10 Most Famous Delicious Typical Maluku Foods

10 Most Famous Delicious Typical Maluku Foods

The Maluku Islands, also known as the Moluccas or the Spice Islands, are not only famous for their historical significance in the spice trade but also for their rich and vibrant culinary traditions.

The unique blend of local ingredients, influences from various traders, and the islands’ abundant natural resources create a distinctive and flavorful cuisine that captivates both locals and visitors alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the most famous and delicious Typical Foods Maluku, offering a taste of the islands’ culinary diversity and cultural heritage.

1. Papeda

Papeda is a staple food in Maluku and neighboring Papua, known for its unique texture and role in local meals. Made from sago palm starch, it is a gooey, glue-like substance served as a base similar to how rice or noodles are used in other Asian cuisines.

Papeda is typically eaten with a type of yellow soup made from fish, turmeric, and lemon basil, known locally as “kuah kuning.” The combination of the bland papeda with the flavorful soup creates a balanced and nutritious meal.

2. Nasi Kuning Maluku

Nasi Kuning, or yellow rice, is a festive dish found throughout Indonesia, but the Maluku version has its own unique twist. It is often cooked with a variety of spices such as turmeric, lemongrass, and pandan leaves, which not only give it a vibrant yellow color but also a fragrant aroma.

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In Maluku, this dish is commonly served at celebrations and special occasions, accompanied by side dishes such as fried chicken, beef rendang, spicy boiled eggs, and a variety of sambals.

3. Colo-colo

Colo-colo is a traditional Malukan sambal (chili sauce) that accompanies many dishes. It’s made from a mixture of chopped chili peppers, shallots, tomatoes, and sometimes adds lime juice and sweet soy sauce.

Each household might have its own version of colo-colo, with variations in heat and additional ingredients like fermented shrimp paste to enhance the flavor. This condiment is a staple on Malukan tables, bringing heat and depth to every meal.

4. Ikan Bakar Ambon

Ikan Bakar Ambon is a style of grilled fish that is particularly popular in Ambon, one of Maluku’s major cities. The fish used is typically fresh from the surrounding seas, marinated in a special blend of spices including turmeric, garlic, and tamarind, then grilled over coconut charcoal for a smoky flavor.

It’s often served with rice and a generous helping of colo-colo or another local sambal.

5. Gohu Ikan

Gohu Ikan is the Malukan version of ceviche or fish salad, which reflects the islands’ rich marine biodiversity. This dish is made from raw tuna or similar firm-fleshed fish, which is marinated in citrus juice, usually from calamansi or local limes, which “cooks” the fish without heat.

It’s then mixed with fresh chili, shallots, and coconut oil, offering a refreshing and spicy flavor profile that’s perfect for the tropical climate.

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6. Sago Congee

Sago congee is a comforting dish often enjoyed for breakfast or as a light meal. This porridge-like dish is made from sago, a starch extracted from the trunks of sago palms, which are abundantly found across Maluku.

The sago is cooked until soft and served with sweet or savory toppings such as coconut milk, banana, or even fish, making it versatile and filling.

7. Ketam Isi

Ketam Isi is a beloved Malukan specialty featuring crabs stuffed with a delightful mixture of their own meat, spices, and breadcrumbs or sago. This dish showcases the fresh seafood that the Maluku Islands are famous for, with each bite offering a crunch from the shell giving way to the soft, flavorful filling inside.

It’s a popular choice in local eateries and provides a true taste of the islands’ love for innovative seafood dishes.

8. Ayam Tuturuga

Ayam Tuturuga is a distinctive chicken dish from North Maluku known for its rich and spicy flavors. The chicken is cooked in a coconut milk-based sauce, seasoned with a variety of local spices including nutmeg and galangal, which are native to the region.

The result is a creamy, aromatic dish that is often a centerpiece at family gatherings and special occasions.

9. Ulat Sagu

For the more adventurous eaters, Ulat Sagu offers an experience unique to the Maluku Islands. This dish consists of sago larvae, which are considered a delicacy in the region. Rich in protein, Ulat Sagu can be eaten raw, fried, or cooked in a sago palm leaf.

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Although it might be an acquired taste for some, it is a traditional food that reflects the resourcefulness of the indigenous peoples in utilizing the sago palm.

10. Kue Bagea

Kue Bagea is a traditional biscuit that is popular in Maluku, particularly in the city of Ambon. These cookies are made from sago flour and mixed with spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, all of which are historically significant to the Spice Islands.

Kue Bagea has a hard texture and a spicy-sweet flavor, making it a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.


Maluku’s cuisine is as diverse and vibrant as its history and natural scenery. From staple dishes like papeda and yellow rice to unique dishes like fish gohu, the culinary traditions of the Spice Islands offer a fun exploration of flavors and ingredients.

Each dish not only satisfies the taste buds, but also tells the story of cultural exchange, natural resources and people’s lives in Maluku. Whether you dine at a local resident’s house, Maluku Tourist Attractions, or at a luxury restaurant, the typical Maluku flavors will definitely leave a deep impression on anyone who tastes them.