Strengthening the Branding of Indonesia Spices through Unique Taste Chili Sauce “Sambal”

Indonesia is an agrarian country where the livelihood of most of the people is as a farmer. Having a large area of ​​land and many islands makes Indonesia a country with abundant natural resources. With these various advantages, Indonesia has become a country that has many characteristics and unique things in it. Besides having famous tourist destinations such as those in Bali, Lombok, Jogja, Komodo Island, Raja Ampat, etc. In the culinary field, Indonesia is no less interesting and has many unique features, one of which is a strong taste in each of its cuisines, because Indonesian cuisine is known to have a composition of various kinds of various spices. Some examples of Indonesian specialties that are known to the world because of their delicious taste and rich in spices include rendang, sate, rawon, gudeg,  fried rice, etc. In fact, every region in Indonesia has a distinctive and distinctive spice taste. This makes Indonesia one of the countries with culinary riches that attracts many tourists to visit and vacation.

However, apart from a variety of world-famous menus and the people’s passion for spices, there is one other uniqueness that is still related to Indonesian cuisine. That is where in almost every region in Indonesia, the majority of the people like sambal. Sambal is also found in other Asian countries, but every country that has sambal must have its own distinctive taste. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, sambal is a side dish that is usually eaten to give it a distinctive spicy taste. Although sambal is not the main menu in a dish, its presence will be very complementary when served in a dish. However, it is possible that in some sambal menus, it can also be cooked with protein or vegetables to serve as the main dish. There are various types of sambal in Indonesia and each type of sambal has a unique taste characteristic, some are sour spicy, sweet spicy, savory spicy, etc. Sambal is very easy to find in Indonesia, besides being served in every house, sambal is almost always available in all eating places in Indonesia. This is another uniqueness of Indonesia where the majority of the people will feel incomplete if they eat without sambal on their plate.

The process of making sambal there are 2, first sambal in which all the ingredients are finely ground into one and the second is sambal in which all the ingredients are not smashed but cut into small and thin shapes. With these two different manufacturing processes, sambal is able to provide a distinct and unique taste when consumed. Based on research from Gadjah Mada University reported by, the total chili recipes in Indonesia reach 322 types of traditional sambal. This sambal is divided into two with a total of 119 types of raw sambal and 138 types of cooked sambal (Audy Ramadhani, 2019). Generally, the main ingredients used in the process of making this sambal are chili, garlic and flavoring. Which then in each region in Indonesia will add special additives so that the taste of each sauce will taste different. Some additional ingredients that can be added include: shallots, lemongrass, tomatoes, shrimp paste, anchovies, oil etc. Because of the addition of various kinds of ingredients, Indonesia has various types of sambal that varies, among the many types of sambal in Indonesia, the following are some of the most famous sambal, onion sambal, shrimp sambal, tomato sambal, green sambalsambal matah, mango sambal and sambal dabu-dabu. Onion sambal is a sambal made with the basic ingredients as mentioned above, namely chili, garlic and seasoning. Shrimp sambal is a sambal that is added with shrimp paste in it. Tomato sambal is a sauce that is added with tomatoes so that it is not too spicy but still delicious. Green sambal is a sambal made with green chili as the main ingredient. Sambal matah (a typical Balinese sambal) is a type of sambal in which all the ingredients are cut into small and thin pieces, the ingredients used in making this sambal are chili, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, flavorings and oil. Mango Sambal is a sambal made from young mangoes. Then there is also sambal dabu-dabu (a typical sambal from the Manado area) including a type of raw chili made by cutting into small and thin pieces, the ingredients used in dabu-dabu sauce include red chilies, tomatoes, onions, scallions and lemons. 

In Indonesia itself,sambal connoisseurs are not only consumed by adults, but there are some children who can already eat sambal but still with adult or parent supervision. Apart from children, there are also teenagers and the elderly, some also like to eat with sambal as a side dish. However, in daily consumption, it is hoped that each person can know the limits of his ability to tolerate spicy tastes. This is because sambal has a chili base with the majority of chili having a strong spicy taste, so it is expected that the consumption of chili itself is according to the limits of each person’s ability. Because if you eat too much sambal or eat sambal beyond its limits, it can cause stomach pain such as diarrhea. Therefore, consuming sambal in moderation is the best action that can be taken to prevent this. With sufficient consumption and not excessive then naturally chili will not have a negative impact on the body.

In this modern era, sambal is still a favorite side dish for both Indonesians and tourists who visit Indonesia and then get to know sambal and like its distinctive taste. In its development, sambal has also followed the times, namely with the number of entrepreneurs taking advantage of this opportunity by making sambal in the form of instant packaging so that it can be carried when traveling and there is no need to bother looking for ingredients or making it yourself. Each company that produces instant sambal also has a unique taste from each company’s recipe because it has been adjusted to the tastes of their customers. This can make it easier for chili lovers when traveling abroad or to areas where there is no sambal to still be able to enjoy chili.

In the future, hopefully that sambal from Indonesia can become one of the culinary delights that can be exported abroad and can become famous like other Indonesian cuisines and get recognition like rendang. So that people from other countries can get to know and know more about the taste of sambal that is typical of Indonesia. So that it can have a positive impact on economic progress and can increase tourism visits for the country. To achieve this, cooperation from various parties and promotions are needed so that they can support chili products or sambal that are typical of Indonesia to penetrate the international market.

Heppy Noor Affifah
Heppy Noor Affifah
Laboratory Assistant at Universitas Islam Indonesia