Indonesian Cuisine and Cooking Classes at Lembeh Resort

Explore the aromatic flavors and vibrant spices of Indonesian cuisine through our cooking classes. Indonesian cuisine is no exception, with each province offering its own selection of local specialties. Indulge in classic dishes like Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, Gado Gado, Soto Ayam, and Satay, and learn the secrets behind their preparation. Discover the art of creating delicious Indonesian dishes and add a dash of culinary expertise to your repertoire. Join our cooking classes and embark on a flavorful journey through the rich traditions of Asian cuisine.

Satay ayam

Indonesian satay is barbecued chicken, pork, beef or fish served with peanut sauce

Indonesian Cuisine in North Sulawesi

In North Sulawesi, Indonesian classics are widely available alongside Manadonese specialties. Traditional North Sulawesi dishes often feature fresh fish or pork as well as coconut, chili, lemon grass, ginger and garlic. North Sulawesi is well known for having the spiciest (hottest) dishes in Indonesia but most dishes can be made either mild, medium or hot.

Manadonese cooking

Manadonese dishes incorporate a blend of herbs and spices – and of course, chili peppers!

The word for spicy / hot in Indonesia is “Pedas” and dishes can be ordered “tidak pedas” (not spicy), “pedas” (spicy) or “pedas sekali” (very spicy). Dishes are also served with a range of “sambals” which are Indonesian chili sauces which allow diners to add extra spice to their dish as desired. In Indonesia there are over 700 different types of sambal which include cooked and raw sambals, tomato based, garlic based, chili based and even fish or shrimp paste based. Sambal making in Indonesia is a culinary art all of it’s own.


Cooking classes in Lembeh

Learn about Indonesian Cuisine in our Cooking Classes

A great way to learn more about Indonesian cuisine is to join one of our cooking classes while you are here in resort. We also offer you the opportunity to go to the market in the morning with our staff to buy the ingredients and this is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in North Sulawesi culture. We can almost guarantee that you will find produce at the market that you have never seen before – and our staff love explaining about the different fruits and vegetables and how to prepare them.

Bitung traditional market

Shopping at the traditional market in Bitung will give you an insight into the way of life in North Sulawesi

The morning markets in Bitung are hubs of activity and if you want to improve your bargaining skills this is the place to do it. We aim to leave Lembeh Resort at 5.30am so we can arrive in time for the fish market and select the best from the day’s catch – fish doesn’t get any fresher than this. After the fish market we make our way to Bitung’s traditional market to buy vegetables, herbs, spices and other groceries before heading back to Lembeh Resort.

Fish Market

Fish from Bitung fish Market is fresh from the ocean

During your cooking class you’ll learn about traditional Indonesian cooking techniques and you’ll try them out for yourself as you prepare either 2 or 3 dishes alongside our Resort Chef. Here are some of our favorite dishes to prepare during classes:
Soto Makassar – A traditional soup from South Sulawesi with lemongrass, ginger, coconut oil and peanuts.
Soto Ayam – The most traditional of Indonesian soups, made with kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, coriander candlenut, rice noodles, egg and chicken.
Soto Laksa – A delicious, rich coconut cream soup with lemon-basil, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, chicken and noodles.

Cooking in Lembeh

Indonesian cooking techniques include grinding herbs and spices with a pestle and mortar

Nasi Goreng – Traditional Indonesian fried rice with kecap manis, bok choy, garlic, celery and chicken.
Babi Buluh – A true Lembeh Resort favorite; lemongrass and chili spiced pork baked in bamboo.
Rendang Sapi – This rich, slow cooked beef curry is one of the most popular dishes throughout Indonesia, the slow cooking guarantees incredibly tender meat.
Pepes Ikan – Fresh fillet of tuna roasted in a banana leaf with aromatic Indonesian spices.

Cooking chicken laksa

Chicken laksa is a rich coconut cream soup which reflects the flavors of Asia

As well as preparing the main dishes, our chef will also help you to make one of our famous sambals as an accompaniment.
After a morning of preparation and cooking your efforts will be rewarded at lunch time as you sit down to enjoy the dishes you have prepared! You’ll also take away with you our Lembeh Resort recipe booklet and a selection of local spices of your choice.

Cooking Indonesian cuisine

Indonesian dishes are always served with a sambal – a traditional Indonesian chilli sauce

Are your taste buds tingling? Our cooking classes can be booked in advance of your stay or while you are here in resort – one day’s notice is required.
Do you want to try out some Indonesian cooking from home? Why not create a beautiful Beef Rendang using our recipe and enjoy one of Indoensia’s most famous dishes.

Beef Rendang Recipe


Cooking class

Beef Rendang is one of Indonesia’s most famous curries which can be made mild, medium or hot.

Prep Time – 30 minutes
Cook Time – 3 hours
Total Time – 3.5 hours
Servings: 2.5kg


Ingredients (A)

  • 1kg beef
  • 600ml coconut cream
  • 100ml vegetable oil

Ingredients (B)- to blend

  • 4candlenuts
  • 12cloves chopped garlic
  • 300g red chili , (Serrano chili/pepper)
  • 250g onions
  • 50g ginger
  • 50g galangal
  • 25g ground turmeric or 50g of fresh turmeric
  • 1½tsp ground coriander
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 4green cardamom pods
  • 11/2tsp cumin seeds
  • 10cloves

Ingredients (C)- Seasonings and Spices

  • 4stalks lemongrass , bashed
  • 3kaffir lime leaves
  • 1piece asam keeping (Lime juice can be used if not available)
  • 2turmeric leaves, tied up


  1. Cut the beef into 4 cm squares, half cm thick. Do not cut the beef too small as the meat can break into smaller pieces during cooking.
  2. Blend all the ingredients in (B), set the blend aside.
  3. Remove the green section and the outer sheath of the lemongrass. Use only the white portion. Bash / crush them so that the lemongrass to ensure the release of the flavor.
  4. Heat up the vegetable oil in a wok. Sauté the spice paste (B) over low heat until aromatic.
  5. Add the coconut cream, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, asam keeping (or lime juice) and lemongrass into the wok.
  6. Add the beef and cook over medium heat. Bring the coconut milk to a boil.
  7. Once it is boiled, continue simmer over low heat. Add water from time to time when the stew is about to dry.
  8. Cook until the beef absorbs the flavor of the spices thoroughly and the color turns to dark brown. It will take about three hours.
  9. Served with rice or bread.


Are you planning your next trip to North Sulawesi? For more information about our beautiful dive resort, diving, tours, activities or to make a booking, contact us on:
We look forward to welcoming you to Lembeh Resort soon.