Primary food In Indonesia

by Cindy Dewi

Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands which are scattered around over both sides of the equator. However, many of the small islands remain uninhabited because of their location and lack of food or the land was infertile. The five main islands are basically Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java, New Guinea (Irian Jaya) and Sulawesi. Mainly, their primary food is rice, but some of the areas of the country have their own primary food following their old traditional way of eating.

A primary food is the food that provides our body with the basics of nutrition. However, eating only the primary food does not give us all the nutrients the body needs and therefore primary foods are usually eaten with other food such as meat, egg, and vegetables. Eating only the primary food in the long run might result in malnutrition as our body does not get enough nutrition needed daily by the body. Therefore, many people in Indonesia who are poor and unable to buy the side dishes such as meat and vegetables are suffering from malnutrition, and according to the news, malnutrition is the cause of many deaths in Indonesia.

Some example of primary food in Indonesia:
  • Beras(Rice): 90% of Indonesians eat rice as their primary food. Rice is rich in complex carbohydrates which means that it contains starch and fiber. Complex carbohydrate are good for our body as it is digested slowly, allowing the body to utilize the energy released by the carbohydrates slowly and thus it was nutritionally efficient making us feel full for a longer period of time. Rice also contain protein, B vitamins, some fats and insoluble fiber that help to prevent constipation. Furthermore, rice is also gluten free which means that it can be digested easily and thus is a good food resource for the elderly and babies.
  • Gandum(Wheat): Wheat consist of mainly carbohydrate, dietary fiber, protein, some fat and iron. Wheat contain gluten which might danger people with celiac disease. Wheat are commonly used to make bread, noodle and pasta. It can also used to make the fermentation of alcohol. It is insoluble in water and wheat too is complex carbohydrate which also good for our digestive system.
  • Jagung(Corn or Maize): Corn is the major source of starch. Corn is mainly used for corn oil, maize flour, and it can also be used to make beer and whiskey. Corn is the primary food for the people in Madura and Nusa Tenggara. Corn is also a primary food in countries and regions such as America and Europe, too.
  • Sagu(Sago)- Sago contains a lot of starch, it can be made into food such as white bread and noodles. Sago is mainly eaten in New Guinea (Irian Jaya) and Mollucas (Maluku). Indonesian people saw that people that ate sago had a lower standard of living compared to those who eat rice.
  • These are the main primary food eaten by Indonesian people. Other primary food that are eaten in other countries such as potato, cassava, yam, bread, noodle. All these primary foods listed above can be eaten in other countries too, except Indonesia. Different foods eaten depend on the tradition and the location too. For example, hunter-gatherer peoples such as Eskimo people (when they were living their traditional ways), have as a primary food meat and fish.


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