Indonesian food is synonymous with sambal (chili sauce). It is incomplete for Indonesians to eat food without the addition of sambal. Therefore, there are various kinds of Indonesian chili sauces from each region. Here are various Indonesian chili sauces that are really distinctive. Which one is your favorite?

1. Sambal Bajak

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This one is easiest to find in East Java or Central Java. Although using the word ‘bajak’ (pirate), this kind of sambal has nothing to do with pirates. Many say the name was given because this sambal was once a menu served by the wives of farmers who were plowing the fields. The character of the chili sauce is sticky with spicy and sweet notes. Apart from the fact that it’s not too spicy, the sambal bajak is always served cooked and already sautéed.

2. Sambal Terasi

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Not everyone likes this type of chili sauce. The aroma of the chili paste is pungent for some people. But for those of you who really like shrimp paste, this chili sauce is certainly the one that you shouldn’t miss. As the name implies, the main ingredient of this chili is shrimp paste. When processed into chili sauce, the shrimp paste will be mashed with red chili, cayenne pepper, red onion, garlic, salt, Javanese sugar, and tomatoes to make it taste fresher.

3. Sambal Matah

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Sambal matah becomes a staple in Bali. The spicy taste of sambal matah is very pronounced because this chili sauce is not cooked, let the ingredients be raw. Red chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, salt, and oil are mixed together to make this Balinese sambal matah.

4. Sambal Dabu-dabu

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Manado’s signature dabu-dabu sauce is every spicy lover’s favorite. The appearance is not much different from the sambal matah because this chili sauce consists of various ingredients that are cut into pieces. The difference is, dabu-dabu sauce does not use lemon grass, shrimp paste, lime leaves, and garlic. The main ingredients are tomatoes, red cayenne pepper, shallots, salt, scallion stems, and lime. Sambal dabu-dabu is usually served by pouring it over dishes such as fish, chicken, or beef.

5. Sambal Roa

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One of the most favorite foods from Manado is roa. Different from other chili sauces, there is something special about this type of chili sauce, namely the presence of roa fish in it which adds to the extraordinary savory taste. To make sambal roa, smoked roa fish will usually be mashed with spices, tomatoes, and chilies. Because of its popularity, this chili sauce is now widely sold in bottles and can be obtained throughout the region.