Manado cuisine

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

Manado cuisine or Minahasan cuisine is the cooking tradition of the Minahasan people of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is popularly known as "Manadonese cuisine" after Manado, the capital of the province, although other cities in North Sulawesi, such as Bitung, Tomohon and Tondano are also known as Minahasan culinary hotspots. Manadonese cuisine is known for its rich variations in seafood, daring amount of spices, extra hot condiments,[1] exotic meats, and European-influenced cakes and pastries. Popular Manadonese dishes include: tinutuan (Manado-style vegetable 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 as widely distributed as Padang food and Sundanese cuisine, there is increasing awareness of Manadonese cuisine in the Indonesian cuisine scene. Numbers of Manadonese restaurants are growing in Indonesian cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya and Makassar.

Traditions and influences

Papaya flower bud cooked as vegetables
Chicken rica-rica

Manadonese cuisine is marked by a mixture of native and foreign influences. Native Minahasan cooking tradition relies heavily on seafood as well as exotic bushmeats, and its heavy use of freshly chopped hot spices. It 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. A significant number of Minahasans are Christians, hence the halal dietary law has not played an important role in the cuisine's development as it has in the Minahasans' Muslim neighbors on the Sulawesi island (the Gorontalos and Northern Maluku people). Subsequently, pork, wild boar, and even dog meat and bat is more ubiquitous in Manadonese cuisine compared to other culinary traditions in the Indonesian archipelago.


Hot and spicy dabu-dabu condiment

Manadonese cuisine is well known for its generous use of spices, sometimes making up more than half of the whole dish's ingredients. It has given the cuisine the reputation of being hot and spicy, often from the freshly chopped chili peppers added in. Common spices used in Manadonese cuisine include lemongrass, lime or citrus leaves, lime juice, chili peppers, spring onion, shallots, garlic and candlenut. Seafood, pork and chicken are often cooked in Manadonese signature bumbu (spice blends), such as 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 prestigious to consume rare and unusual meats. The marketplaces of the mountainous town of Tomohon and Tondano are notorious for selling various kinds of exotic bushmeats; from wild boar, field rats, patola snake (python), frog legs, paniki or fruit bats, to cat and dog meat. Sometimes protected endangered animals such as yaki (Sulawesi black macaque), kuse (slow loris), tapir and anoa are 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. A number of European-influenced cakes and pastries made their way into the Minahasan kitchen. The most notable probably is klappertaart (from Dutch language, lit. coconut tart). 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)
  2. Fitri Prawitasari (17 September 2013). "Mereka Terkaget-kaget di Pasar Tomohon..." (in Indonesian). Retrieved 29 March 2014.
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