Tukang Sate: The Indonesian Barbecue Master


In Indonesia, Tukang Sate is a common term used to refer to a skewer seller. This individual typically sells sate, a popular Indonesian dish that consists of marinated meat skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal. Tukang Sate can be found on the busy streets of Indonesia, particularly in cities like Jakarta and Bali.

The History of Sate

Sate has a long history in Indonesia and is believed to have originated from the Middle East. The dish was introduced to Indonesia during the spread of Islam in the 15th century. At first, it was mostly consumed by the Muslim population during special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. However, it quickly became a popular dish among all ethnic groups and social classes.

The Role of Tukang Sate

Tukang Sate plays a significant role in the Indonesian culinary landscape. They are often seen as the masters of sate, as they have perfected the art of grilling the skewered meat to perfection. Each Tukang Sate has their own unique recipe for the marinade, and they take pride in their ability to offer the best-tasting sate.

The Ingredients of Sate

Sate can be made with a variety of meats, including chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and even fish. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices, including turmeric, coriander, cumin, and lemongrass. The skewers are then grilled over charcoal and served with a peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce, and sometimes a side of pickled vegetables.

The Art of Grilling

Tukang Sate has perfected the art of grilling sate over charcoal. They use a special technique to ensure that the meat is cooked evenly and remains tender and juicy. The skewers are placed over the hot coals and turned regularly to prevent burning. The key to great-tasting sate is to cook it slowly and not rush the process.

Types of Sate

In addition to the traditional chicken, beef, and pork sate, there are many other types of sate sold by Tukang Sate. Some popular varieties include goat sate, fish sate, and even tofu sate for those who prefer a vegetarian option.

Tukang Sate and Street Food Culture

Tukang Sate is an integral part of Indonesia’s street food culture. They are often found on the busiest streets and alleyways, attracting crowds of hungry locals and visitors. The sate stalls are known for their vibrant colors, delicious smells, and friendly service.

The Future of Tukang Sate

While Tukang Sate has been a part of Indonesian culinary culture for centuries, their future is uncertain. As Indonesia modernizes and becomes more urbanized, street food vendors like Tukang Sate face increasing pressure from local authorities and the threat of being displaced by larger businesses. However, many Indonesians remain fiercely loyal to their Tukang Sate and will continue to support them.


Tukang Sate is a symbol of Indonesia’s rich culinary heritage and street food culture. They have mastered the art of grilling sate and offer some of the best-tasting skewers in the world. While their future may be uncertain, they will always be an important part of Indonesia’s culinary landscape.