Jajan pasar (market snacks) in Java, consisting of assorted kue
Alternative namesKueh (Hokkian), Kuih (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore)
Place of originIndonesia
Region or stateNationwide
Main ingredientsVarious traditional snacks
Similar dishesKuih, Mont, Khanom, Bánh

Kue is a Southeast Asian bite-sized snack or dessert, especially in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Kue or kuih are fairly broad terms in the Malay archipelago to describe a wide variety of snacks including cakes, cookies, fritters, pies, scones, and patisserie.[1] Kue are made from a variety of ingredients in various forms; some are steamed, fried or baked.[2] They are popular snacks in the Malay archipelago, which has the largest variety of kue. Because of the archipelago's historical colonial ties, Koeé (kue) is also popular in the Netherlands.[3]

Kue demonstrate local native delicacies, Chinese and Indian influences, as well as European cake and pastry influences. For example, bakpia and kue ku are of Chinese Peranakan origin, kue putu is derived from Indian puttu, while kue bugis, klepon, nagasari, getuk, lupis and wajik are of native origin; on the other hand, lapis legit, kue cubit, kastengel, risoles and pastel are European influenced. In Java, traditional kue is categorized under jajan pasar (lit.'market buys' or 'market munchies').[4] The colourfully decorated jajan pasar is usually given as a food gift, or served to accompany tumpeng (the main dish) during traditional Javanese ceremonies.

Indonesian fried snacks, from left to right: kue onde-onde, pastel, martabak mini, risoles. From those kue shown only onde-onde are sweet, the rest are savoury.


The term "kue" is derived from Hokkien: 粿 koé.[5] It is also spelled as kuih in Malaysian, and kueh in Singapore. Kue are more often steamed than baked, and are thus very different in texture, flavour and appearance from Western cakes or puff pastries. Many kue are sweet, but some are savoury.

Indonesian kue are usually categorized according to their moisture, roughly divided under two groups, kue basah (lit.'wet kue') and kue kering (lit.'dry kue'). However, the word kue in Indonesian language is used to refer to not only these kinds of traditional snacks, but also to all types of cake and some types of pastries. Most kue kering are technically pastries and many Western cakes can be considered as kue basah.[6]


Making kue rangi coconut waffle

Many of the traditional Indonesian kue, either sweet or savoury, are based on rice flour and coconut.[7] Traditionally, Indonesian sweets uses gula aren or palm sugar, yet powdered sugar or common sugar is also widely used. Rice flour and tapioca are probably the most commonly used flours in Indonesian kue. However, due to foreign influences, wheat flour is also frequently used. For creamy flavour and texture, traditional Indonesian cakes uses coconut milk, yet today, the use of dairy products such as milk, cream, butter, cheese and margarine is already widespread. Popular flavouring agents and spices includes coconut, peanut, green pandan, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate.


Traditional market in Yogyakarta selling various kinds of jajan pasar kue.

Today, in urban Indonesian society, kue are popular snacks for brunch or afternoon break, often to accompany coffee or tea.[8] Various kue are often offered alongside Western pastries and cakes in cafes, coffee shops, snack stalls and warung kopi.

Traditionally, kue are made prior to certain celebration or events such as lebaran or natal, often homemade in Indonesian households and communities. For example, Keraton Yogyakarta traditionally held Ngapem ceremony, where royal households communally cook kue apem (Javanese version of appam) as a part of the Tingalan Jumenengan Dalem ceremony.[9] Additionally, kue is a lucrative business, commonly available in pasar pagi markets as jajan pasar (market buys).

In Indonesia, kue is one of the most popular street food choices. Street vendors in wheeled carts frequent residential areas or station on busy sidewalks near marketplaces or schools. Certain kue, such as kue rangi, getuk and kue putu are known to be found in residential areas, while kue ape, kue pancong, kue pukis and kue cubit tend to be sold near marketplaces or schools.

In the Netherlands, various assorted selections of koeé are available in Indo toko and eetcafe snack shops.

Kue basah

Indonesian kue (including dadar gulung, kue lapis and klepon) for sale in Indo Toko in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Most of traditional Indonesian kue are kue basah (wet kue).[4] Most are moist and soft in texture, and are steamed or fried instead of baked. Kue basah is usually made with rich coconut milk, along with sugar and rice flour; as a result it can not keep for more than a day or two,[6] especially in the hot and humid Indonesian tropical climate.[10] In contrast, kue kering can last longer.[11] The examples of kue basah are:

Kue kering

Assorted kue kering popular during Lebaran and Natal holidays, from top, left to right: putri salju, nastar, kue kacang sabit, kaasstengels (cheese cookie), semprit cokelat (choco-chip)
Kue gapit, a snack from Cirebon

In Indonesian language kue kering (dried kue) is identical to Western cookies.[17] Almost all kue kering are baked or fried with minimal or no water content, and thus they have longer shelf life compared to kue basah, which easily spoil.[6] Some variants, especially kaasstengels, plainly demonstrate Dutch origin (kaas is Dutch word for cheese). Kue kering is often served during annual holidays and important festivities, popularly offered to visiting guests during Lebaran and Natal. Examples of kue kering are:


See also


  1. ^ "Kue". Kamus.net. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Hasil Pencarian - KBBI Daring". kbbi.kemdikbud.go.id. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  3. ^ Indonesisch Kookboek Selamat Makan (PDF). Koninklijke Marine. 1999.
  4. ^ a b Alamsyah, Yuyun (2006). Kue basah & jajan pasar: warisan kuliner Indonesia (in Indonesian). Gramedia Pustaka Utama. ISBN 9789792221527.
  5. ^ "Kata Serapan Bahasa Cina". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  6. ^ a b c "Perbedaan Kue Basah dan Kue Kering Yang Kamu Mungkin Belum Tahu". Inspirasi Baking by PT Sriboga Flour Mill. 2018-04-27. Archived from the original on 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  7. ^ "Indonesian Desserts Recipes | Asian Recipes". www.asian-recipe.com. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "5 perfect traditional snacks for a get-together". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  9. ^ "Para Puteri Sri Sultan Luwes Membuat Apem di Prosesi Ngapem - Tribun Jogja". Tribun Jogja (in Indonesian). 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  10. ^ Muhammadi, Fikri Zaki. "Traditional delicacies survive modern cake invasion". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  11. ^ Lestari, Dapur (2013-02-05). 101 KUE NUSANTARA (in Indonesian). Puspa Swara. ISBN 9786028453684.
  12. ^ "Getting to know the local crispy pancake 'kue ape'". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  13. ^ Maulina, Rima (11 October 2018). "Kue Cara Isi Ikan Tongkol Khas Ambon". langsunguenak.com (in Indonesian).
  14. ^ "Resep jongkong bangka". kompas.com (in Indonesian). 3 August 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  15. ^ Ardana, Arixc (26 September 2020). "Jongkong singkong kue legendaris yang nyaris terlupakan". cendananews.com (in Indonesian). Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Jongkong Surabaya". primarasa.co.id (in Indonesian). Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  17. ^ Anissa, Dapur (2013-05-13). 100 Resep Kue Kering Klasik (in Indonesian). Gramedia Pustaka Utama. ISBN 9786020340654.