Indonesian Language Blog

Gado-Gado Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Wherever you are in Indonesia, there are some common dishes that you’ll find. One ubiquitous Indonesian dish is gado-gado. The name literally means “mix-mix,” a fitting name for a dish that’s basically a mixed salad topped with peanut sauce. It’s thought to originally be a Sundanese dish, and it’s still very popular in West Java along with the rest of the country. Let’s learn about this classic Indonesian dish, starting out with the ingredients.



Mmmm… gado-gado.

The great thing about gado-gado is that it can be made many different ways. Different places use different ingredients and seasoning, but it’s always some mixture of vegetables, the peanut sauce, and maybe some rice or krupuk (crackers) on the side. Here are the common ingredients you’ll see in gado-gado, in Indonesian and English:

  • kentang – potato

  • tahu – tofu

  • tempe – tempeh

  • kol – cabbage

  • ketimun – cucumber

  • taoge – sprouts

  • daun selada – lettuce

  • kacang hijau – green beans

  • bayam – spinach

  • telur rebus – boiled egg

  • bumbu kacang – peanut sauce

The vegetables are mostly blanched or lightly boiled. Tempeh or tofu are usually fried, while the cucumber is typically sliced and served fresh. While the vegetables and eggs are obviously important, the star of gado-gado is without a doubt the peanut sauce. Here are the basic ingredients that go into making it:

  • kacang – peanuts

  • kecap manis – sweet soy sauce

  • gula merah – brown sugar

  • bawang putih – garlic

  • terasi – shrimp paste

  • santan – coconut milk

  • garam – salt

  • air jeruk – lime juice

  • cabai – chillies

  • saus ikan – fish sauce

  • jus asam – tamarind juice

One reason that gado-gado can’t really be called a salad is because the sauce is more of a key ingredient. It’s not like salad dressing that you just add a bit of. Rather, it’s quite liberally used. Thanks to the sauce, gado-gado manages to be a bit sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time!


While you can find gado-gado just about anywhere you go in Indonesia, it might be a bit harder to find outside of the country. If you know of an Indonesian restaurant, chances are they have gado-gado. If not, you can try and make it at home yourself! Here’s a great recipe from Jamie Oliver. For some help with the recipe, follow this YouTube video from him:

If you’re up for the challenge you can follow this one in Indonesian. Practice your listening skills and cook while you learn in this video from Masak.TV:

Have you ever had gado-gado? What did you think of it? Leave a comment and let us know!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.