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Bringing Food into Indonesia?

lizamay

New Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
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1
Hello!

I'm a newcomer and entering Indonesia in a couple of weeks. I was just wondering if anyone knows if its prohibited to bring some of our comfort foods over? I was wanting to bring a protein powder and maybe a couple of jars of peanut butter/vegemite (true Australian!).

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

Mitian_Indau

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Mar 24, 2019
Messages
21
Hi Lizamay,

As far as I'm aware it shouldn't be a problem, I would advise you to declare everything on the arrival card though (being upfront/honest/respectful always helps).

I've brought in Vegemite before, but I've always picked up peanut butter locally. One thing to watch out for is that the bread can often be quite sweet (which doesn't mix too well with Vegemite!), but you can find a 'western style' loaf too.

I brought in several tins of baby food (almost 4kg) a few weeks ago which I had been worried about (i.e. a large amount of powder). We were actually just waved through at customs, so didn't face any questions about it.

I'm certain if anyone from the forum has run into difficulties in the past, they'll advise you about it (I'm very new here myself too).

I hope you enjoy your travels in Indonesia, don't forget to try the local foods too! :)
 

jstar

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You'll be fine. There's no need to mention anything on your customs declaration card, which you will get onboard to fill in and need to hand over after picking up your luggage. What you bring in is all processed food (not fresh) and sealed in its original packaging.

We even bring in a lot of food every time, even vegetables (for consumption) etc. without any issues. This is not Australia or California where they practically think it's an act of terrorism to bring in an orange.

The big things are alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is more than just booze btw, they also freak out if you bring some new and gift wrapped perfumes. Or your collection of jenever filled KLM houses. Also, they sometimes check for new luxury products, we're talking LV bags etc.

Generally speaking, Bali is more difficult than Jakarta.
 

Vanuatu

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I brought in over 5 kg of pork sausage, 2 kg of cheese, 12 bottles of wine and 3 1.75 litre bottles of spirits on one trip without too much of an issue (traveling with wife and kid with 6 suitcases). I was pushing the envelope on that one, but I routinely bring in several packs of pork sausages and cheese and a couple of bottles of spirits and even when they have x-ray'd my bags they have never opened them. Don't declare anything as that will lead to further scrutiny and go through the nothing to declare line. In the off chance you are stopped and they check your bags just play dumb and say you didn't understand the form.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
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I have brought in lots of food through Jakarta, nothing has ever been questioned. Bali might be more difficult though. Agree with the comment above - don't mention any food on the customs declaration, as that would just give them a reason to stop you.
 

Mitian_Indau

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Mar 24, 2019
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There's no need to mention anything on your customs declaration card
Don't declare anything as that will lead to further scrutiny and go through the nothing to declare line.
Agree with the comment above - don't mention any food on the customs declaration
I guess that I travel differently to everyone else! I think that the combined experience of the three of you is a strong endorsement of your position and the advice you're offering.

For my part, I've not encountered any problems over the past decade, declaring foodstuffs on arrival. Sometimes I've been checked, other times just waved through. I suppose on most trips I've been with an Indonesian national, but not every trip.

Generally speaking, Bali is more difficult than Jakarta.
Bali might be more difficult though.
Interesting to know. I've never arrived via Jakarta, always through Bali (it's a closer hub for where I need to get to). I assume that there have been problems/discrimination in the past I'm not aware of? I know that the application of rules can often be more 'selective' for foreigners (naturally, to their detriment), is it a case of extra scrutiny being applied?

In the off chance you are stopped and they check your bags just play dumb and say you didn't understand the form.
as that would just give them a reason to stop you
I'm curious, is the desire to avoid being stopped to avoid extra questions/time-spent-in-queues (a natural inclination for all travellers), or is it to avoid something more 'sinister' (i.e. being pressed for bribes, facing fines or having your foodstuffs seized)?

You've got me wondering if I'm exposing myself to prejudicial scrutiny over bringing foodstuffs for the extended family!
 

harryopal

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Aug 4, 2016
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In and out of Bali many times and I always declare if I have food. Usually just a packet of something and Vegemite. I bring just one litre of alcohol. Never had a problem and never had a hint that bribes were being sought.
 

Ruserious

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I travel in and out of the country around every 2 weeks on average and i cant remember the last time (if ever) a customs guy has even looked at the form as i handed it over. I really could have written anything on it, handed it over and just kept walking. Personally i would follow the advice of not declaring though.
 

Vanuatu

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I'm curious, is the desire to avoid being stopped to avoid extra questions/time-spent-in-queues (a natural inclination for all travellers), or is it to avoid something more 'sinister' (i.e. being pressed for bribes, facing fines or having your foodstuffs seized)?
A little of both, but as Ruserious stated they rarely even look at the form. All the bags are x-ray'd before hitting the baggage carousal and if they suspect something then they will mark you bag with a X in white chalk which is a sign for the custom guys to do a double check. I once had one guy stop me and ran my bag through x-ray with the check on it, but the guy running the machine was playing with his phone so I just grabbed my bag when it came out of the x-ray machine and walked out. I think I had 2 bottles and a cooler full of pork in the bag.

Again I would never declare to have anything, especially if it is something you can bring in anyway. If you declare it gives them something to do and they may open all your bags and take out all your stuff because you have giving them a reason to do it.

Jakarta is much more lax than Bali, but I haven't heard of anyone getting into trouble for not declaring in Bali. I did have one friend that had to pay IDR50K when they found an extra bottle of booze in his bag, but they let him keep it.
 

jstar

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I think the white chalk is not used anymore. Less and less scanning in terminal 3 btw, often even the hand carriage is not scanned anymore...
 

gemima

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Jul 25, 2016
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I bring in food all the time without any issues and I never declare it. The customs are looking for excess booze and luxury goods rather than worrying about what delicious cheese you've got stuffed in there.
 

jstar

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maybe a couple of jars of peanut butter

Isn't Skippy* an Australian brand? That brand is the one you see most here in the supermarkets. They will probably have local production.

They sell Sanitarium peanut butter from New Zealand also btw. And I've even seen Kraft. Not Bega, that brand is cheese only.



*How I knew: Besides Flipper and Batman I grew up with this....
 
Last edited:

Jaime C

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I didn’t even see any xray scanning after picking bags up at Terminal 3 a few weeks ago. We brought some packaged gifts (cologne set, massager) and had no scrutiny.

We drink little or none, so that’s not a problem. I sometimes bring different cooked meats, but skipped it this time since we’d be in Jakarta for 2 weeks before heading home to Bandung.

I did have some crocodile jerky from Australia, and some premium beef jerky from the US.
 

William King

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You can buy Vegemite in ranch market. I always bring a few kgs of black pudding. Never an issue.
 

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