The search for Timorese food

FoodTimor Leste

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I’m on a mission while I’m here to uncover Timorese food. So far, most of what I have seen has been Indonesian imports. I fail to believe that there are no uniquely Timorese dishes (though perhaps the Portuguese and Indonesian occupations left the majority of locals in such poverty that a national cuisine never really thrived?). So my mission while in Timor is to try to find some truly local dishes and to write about them on the blog.

If anyone has any suggestions of places to find Timorese cuisine (especially in Dili), please let me know! Or recommend some things for me to read about it too!

So far, I have discovered a distinctly Timorese sambal that is used in the roadside stalls selling ketuprat (rice inside a palm leaf pouch) and grilled fish (the small fish on sale here tastes like tuna and sardines, rather than the white flesh fish you’d eat grilled in most of Indonesia). I still don’t know the name for the sambal, but it includes lemon or limes in it, as well as chili, and has a slight taste of vinegar (perhaps hinting at a Portuguese influence). It almost tastes sweet and sour, but not quite. The citrus touch works really well with fish.

If anyone has any more information on this sambal (or a recipe!), that would be great!

One Response to " The search for Timorese food "

  1. Ben says:

    Hiya. There are many different recipes for Timorese sambal but the one I use consists of garlic, onion, whole limes, plenty of salt and a dash of water. You can blend everything together or cut fine for a chunkier texture. Simple and brilliant on grilled seafood. Lasts forever in a sealed jar in the fridge.