Films have the power to transport their audience on thrilling adventures. Often, they evoke memories of certain events or even food, much like my own experiences. Mention French cuisine, and Disney’s animated film Ratatouille comes to mind. When I indulge in chocolate, I envision myself in a world of chocolate, akin to the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Yet, the enchantment of culinary delights doesn’t end with foreign films. Indonesia boasts a collection of fascinating food-themed movies, some deeply intertwined with specific cultures or regions. These films not only satisfy the cravings of food enthusiasts but also offer a delightful glimpse into the diverse culinary traditions and cultural heritage of Indonesia.
These Indonesian food-themed films promise to take you on a delightful journey, offering a feast for your senses and a deeper appreciation of Indonesia’s culinary heritage and diverse culture. So grab your popcorn, sit back, and embark on a cinematic adventure through the enticing world of Indonesian cuisine.
Indonesia's Food Themed Movies
Aruna dan Lidahnya (2018)
Aruna dan Lidahnya is a film adapted from a novel with the same title by Laksmi Pamuntjak. This movie follows the story of Aruna (Dian Sastrowardoyo), an epidemic expert and food lover tasked with researching a bird flu case in East Java and Kalimantan. Accompanied by Bono (Nicholas Saputra), a professional chef, and Nadezhada (Hanna Al Rashid), a food critic, they embark on a research trip that doubles as a culinary adventure. The film showcases a variety of typical Indonesian dishes, such as Rawon, Soto Lamongan, Pontianak Fried Rice, Singkawang Crab Noodles, and more.
Where to watch: Netflix and Vidio
Cap Cip Top (2020)
Released in 2020 by Ravacana Film, CAPCIPTOP is a short film that revolves around a conflict between neighbors. Mrs. Tri tries to prove the cause of her shop’s desertion after Mrs. Karman’s food stall opens nearby. Set in an Indonesian village food stall, the movie highlights simple yet flavorful foods like Stir-fried Kale, Fried Food, Chicken Noodles, and others, presenting a beautiful rural atmosphere of togetherness.
Where to watch: Youtube
Filosofi Kopi (2015)
Filosofi Kopi is a trendsetting Indonesian culinary film released in 2015. This movie takes you on a journey exploring the world of coffee and its preparation, a beloved drink for many. The story revolves around Ben (Chicco Jerikho), the son of a coffee farmer who opens a coffee shop, Filosofi Kopi, with Jody (Rio Dewanto) in Jakarta. As debts threaten the coffee shop, their challenges unfold, providing a captivating narrative. The film’s success led to a sequel, Filosofi Kopi 2.
Where to watch: Netflix
Lidah Ayah (2017)
“Lidah Ayah,” aired in 2017, tells the story of a father who used to be a renowned chef. He challenges his son to identify various foods by taste alone, and the son succeeds, displaying his sensitivity to Indonesian special spices found in Mushroom Soup. This short film, was created by students of the Jakarta Art Institute, with a duration of about 7 minutes.
Where to watch: Youtube
Madre, released in 2013, is an adaptation of Dee Lestari’s culinary-themed novel. The movie revolves around Tansen (Vino G Bastian), a surfer passionate about waves, who inherits a bakery named Tan De Becker. As Tansen intends to sell the bakery, Meilan (Laura Basuki) comes into the picture, keen on buying it due to its association with Madre, the name of the source of bread and a crucial element in its taste and texture. The film offers an insightful view of the classic bread-making process, from dough preparation to the final product.
Where to watch: Not specified
Just like America’s typical Christmas film Home Alone, Indonesia presents Natalan, a 2020 short film centered around a mother eagerly waiting for her child to return home for Christmas Eve celebrations. This family-oriented movie features scenes with home-cooked meals like soup, rawon, fried tempeh, and stir-fried chicken, reminiscent of simple Indonesian dishes rich in spices.
Tabula Rasa (2014)
For those enamored with Padang cuisine, the film Tabula Rasa is sure to captivate. The 2014 movie follows Hans (Jimmy Kobogau), a young man from Papua aspiring to be a soccer player. When his dream falters, he finds himself working at Mak’s (Dewi Irawan) Padang restaurant. The film highlights the intricate processes involved in creating Padang dishes, from the tantalizing fish head curry sauce to the rising steam while cooking the rice and the preparation of rendang seasoning.
Where to watch: Netflix
The Wedding & Bebek Betutu (2015)
Released in 2015, “The Wedding & Bebek Betutu” is a comedy genre film that revolves around the famous Balinese specialty, Bebek Betutu. Packed with humor, the movie features comedians from Indonesia’s Extravaganza group, including Tora Sudiro, Aming, Omesh, and others. The film narrates the tale of a group of hotel workers called “The Crew,” who work hard to rescue the hotel owner’s daughter’s wedding, which is threatened with failure due to extortion. The central challenge is to serve Bebek Betutu with a special recipe.