17 September 2013). "Mereka Terkaget-kaget di Pasar Tomohon..." (in Indonesian). Retrieved 29 March 2014. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links