Contributed and posted by ‘The Indonesian Way’, a textbook for the Indonesian language by George Quinn and Uli Kozok.
“Saya minta” is a very useful and very common phrase. Specially when you are in a shop or in a restaurant where you need to order or ask something from a waiter. Translated literally it means “I ask for ….”. But saya minta is also the Indonesian way of saying “give me”.
Saya minta is quite a polite phrase, so it is probably more equivalent to “please give me…” Saya minta… is a good illustration of the fact that Indonesian doesn’t have a single way of translating the English “please”. Indeed, as saya minta shows, it is possible to be perfectly polite in Indonesian without using any particular word like the English “please”.
In traditional, rural society, words like “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, and even “Good morning”, “Good evening” etc. either don’t exist at all, or if they do exist, they are not used as frequently as they are in English. Yet the people of these communities can be just as polite as the politest speakers of English are.
Warung, Rumah Makan & Restoran
Indonesians love to dine out and there is hardly any street where there is not a food outlet. The simplest eateries are called warung. These are either stationary or they are erected in the late afternoon. A meal in such a food stall usually costs the equivalent of 1-2 Euros. The most common term for restaurant is rumah makan and refers to stationary restaurants with chairs rather than wooden benches. The term rumah makan can refer to a cheap restaurant not much different from a warung but can also refer to high-class restaurants. The Dutch loanword restoran is usually reserved for better restaurants.