5 Best Traditional Food You Should Try While Visiting West Papua

Meta Description: West Papua has a variety of traditional foods that represent various cultures in Papua, regarding ingredients, flavors, and many more.

Slug: traditional-food-West-Papua


Not only known for its countless natural beauty and rich cultures, but also Indonesia is known for the delicious traditional foods that are represented by each region. One of the regions with special and unique traditional foods in West Papua. From its ingredients, flavors, and cooking techniques, traditional foods from this island are the best in giving the different sensation of culinary experience than other regions. Here is a summary of the 5 best traditional foods of West Papua that is worth trying.




Petatas, known as Ubi Jalar, are sweet potatoes that have become the staple food for West Papua’s people. Rice doesn’t grow well in Papua and the price itself is pretty expensive. That’s why people of this island, especially those in the mountains, rely on Petatas as their carbohydrate source.  

Petatas have high nutritional value making them more healthy to consume than rice. It has fewer carbohydrates and doesn’t have much taste, so it’s good too for people who have diabetes. This food is usually grilled and served with other meats or vegetables. Petatas are also usually served for traditional rituals or ceremonies.

If you want to taste this traditional food, you can find it easily in the traditional markets or the roadside stores.




The other tasty traditional food of West Papua you should try is Papeda. This traditional food is quite popular as typical food for people in some eastern Indonesia. Just like Petatas, they consume Papeda as a substitute for rice.

Papeda is made from sagu and is usually cooked for several minutes until the texture is sticky like glue. The taste itself is bland, so you need to eat it with the other foods. Usually, papeda is served with fish like tuna or mubara cooked with turmeric. By cooking this way, the fish sauce will turn yellow and the fish’s taste becomes savory.

Its mixed flavors will make you addicted to tasting it again. So, If you want to try a different culinary experience, you should give it a try. 

Cheating Shrimp



West Papua has various unique traditional foods you should try, including this one. Cheating Shrimp or Udang Selingkuh is the most popular food in Wamena because of its unique name and the funny story behind it. The shrimp of this food has claws similar to the crab, so people jokingly conclude that this shrimp is the affair’s result between shrimp and crab. That’s where the name comes from.

The shrimp itself is a freshwater shrimp that lives in rivers, especially in the Baliem River of Jayapura. The local people usually catch it to be sold to the market and then it serves as the main ingredient in many local restaurants. So, people can find and taste this food easily. 

You can order this food in various ways. Either grilled, fried, or boiled, you can order it based on your taste. You can eat all the body parts except its head. The original taste is savory and slightly sweet, but you can make it more delicious by mixing it with typical cooking spices. 

So, if you want to taste these unique flavors, you should spend some time in Wamena and try this food.

Keladi Tumbuk



Keladi Tumbuk is another traditional food of West Papua that is worth a try. This food is made from taro that is usually boiled until cooked. Then grind the taro until smooth. Next, the smooth taro can be mixed with grated coconut, salt, and sugar.

Keladi Chips are served with other menus like baked fish or swamp cabbage on the dining table for the family, party, or other celebrations. This food contains nutrients that are good for lowering high blood pressure, facilitating digestion, and smoothing the skin. Besides, keladi tumbuk also has high carbohydrates yet lowers sugar that is suitable for people in a diet program.

Ant’s Nest 



You should try another unique traditional food from West Papua in Ant’s Nest. Firstly, you may think that this food is made from real Ant’s nest. This food is the name of a medicinal plant commonly found and grown in Wamena. This food is popular since it has many health benefits for our bodies. 

Ant’s nest contains active antioxidant compounds such as tannins, flavonoids, and polyphenols to prevent terminal illnesses such as gout, rheumatism, tuberculosis, tumor, cancer, and other dangerous diseases. This plant is also sold as herbal medicine in capsule or dried form packed in plastic. You can drink it with the water twice a day, in the morning and the evening. 

West Papua is the best destination for culinary lovers who want to feel the different culinary experiences that can’t be found in other places. Every traditional food has its attraction, making them special and unique. If you plan to travel to West Papua, you must include time to taste these 5 traditional foods on your lists!