Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown district, is famous for plenty of things, among them the bustling, and at times shady, nightlife, and the wide selection of electronics sold at very affordable prices.
The area is also replete with dishes, snacks and drinks that are hard to find in other parts of the capital. The Jakarta Post Travel picked five of the most well-known for those who choose to go west — west Jakarta that is — for their adventures.
This dish is a favorite among pork lovers due to its ingredients —meat, ears, tongue, intestines and lungs. You can choose to eat all of them or pick just the meat or other parts that you like.
Potatoes, salted vegetables and tofu are added to the pork offal and the mixture is stewed with soy sauce, garlic and chili, which creates a brown dish with a savory, rather salty taste.
Price: Rp 5,000 - Rp 15,000 per piece
A signature dish available on almost every corner, nasi campur (mixed rice) is basically rice served with pork sausage, roast pork, chicken liver, chicken stew, boiled egg and pickled cucumber.
The rice itself is either regular white rice or nasi hainan, which is cooked with garlic, shallots and chicken stock.
The fresh and crunchy pickled cucumber adds a good balance to the savory and sweet pork and chicken toppings. A sip of the meaty broth enriches the taste, and a dash of chili sauce will give it an extra kick and a true Indonesian flavor!
Price: Rp 30,000 (US$3.08)
Kopi Es Tak Kie
The famed Kopi Es Tak Kie in Glodok's Gloria Alley has been around since 1927 and the place with its stained walls and old fashioned furniture certainly looks its age. Even most of its visitors are elderly.
But like many things, it is an “oldie but goodie” and recommended by many, including a mobile remote control vendor.
"They close at 2 p.m. so make sure you get there before that," he advised.
Their hot and iced coffee tastes solid and no-frills. The eatery also provides dishes such as nasi campur, bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and bakmi ayam (chicken noodle soup).
Hot black coffee Rp 10,000
Ice coffee Rp 11,000
Rujak usually refers to a fruit salad with peanut and palm sugar, but several regions in Indonesia have their own variations of this dish, made by adding their own signature ingredients and at times not involving any fruit at all.
In the case of Rujak Shanghai, the ingredients are jellyfish, radish, water spinach, cucumber, shredded cuttlefish and thick pink sauce with a garnish of roughly chopped peanuts.
Although the appearance is less than appealing, the sweet and sour elements actually create a balanced and tantalizing taste when combined with the spinach and jellyfish.
Price: Rp 25,000
Kolak is quite a common dish in Jakarta, especially during the Muslims' fasting month of Ramadhan. It is usually made of bananas or sweet potato stewed in sweet, thick soup of palm sugar and coconut milk.
In an alley called Kali Mati in Glodok, however, a young woman sells a variation of this dish using white jali or Chinese pearl barley.
"I only use imported [pearl barleys] since the local one is not as good," said the woman who inherited the business from her mother.
She has been selling kolak for 24 years.
"When we first started the business, the price was only Rp 750," the woman reflected.
Aside from kolak jali, she also sells the unusual ketan hitam (black sticky rice porridge), *biji salak* (sweet potato pebble porridge), mung bean porridge and boiled cassava.
Price: Rp 8,000
Read also: Jakarta's traditional treats