Posts Tagged ‘jakarta’

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: Es Cincau (“Grass Jelly”)

July 7, 2010

This is a refreshing snack for a hot day.  You can see the ice is already almost melted by the time the syrup has been poured on.

I’ve never tried what they call “grass jelly” at a Chinese restaurant, only at traditional-style Indonesian ones.  However the idea for this dessert is said to have come from China and spread throughout SE Asia all the way to Indonesia.  The fact they call it ‘grass jelly’ makes me wonder whether it’s really the same thing.  Because in Indonesia they use tree leaves to make it.

Here is the tree where the leaves come from:

cincau tree

And here are the leaves being processed to make the jelly:

Making cincau

I can’t think of any Western food that is made with tree leaves, except maybe those Greek snacks that are rolled in grape leaves – and grape vines don’t qualify as trees.  But in Indonesia there are quite a few.

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.