Indonesian cooking is mainly of the village. The combination of contrasting flavors, textures, and colors distinguishes the cuisine and unifies the various regional styles. Several dishes are usually present at one meal, which results to serve the food at the room temperature. Everything is generally served together: soups, side dishes, sauces, meats, fish, vegetables, fruits,...
An average Indonesian family meal consist mainly of rice with a vegetable dish and a fish, chicken, or meat dish which come along with some pepper relishes, called sambal. It was during the colonial times that the "rijst tafel" (Dutch for rice table) was introduced to the Western world, which was usually an elaborate buffet with rice as the main dish and maybe a dozen or so side dishes of different variety. Mostly meat and chicken, and also fish and shrimp and vegetable dishes. In restaurants in Europe and on some ocean cruise ships where "rice tafel" is offered, the dishes are usually prepared and spiced to suit the Western palate.
Raw vegetables (lalap) with a hot pepper dip (sambal) are very common parts of a meal.