Archive for the ‘jakarta’ Category

Jakarta Street Food: Mie Goreng

August 21, 2010

Fried noodles are almost as popular as the national dish, nasi goreng.  You can see why – its cheap, delicious and easy to make.

You can see from the clip how easy it is to make it.  And the main ingredient is dried noodles – cheap as chips?  Cheaper.  If you were having friends over to watch a game on tv, you could save pizza money and impress them no end by knocking out a few dishes like this from your stove top.

Of course, if you’re in Indonesia it’s even cheaper.  And you don’t have to clean your wok afterwards.


Jakarta Street Food: School Meal

July 13, 2010

Outside every school there are always a few vendors serving hungry kids.  The one in this clip is selling omelettes made from watered-down egg, topped with cheap tomato sauce and sprinkled with beef flavouring.  Not the most nutritious meal, but the kids like it.

Considering the price, it’s probably outside a government school.  Private schools normally attract hamburger or bakso vendors and prices are more like 5,000rp.  Even so, the burgers are dreadful.

Some schools have their own canteens, but the food they serve isn’t much better, it’s usually white rice with something deep fried.  Well, that was my experience about 8 years ago.  I guess the object of the canteen was to provide an alternative to going out onto the street for a snack, since some parents are concerned about their child being kidnapped (a crime which hasn’t yet become popular among Indonesia’s underworld).

Jakarta Street Food: Kue Basah (‘wet’ cakes)

June 28, 2010

Plenty of traditional sweeties here. 

First we have the green dadar guling, which is a pancake wrapped into rolls containing young coconut and gula merah.  Traditionally, the green colouring comes from suji leaves, but in this case it’s so cheap they must use a commercial food colouring.  Even so, it’s still delicious.

The next is the little balls.  They’re made from rice flour rolled in shredded coconut and they contain liquid gula merah so when you pop one in your mouth and bite, the sweet liquid floods your mouth.  It’s quite a nice sensation.

Third and last is kue talam.  It’s wrapped in plastic because it’s so sticky.  The brown part is sweet and made from sticky rice flour and gula merah, the white part is savory a nd made from flour and coconut milk, and salt I guess.

Those are quite common sweets which you’ll encounter throughout Java.  Of course, there’s a huge range of sweeties for you to discover.  Here’s just a small sample of what you can find at the Senin markets:

cakes at Pasar Senin

If you’re wanting to kick on in the early hours after clubbing all night in Jakarta, why not head down to Pasar Senin for some sweet munchies?

Jakarta Street Food: Pecel

June 21, 2010

This lady has a few tricks in her little basket.  First we see a delicious salad made from daun singkong (cassava leaves) , papaya leaves, kangkung (an aquatic vegetable), bean and bean sprouts all topped with fried tofu and peanut sauce.  She seems to be mixing the peanut sauce as she needs it.  You can have fried noodles.  She also has unusual noodle crackers.

The real surprise from this clip comes at the end when you can see how she carries her basket wrapped in a sarong.  Such an elegant solution – who needs a backpack when you have a sarong?

Jakarta Street Food: Rangi Cakes

June 16, 2010

It’s a rainy day in Jakarta, traffic slowed down to walking pace.  These crispy coconut flavoured treats would be just the thing at a time like that.

The vendor tries to get away with using a low heat, but the cakes don’t lift off the mould because they aren’t cooked enough, so he puts the cover over and cooks them some more.   No worries, jam karet (time is elastic), they’ll get done sooner or later.  The sticky looking stuff that he spreads on the cake is palm sugar.

Right at the end of the clip, see how he pulls his cart out onto the street, and the car just drives around him.  Try that at home and see how long your cart lasts!

Jakarta Street Food: Asinan (salad)

June 13, 2010

Indonesians do salad differently, as you can see here.  First, bamboo shoots, then carrot (wortel), lettuce, mustard greens, cucumber, then it starts to get interesting – peanuts, krupuk, peanut sauce (yummo!), chili sauce and finally gula jawa!  Gula jawa (also known as gula merah) is a syrup made from coconut flowers.

You see, Indonesian people (particularly the Javanese) have a very sweet tooth.  But you can tell him not to add the syrup.  In fact, you can tell him to add or subtract any of the ingredients as he makes your salad, he won’t mind.  Actually, it’s something to try to remember whenever you’re ordering drinks – if you don’t have a sweet tooth, ask them not to add syrup.  Otherwise they will ruin your tea, coffee, coconut juice and any other fruit juice by making it sickly sweet.

Jakarta Street Food: Kerang Rebus (Boiled Mussels)

June 9, 2010

This one is for the brave or foolish.  You are taking on two risks here.

The first is obviously the chances of food poisoning.  As you’ve seen from the earlier Jakarta Street Foods, some of the vendors have a very low turnover.  Maybe they’ve had a slow day or maybe they consider vending to be a part time occupation, but if this vendor has been hawking mussels all day, there’s a good chance they’re tainted.  It’s ok for the shells to be open when the mussel is cooked, but even the ones that aren’t in the pot are open, which I think is a bad sign.  Anyhow, seafood poisoning can kill you, so be sure to only buy from busy or well known sellers.  Even then, restaurants are a better choice as they have more to lose than a street vendor who doesn’t even have a location.

The second risk is that we don’t know where the shellfish come from.  In the clip, you hear Amri say ‘kerang dari mana, pak?’ (where are the shellfish from, sir?) and the vendor replies ‘kurang tahu’ (I don’t know).  So they could be from anywhere and been exposed to any environment that may be polluted with heavy metals.  Certainly that can happen with any food, but shellfish are more likely to absorb it as they eat by filtering mud and silt from the sea bed. 

Sure, mussels are delicious, but think about the consquences when you’re eating in a foreign country.  You can go too far in trying the local cuisine.

Jakarta Street Food: Bebek Goreng – Fried Duck

June 7, 2010

Remember my post on whole fried chicken?  Well here’s the duck equivalent.  It’s somehow rather poignant to see the little ducky going into the deep fry beak and all.  I guess their little webbed feet go in too, although you don’t get a clear view of their feet in the clip.  We don’t worry about fish being cooked whole with their heads still on, so why should we get squeamish about poultry?

Hmm, what other things get cooked with their heads and feet still on?  Lobsters, crabs and prawns, but we don’t seem to mind that, maybe seafood is exempt.  Whole suckling pig, with the apple in its mouth.  Is that only for cartoons?  I’ve never seen it actually served.  Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the West, we don’t feast anymore, it’s always finger food.  We don’t actually eat anything’s fingers anymore, except for fish fingers, which don’t exist in reality, thankfully.

Jakarta Street Food: Siomay

June 3, 2010

I’m sure I’ve featured siomay before.  This one makes my mouth water though.  Maybe because of the memories it evokes. 

The reason I’m posting this is to show you that some things are better left unseen.  If you watch to the end, and you have an elevated sense of hygeine, you will see why.  Better not to think about things like that when you’re eating street food.  Of course, the vendors will happily allow you to bring your own plate and utensils.  Many vendors use grease-proof paper or banana leaves to wrap the food, as you will have seen from my other posts.  But it’s usually like this.

Of course, nobody every wants to see what goes on in the kitchen of a Western restaurant either, otherwise you would never dine out.

Indonesian Hero: Mamat Gayo

June 1, 2010

If you ever thought the world was against you, or you don’t have the advantages that other people have, you should think about Pak Gayo.  He’s got more spirit than you and me and then some. 

I’ve taken the liberty of having the essay attached to the youtube clip translated because I like this story and there isn’t much information available about him yet.  I’m posting a paragraph in Indonesian and its translation followed by another Indonesian paragraph and so on to help you learn some words if you’re interested in that:

Sosoknya tidak lagi muda. Pun fisiknya tidak seperti orang kebanyakan yang memiliki kedua kaki dan tangan yang sempurna. Pria kelahiran Aceh 68 tahun silam ini kesehariannya berada di pertigaan Jalan Suci, tepatnya Jalan Raya Bogor KM.24 persis di samping Pool Bus Mayasari Bakti. Sekilas saya tidak menyadari keberadaannya, tetapi apa yang dilakukannya membuat saya simpati dan angkat topi. Dengan kondisi fisiknya yang kurang sempurna, ternyata bapak itu bertugas mengatur arus kendaraan di jalan tersebut yang tergolong cukup padat. Hal ini mendorong saya ingin lebih jauh mengenalnya.

He’s not young, nor does he have perfect arms and legs like most people.  This man was born in Aceh 68 years ago.  He usually spends his mornings and afternoons at the corner of Jalan Suci and Jalan Raya Bogor, at the 24km mark, to be precise.  It’s close to the Mayasari Bhakti bus depot.  I didn’t notice him at first.  But seeing what he does fills me with sympathy and admiration.  Despite his serious disabilities he is able to control the traffic at a busy intersection.  Knowing this made me want to learn more about the man.

Mamat Gayo. Begitu nama yang tersemat dekat kantong sebelah kanan baju kepolisiannya. Sudah lebih dari 20 tahun bapak Mamat Gayo menjadi Pembantu Polisi (Banpol). Awalnya pak Mamat adalah Polisi Cepek namun atas kerja kerasnya dan simpati dari kepolisian, akhirnya pak Mamat diangkat menjadi Banpol. Saat ini Pak Mamat menjabat Komandan Banpol dengan empat orang anak buah. Dengan keberadaannya, arus kendaraan menjadi lebih tertib dan dapat membantu oranglain yang kesulitan menyeberang.

 ‘Mamat Gayo’ is the name on the tag attached to his police uniform.  He has been a member of Banpol for 20 years (Pembantu Polisi – civilian police force, trained to assist the police in problems within their neighbourhood).  At first, Mamat Gayo was a ‘Polisi Cepek’ (cepek = 100 rupiah), these are people who take it upon themselves to help the flow of traffic by assisting drivers to make turns, merge etc. in exchange for a tip.  In the old days the tip was 100rp, but thanks to inflation they now expect 1,000rp.  Anyhow, the local police department noticed his diligence and appointed him despite his disabilities.  He is now the commander of his neighbourhood Banpol and has four subordinates.  The local police commandant acknowledges his skills in managing traffic and helping people who have difficulties in crossing the busy street.

Menurut penuturan anak buahnya, pak Mamat adalah seorang pekerja keras dan peduli lingkungan sekitar. Dalam hal kreatifitas pak Mamat mampu membetulkan beberapa barang elektronik dan membuat beberapa perlengkapan isi rumah kontrakkannya dari kayu. Kaditlantas Ciracas yang juga atasannya berpendapat bahwa pak Mamat adalah orang yang jujur dan bertanggung jawab atas pekerjaannya. Dalam kehidupan bermasyarakat, pak Mamat cukup dihormati. Dengan keadaannya, pak Mamat tidak ingin menggantungkan hidupnya kepada orang lain, justru pak Mamat mampu menghidupi seorang istri dan menempatkan anaknya di perguruan tinggi, walau pada akhirnya kekurangan biaya dan harus merelakan anaknya putus dari bangku kuliah. Pak Mamat bertugas pada pagi dan sore hari yaitu pada pukul 07.30 sampai 08.30 dan pukul 15.30 sampai 16.30 WIB.

According to one of his subordinates, Pak Mamat is hard working and cares for his neighbourhood.  He is also good at fixing electronic appliances and he also made most of his own wooden furniture for his house.  His commanding officer, the Kadilantas (Kepala Directorat Lalu-lintas = Director in Chief of Traffic) for the region of Ciracas (a suburb of Bogor, near Jakarta) commends him as honest, responsible and loyal.  Despite his disabilities, Pak Mamat doesn’t rely on other people.  Through his work and odd jobs, he finances his household (he has a wife) and was even able to send his son to college, although the son had to drop out eventually as the cost was too much.  Pak Mamat is on duty at his post in the morning (7:30am to 8:30am) and the afternoon (3:30pm to 4:30pm) WIB (Waktu Indonesia bagian Barat = West Indonesian time zone).

Dalam menjalankan tugasnya sebagai Banpol, pak Mamat mengalami suka dan duka, banyak dari perilaku pengemudi yang bertindak seenaknya dalam berkendaraan. Pak Mamat selalu menanamkan kedisiplinan dan kesopanan dalam bekerja. Alasannya menjadi Banpol selain untuk menghidupi keluarganya pak Mamat juga merasa senang membantu masyarakat yang berkendaraan. Tidaklah besar pendapat sebagai seorang Banpol tetapi menjadi orang yang dapat membantu dan dibutuhkan menjadi kepuasan tersendiri baginya.

Pak Mamat has had good and bad experiences in doing his Banpol duties.  Many drivers and motorcycle riders are careless.  He tries to promote discipline and respect.  Money isn’t the only reason why he does his job.  Pak Mamat is proud to be able to do a civil duty.  He doesn’t get paid much, the real reward is being someone who can help others and this gives him a feeling of being needed by society.

Pak Mamat cukup bangga menjadi pembantu kepolisian. Harapannya agar jasa para Banpol dapat dihargai. Setidaknya ucapan terima kasih atau isyarat tangan cukup membuat pak Mamat senang. Pertemuan saya dengan pak Mamat membuat saya sadar, atas perilaku berkendaraan pengemudi bermotor dan peranan polisi lalu lintas. Selama ini banyak masyarakat merasa takut dengan kehadiran polisi. Padahal jika kita savety riding tentunya tidak ada alasan untuk merasa takut. Gaji mereka tidaklah besar tetapi beban kerja dan tanggung jawabnya begitu besar.

Pak Mamat is proud to be able to help the police.  He wishes people would give more respect to the Banpols.  Just for someone to say thanks or wave a hand while passing means a lot to him and brightens his day.  Talking with Pak Mamat has opened my eyes to the many problems with traffic and why people are usually afraid of the police.  But if we adopt safe driving practices, we really have nothing to worry about from the police.  Police and banpol have low salaries, but the burden of their responsibilities is huge, greatly in excess of their pay.

Polisi dan masyarakat ibarat dua sisi keping mata uang yang tidak dapat dipisahkan. Sepatutnya kita sebagai masyarakat turut menjaga keamanan dan ketertiban di Jakarta. Sebagai contoh, keberhasilan polisi dalam memberantas terorisme sangatlah memerlukan partisipasi aktif dari masyarakat. Mari jadikan Jakarta lebih baik, aman, dan nyaman. Dan jangan biarkan pak Mamat bekerja sendiri..

Police and people are two sides of a coin.  They cannot be separated, each must work with the other to achieve public order and safety in Jakarta.  An example is terrorism.  The police can only capture and destroy the terrorist gangs because of help from ordinary people.  So let’s make Jakarta become a better, safer city and a more comfortable place to live.  Don’t let people like Pak Mamat work alone.

I don’t know for sure what caused his disability.  It’s possibly a hereditary disease or may have been caused by poor nutrition when his mother was carrying him.