Mau ikan apa? What kind of meat do you want?

The Indonesian word for fish is ikan, the word for meat, daging. Sometimes this gets a bit confused, especially in local warungs.

Often in local warungs, the server will ask the customer “Mau ikan apa?” intending it to mean ‘What kind of meat do you want?’ This is quite strange as ikan clearly means ‘fish’. In Balinese warungs they will often substitute the word ‘bek‘ instead of ‘ikan‘.

Why people refer to various meats as ikan is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps many years ago before westerners came to Bali, people relied on fish a lot more and the question ‘do you want meat?’ meant ‘do you want fish?’




If you are in a warung and are asked “mau ikan apa?” simply point to what you want, regardless if its fish or not.