11 Great Inventions We Can Thank Indonesia For

Tempeh | ©Mattie Hagedorn/Flickr
Tempeh | ©Mattie Hagedorn/Flickr
Photo of Edira Putri
14 August 2017

Indonesia may not be globally acclaimed as a nation of bright minds and inventors, but both the nation’s ancient and modern innovations have contributed greatly to the life of many. Discover great inventions we can thank Indonesia for.


Indonesia’s most popular instant noodle brand has also gained admiration from people around the globe. The relatively cheap price and strong flavor have made this product widely consumed in Indonesia, and in many other countries too. Indomie has numerous flavor variety, from chicken curry to soto (Indonesian broth), beef rendang to grilled chicken.

Eating indomie | ©Nora Solisa/Flickr


Tempeh (or tempe in Indonesian) has been increasingly popular as a healthy protein alternative in vegetarian or vegan diets. But long before the soy-based product began showing up in lifestyle bloggers’ feeds and hit the global market, ancient communities in Java, Indonesia, have been consuming tempeh in their everyday diet. This cake-like protein source is also rich in dietary fiber and vitamins due to the fermentation process used to make it.

Sliced tempeh | ©Mattie Hagedorn/Flickr

Kopiko coffee candy

Long before there was a Starbucks in every corner, Indonesian had created their own convenient caffeine fix. This coffee candy is considered innovative and has been exported to at least 90 countries. Just like a cup of coffee, a bar of this candy has an energizing effect with a strong coffee flavor.

Kopiko candy | ©sstrieu/Flickr


Jamu is Indonesia’s traditional herbal drink which efficacy in alleviating various illnesses has stood the test of time. Many modern medicines use jamu formulas to develop their products, including the popular Tolak Angin, a herbal medicine to treat common colds. Product quality has made this jamu-based medicine popular in many Asian countries, Australia, and the Netherlands.


Batik is a centuries-old craft practiced in many parts of Indonesia. Different localities have their own philosophy, design, and techniques, all contributing to the richness of this tradition. Its exquisite motif and cultural significance have made batik a popular souvenir to bring home from Indonesia. Depending on the area, tourists can find batik patterns with native, Chinese, Indian, even European or religious influence.

Batik technique | ©Yogo Adi/Flickr

Polygon bike

This heavy-duty bicycle has been produced without branding in Indonesia since 1989. The products have been imported to and sold as different brands in different countries. Now, the manufacturer has chosen Polygon to be its own brand and to keep serving customers from around the globe under its own name. Polygon has also been trusted by world-class teams and athletes due to its quality and design.

Beef Rendang

Originally a traditional recipe from the Minangkabau people in Indonesia, the popularity of this dish has extended to the whole nation, and even to many other countries. The tender meat and thick, savory paste quickly stole the hearts of many. The dish even won CNN’s poll of “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods” in 2011. Originally served during ceremonies and special occasions, the recipe takes hours to prepare and uses many different spices.

Beef rendang | ©Alpha/Flickr

Luwak coffee

Luwak coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, accidentally discovered by a regular coffee farmer in Indonesia during the Dutch colonial era. One day, the coffee farmer, who was not allowed to taste the global commodity, noticed that the droppings from a certain type of civet called luwak contain intact coffee beans. Curious, the farmer washed and brewed the coffee cherries, resulting in a unique, lightweight coffee taste due to the fermentation process in the civet’s digestive system.

Luwak coffee

4D scanner

A technology called Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (ECTV) makes it possible to do imaging of particles in 4 dimensions inside chemistry reactors. This invention was first developed as part of the attempt to find new energy sources and has helped the initiative in many ways. The technology discovered by Dr. Warsito Purwo Taruno will also help improve other sectors from medical to nano-technology.

Magno radio

This wooden radio is loved for its vintage qualities and personalized design. Many customers even believe that the waxed wooden material, without any extra coating, makes the sound better and clearer. Nowadays, many Magno radios have been equipped with a dock to connect to mp3 player, SD card slot, and more. The product that first originated in Temanggung, Central Java, already has three main global distributors in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Magno radio | ©Ged Carroll/Flickr

4G technology

While Khoirul Anwar from Indonesia didn’t really invent the whole technology, he did discover an important part called OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing), that was later used to implement the system. In short, his patented discovery help enhances the efficiency of communication devices.

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