Distinctively Batak elements of the dish are the use of torch ginger fruit ('asam cikala'), and 'andaliman' (Indonesian szechuan pepper). Common Indonesian spices such as shallots, garlic, ginger, fresh turmeric root and chili are also used.
Andaliman, essential for the distinctive taste of the dish, is known to grow only in the Batak highlands above 1500 metres of North Tapanuli and Samosir, hence this dish is regarded as specifically of the Batak Toba and Mandailing, who dwell in these areas.
Other Main Ingredient
Besides goldfish, marine fish such as bloating and snapper, and meat can also be used as arsik. In general, materials that are widely used meat is pork.