Jakarta Street Food Guide

Living in this capital of Indonesia is best for few reasons. One of it: Food sellers walk around my neighborhood with their pushcart or bicycle to offer and deliver meal or beverages directly to the front of my door starting from 5am until11pm. Here is my chronicle.


Indonesian main staple is rice. This dish of “bubur” is made by cooking rice with extra amount of water, garnished with fried soy beans and shredded fried chicken plus some other things on top of yellow curry broth. Not vegetarian friendly.

Price = Rp.7,000.


This dish is combination of small cuts of rice cake (ketupat made by cooking rice is coconut leaf wrappings), a piece of fried soy cake or tofu (tahu goreng) and vegetable curry made from shredded chayote (sayur labu siam). Non vegetarian can add hard boiled egg.

Those shrimp crackers (kerupuk udang) is not vegetarian friendly, you can skip it.

Add red chilli paste (sambal) to get more spicy and hot taste.

Price: Rp.8,000 (basic) or Rp.11,000 (with additional egg).


Kembang Tahu in a bowl consists of soft tofu chunks with hot ginger syrup. Perfect for snacking. 100% vegetarian.

Price: Rp.6,000.


Tapai is Indonesian dish made by inoculating carbohydrate source with the required microorganisms starter culture (a kind of yeast) to generate fermentation. My mom often bought fermented casava (tapai made from singkong or cassava), soft with sweet and sour taste plus a bit alcoholic aroma sensation. Sometimes she mixed it with flour then deep-fried became “rondo royal” (tapai cake).


Price: Rp.7,000 for 500 grams (enough for 2-3 persons as tea-time snack).

*11am = KETOPRAK

It’s also a dish of rice cake cuts and fried tofu chunks like Lontong Sayur, but this one got peanut sauce (with heavy garlic aroma) plus vermicelli (bihun) and boiled bean sprouts (tauge) for lunch. Vegetarian friendly without shrimp crackers.

Choose your spiciness level when order:
– Plain (gak pedas) = no chilli.
– A bit spicy (pedas dikit) = one chilli.
– Spicy (pedas) = two chillis.
– Very spicy (pedas banget) = three chillis or more.

Price: Rp.12,000

*1pm = BASO TAHU

This steaming hot dish is good for lunch. Noodles, vermicelli, meat balls (baso) and tofu with ground meat filling (baso tahu), doused with beef broth and garnished with celery leaves also tomato sauce and red chilli paste. There is no vegetarian option.

Price = Rp.12,000


Otak means brain in Bahasa Indonesia but otak otak means grilled fish cake (ikan = fish), served with peanut sauce dipping.

Price = @Rp.1,500 or Rp.20,000 for 15 pieces.

*5pm = SIOMAY

It’s a kind of Chinese dimsum. There are boiled/steamed potato, cabagge, egg, fish cake, also pare (Momordica charantia, known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, or balsam-pear) with peanut sauce, chilli sauce plus few drops of juice of squeezed key lime.

Price = Rp.10,000 for a dish consists of 10 small pieces.

*7pm = SATE AYAM

It is grilled chicken chunks on wooden skewer, garnished with peanut sauce, can add chilli paste for hot and spicy taste. Usually eaten with lontong (long rice cake wrapped in banana leaves) or plain steamed rice.

Price = Rp.15,000 for 10 sticks and @Rp.2,000 for lontong.


Nasi means rice, mie means noodles, kwetiau means wide thick Chinese noodles (Hanzi: 粿條). Goreng literary means fry but actually Nasi/Mie/Kwetiau Goreng is stir-fried rice/noodles/kwetiau with egg, spices, shredded fried chicken and meatballs, cabbage, lettuce, also chilli paste (when customer wants it hot spicy).

The serving is garnished with cucumber, pickled carrot and green chillis, plus shrimp crackers.

To get a vegetarian version, tell the seller:
– Gak pakai telor = no egg.
– Gak pakai ayam = no chicken.
– Gak pakai baso = no meatball.
– Gak pakai kerupuk = no shrimp cracker.
– Sayur aja = just vegetables.

To request spicy level:
– Gak pedas = not spicy.
– Pedas dikit = a bit spicy.
– Pedas = spicy.
– Pedas banget = very spicy.

Price = Rp.12,000.

*11pm = SEKOTENG

This cup of hot ginger ale is perfect to keep our body warm at midnight. A kind of snack not just beverage because there are mung beans, croutons, tapioca pearls then added with sweet condensed milk (high calories not good for people who wanted lose weight like me, hehehe…).

Price = Rp.7,000.


  • Exchange rate (end of April 2017): US$1 = Rp.13,300. Means Rp.121,000 or US$9.10 for all above meal in one whole day, eating/snacking every couple of hours.
  • Prices are 2x more expensive at food courts, 3x at restaurants.
  • I had above meal and snack not in one day but within three weekends.

Snowbay, Polar Sensation Under Tropical Sun

Snowbay is a waterpark located in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia Mini Park, http://www.tamanmini.com). Inaugurated in 2009, it provides polar sensation with themed decoration of snowy mountain with polar bear and penguins. But nothing cold under Jakarta’s tropical sun, visitors can enjoy the facilities all year long. Open daily, 9:00am – 6:00pm.

Google maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/ZeqiSNiL26r

Public transport: TransJakarta bus towards Pinang Ranti (route no. 9), get off at Garuda Taman Mini (stop no.9-2), then walk to Snowbay (1.6 km or 1 mile). Save energy by taking “angkot” (red minivan) no. S05 until entrance gate (Pintu 1) of Taman Mini then walk 10 minutes to Snowbay. To see this route, visit https://goo.gl/maps/UqfAJUBcJFs

Visitor must pay Rp.10,000 at entrance gate before entering Taman Mini. Its actually an interesting national park that hosts real size building of traditional houses of all 34 provinces in Indonesia also bird park, komodo park, flower garden, museums etc. On some weekends, there would be traditional at performances,  check http://www.tamanmini.com/pesona_indonesia/ for more details.

Snowbay entrance tickets = Rp.140,000 (weekdays) or Rp.180,000 (weekends and public holidays). Half price for “last minute” (visit after 4:00pm). Holders of some credit/debit/membership cards can get 30-45% price reduction as detailed on their official website http://snowbay.co.id

I bought my tickets from https://myfave.com then only paid @Rp.79,200.

Not much crowd when we arrived at 10:00am. Its wave pool was quite empty.

Lots of fun! I always love to float along Lazy River.

Alif wanted to make these underwater poses.


  • Storage locker was Rp.30,000 per access. This fare for one time unlocking means visitor must repay some amount when open the locker then want to lock it again. That’s overpriced, better keep your valuable belonging in your vehicle (I went there on motorbike then kept my wallet and phone in storage space under the seat). 
  • Visitors are not allowed to bring any food/beverage, must buy from sellers in park area when hungry/thirsty. Because everything was overpriced (3x than normal price) then better leave your own food/beverage outside the park then get out whenever you want to eat/drink.
  • Gazebo rent was Rp.120,000 per 3 hours (weekend) or Rp.100,000 per day (weekday). Just leave your toilettries on available benches under umbrellas to save money.
  • The parking lot was securely supervised by park staffs. However, annoyingly they would ask for tip (which I refused to give because I paid Rp.6,000 at entrance gate already…I just didnt like to pay for illegal charge).

After fun four hours, Alif and I left Snowbay, went around Taman Mini for another hour before go home. See you again later, penguins!

Monumen Nasional

Well, many tourists might leave Jakarta without a selfie in front of this landmark…but I wish it could be like nobody would leave Paris without a selfie in front of Eiffel Tower.

MOnumen NASional (National Monument), shortened MONAS by Indonesians, is gigantic obelisk that was once symbol of pride of the nation. Standing tall in the middle of “Lapangan Merdeka” (Independence Square), topped with bronze flame structure that covered with 50 kg of pure gold. This Wikipedia page provided more details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_(Indonesia)

Google maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/cJKHihvDzMt (easy access by TransJakarta bus from any part of Jakarta).

My son and I arrived at the square around 7:30 AM, but had to walk quite far to the entrance gate of the monument that located at north side.

There were so many people already queued, it took 1.5 hours from waiting for ticket counters to open at 8:05 AM, queued to top up my JakCard, walked through underground tunnel, queued for elevator to viewing deck.

Entrance fee: Rp.15000 (adults), Rp.8000 (college students), Rp.4000 (children). Exchange rate: US$1 = Rp.13000.

Opening hours of elevator to reach the top was 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (limited for 1800 visitors/day) and 7:00 PM-10:00 PM (limited for 700 visitors/night).

Binoculars (free of charge) with displays of explanations of govt building in the surrounding area.

Selfie at 120 m above ground level. :)


Presidential Palace at northwest side.

Masjid Istiqlal (biggest mosque in South East Asia that can accommodate 250,000 people) at northeast. That was Jakarta port far away in the horizon, visitors can see ships but unluckily I couldnt captured it with my camera.

South Jakarta panorama, that was Mount Salak at the background.

It was 10:30 AM already when we got back to ground level then proceeded to see displays in diorama hall later went to “Independence Room”.

Diorama hall was nice and clean place for rest, there was adequate musala (pray room for Muslim) but ladies’ room were only 2 units and not really convenient.

My most favorite diorama depicting Indonesian 1st plane made by IPTN, 1995.

Vending machine. Seems like getting softdrink from it amused those teenagers. :D


Inside Independence Room.


I wanted to listen to that recording of Indonesian 1st President, Ir. Soekarno, reading declaration of independence of this country on August 17, 1945. But it was hourly event, I was too tired to wait another half an hour (would be okay to wait if I brought some snacks, but I didn’t) then we just left.

There were orange “kereta wisata” (touristic trains – free of charge), but I didn’t want to waste time for another queuing.

Interesting diorama of “chasing Pokémon”, hahahaha…

Our selfie, pardon his tired and bored look…should have taken this photo earlier in the morning. :(

It was interesting experience, definitely MONAS is a must visit landmark in Jakarta.



  • Better go to MONAS on workdays for less queue if you want to go up high to viewing deck, or get there early like 7 AM on weekends/public holidays.
  • Avoid queuing by get your JakCard in advance (loaded with sufficient amount of money) from any TransJakarta bus station.


JakCard is pre-loaded pay card (e-money) from Bank DKI, Jakarta govt owned bank. This card also can be used to pay to get a ride on TransJakarta bus and KRL commuter line (electric train system that connects Jakarta to suburban cities), Ragunan zoo entrance, etc.

One fine afternoon at UI, RSCM, Eijkman Institute

This Monday afternoon – September 12, 2016 (national holiday of Eid Qurban) then Alif and I didn’t go far for vacation. We went to campus of University of Indonesia at Salemba street, Central Jakarta, walked around (some security guards voluntarily kindly guided us) before we ended the day with burger and fries at McDonald’s across the street.

Google maps location: http://goo.gl/4qaFXg


Official website: http://www.ui.ac.id

Universitas Indonesia (UI) is the oldest tertiary-level educational institution in Indonesia (known as the Dutch East Indies when UI was established). Generally considered as the most prestigious university in Indonesia, in the 2015/2016 QS World Universities Ranking, UI is ranked 1st in Indonesia, 79th in Asia and 358th in the world.

The roots of UI date back to 1851. At that time, the colonial government of the Dutch East Indies established a school to train medical assistants. Training lasted for two years, and the graduates were certified to provide basic medical treatments. The degree conferred was Javanese Doctor, as the graduates were certified only to open their practice in the Dutch East Indies, especially Java. The program became more comprehensive; by 1864 it was expanded to three years. By 1875, the program of study had reached seven years and the graduates were entitled to the degree of Medical Doctor.

The next step came in 1898, when the Dutch East Indies government established a new school to train local people to become medical doctors, named STOVIA (School tot Opleiding van Inlandsche Artsen). The prerequisite to enter STOVIA was roughly the equivalent of a junior high school diploma. The schooling took nine years, so it was a mix between high school and university education.

In 1924, the colonial government again decided to open a new tertiary-level educational facility, the RHS (Rechts Hogeschool), to train civilian officers and servants. The RHS would later evolve into the Faculty of Law.

In 1927, STOVIA’s status was changed to that of a full tertiary-level institution and its name was changed to GHS (Geneeskundige Hogeschool). The GHS occupied the same main building and used the same teaching hospital as the current Medical Faculty.

After Indonesia gained independence, the Indonesian Institute for Higher Education (BPTRI) was established in Jakarta consisting of three faculties: Medical and Pharmacy, Letters, and Law. The institute produced its first 90 graduate students as medical doctors in the same year.

When the Dutch colonial army occupied Jakarta in late 1945, the BPTRI moved to Klaten, Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Malang. In 1946, the Dutch colonial government established the Nood Universiteit or Emergency University at Jakarta. In 1947, the name was changed to Universiteit van Indonesië (UVI) or Universitas Indonesia. Following the Indonesian National Revolution, the government established a state university in Jakarta in February 1950. The name was Universiteit Indonesia, comprising the BPTRI units and the former UVI, which was later changed into Universitas Indonesia (UI).

By 1950, UI was a multi-campus university, with faculties in Jakarta (Medical, Law, and Letters), Bogor (Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine), Bandung (Engineering, Mathematics and Natural Sciences), Surabaya (Medical and Dentistry), and Makassar (Economics). The Surabaya campus became the University of Airlangga in 1954. In the following year, the Makassar campus became the University of Hasanuddin. In 1959, the Bandung campus became the Bandung Institute of Technology. The School for Physical Education, which was also in Bandung, became part of Padjadjaran University in 1960. In 1964, the Bogor campus became the Bogor Agricultural Institute and the Faculty of Education in Jakarta became the State University of Jakarta.

By 1965, UI consisted of three campuses, all in Jakarta: Salemba (Medical, Dentistry, Economics, Engineering, Science and the Graduate School), Rawamangun (Letters, Law, Social Science and Psychology) and Pegangsaan (Public Health and parts of Medical).

In 1987, all faculties from the Salemba and Rawamangun campuses (other than Medical and Dentistry) moved to a newly built campus in the outskirts of Jakarta. The campus in southern Jakarta is known as the Depok campus (because it’s located in the city of Depok).


Official website: http://www.rscm.co.id

Google map location: http://goo.gl/WsKKmn


Indonesian’s abbreviation for this national hospital is RSCM, Rumah Sakit Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo.

The history of this hospital is related with the history of Medical Faculty, University of Indonesia, since the developing of these two institutions rely on each other and fill each other.

Established since November 19, 1919 as CBZ (Centrale Burgulijke ziekenhuis), the hospital was tied with STOVIA.

In March 1942 when Indonesia is settled by Japan, CBZ became university hospital (Ika Daigaku Byongin).

In the 1945, CBZ changed its name to Rumah Sakit Oemoem Negeri (RSON) before changed it again to Rumah Sakit Umum Pusat (RSUP) in 1950.

On August 17, 1964 then Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Satrio, legalized RSUP became Rumah Sakit Dr. Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo (RSTM). With new Indonesian spelling since 1972, “tj” = “c” and “oe” = “u”, then it’s abbreviation became RSCM.

Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo (1886-1943) was one of Indonesian first medical doctor who fought for the country’s independence through diplomatic channels.


Official website: http://www.eijkman.go.id

Google map location: http://goo.gl/5a3Vhj


The current full name of this institution is Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology.

The Eijkman Institute is one of the most prestigious and internationally acclaimed research institutions ever established in Indonesia. From its foundation in 1888 as a Research Laboratory for Pathology and Bacteriology, the institute has had a long and proud scientific tradition. Here, Christiaan Eijkman, its first director, carried out most of his early work, which resulted in the great discovery of the relationship between vitamin B1 deficiency and beri-beri.

In recognition of his fundamental work, upon which the modern concept of vitamins is based, Eijkman won a Nobel Prize in 1929. The research laboratory was subsequently designated as the Central Medical Laboratory and later, at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Eijkman Institute. At its peak early last century, the Eijkman Institute was a world of famous center for tropical medicine, but it was closed in the 1960’s amid the economic hardships that followed the struggle for Indonesian independence.

Later The Eijkman Institute has been revived as a response to the urgent need of Indonesia for a biomedical research institute capable of tapping the substantial growth of knowledge and the technological developments that have been made in molecular cell biology in recent years; a development that has led to considerable advances in medicine and biotechnology, with all their associated industrial and commercial implications.

The initiative to revive the Eijkman Institute as a medium by which to establish a research institute of international standing in molecular cell biology was conceived in the office of the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology. It was endorsed by the President of Indonesia at the centenary commemoration of Christiaan Eijkman’s discovery of vitamin B1 deficiency as the cause of beri-beri in December 1990. The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology formally came into existence in July 1992, commenced operations in April 1993 and was officially inaugurated by President Soeharto on 19th September 1995.

Today, the institute is again a vibrant research environment. The number of international scientific collaborations has significantly increased. They include the Australia-Indonesia Medical Research Initiative (AIMRI) with the Water and Eliza Hall Institute as well as a relationship with Monash University in Melbourne, Australia which focuses on the molecular biology of the malaria infection. Special relationships with the University of Indonesia, Monash University, University of Queensland in Australia, and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, allow the institute to conduct master and doctoral programs. The institute is a key node in the national science and technology network, and for several years has involved a national research mentoring grant scheme for novice scientists in medical research. As initially intended, the institute brings together a critical mass of scientists with a wide range of expertise, essential for any successful endeavour in modern biomedical and biotechnological research.

There was a tragic history about this institute as recorded on http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/K/e/Kempeitai.htm

In February 1944, an outbreak of tetanus among hundreds of Javanese laborers was traced to contaminated vaccines. Professor Doctor Muchtar (Director of The Eijkman Institute, first Indonesian who held that position) treated many of the victims and blamed the outbreak on botched preparation of the vaccines by Japanese military doctors. The Kempeitai intervened, accused Dr. Muchtar of deliberately contaminating the vaccines to prevent the laborers from working for the Japanese, and imprisoned him for nine months before beheading him and running over his body with a steam roller. Given the role of the Kempeitai in biological warfare research, it is reasonable to suspect the vaccines were deliberately contaminated by the Japanese doctors as part of a biological warfare experiment and Professor Muchtar was murdered to cover up this fact. Indonesian nationalist leader Sukarno accepted the Kempeitai version of the incident, inflating the number of victims to “tens of thousands” in his memoirs.


Source: Wikipedia and respective official websites.

Chinatown Walking Tour

It’s been a while that I didn’t get around my own city (and almost 2 years since last time I wrote travel notes on this blog). So, when my BFF informed me about a free walking tour in Chinatown area then I asked her to register me and my son along with her and family.

Organized by http://www.wisatasekolah.com

The meeting point was in front of 7-Eleven at Novotel Gajah Mada (https://goo.gl/maps/ZMTYvQwa8D12). There were four groups to accommodate participants who didn’t arrive exactly at 9:00 AM as scheduled. My group with Oka’s family started our tour at 10:05 AM.


We reveived free souvenirs and bottled drink.

Group photo before started our tour.

Pre-walk briefing by our tour guide, Candha, he’s volunteer from http://jakartagoodguide.wordpress.com

First stop: Candra Naya Building (http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/08/02/candra-naya-besieged-still-charming.html), built in 19th century then used as home and office by a rich Chinese major.

Google maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/LcHHB8j5FMu (the whole area once belonged to Khouw Kim An who had separated building to live with his 14 wives and 24 children, which was already demolished, and empty yards around it had been occupied by hotel and apartment high rise buildings).




Nobody lived there since few decades ago. Right wing of the building became some coffee shops. Some other sections were vacant then available for rent, means could be used for wedding party etc.


Next stop: Pasar Glodok. It was traditional Chinese market, the only place to buy pork during colonial time but currently known as electronic mall to buy gadget and home appliances at bargain price. Here we stopped a while when Candha explained a brief history of Chinese people in Indonesia.

During colonial time, people who had Chinese heritage were not counted as local but just temporary residents. Few times they suffered genocide i.e. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1740_Batavia_massacre then not allowed to settle outside this area which is now known as “Glodok” until years later.

Further reading: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Indonesians


Behind that modern electronic mall there was a street (Jalan Kemenangan or traditionally known as “Petak Sembilan”) where Indonesian Chinese people sell snacks and knick-knacks.




Expensive sea cucumber, US$22.50 each.

At the end of Jalan Kemenangan, we visited a Buddhist temple. It burned out, seven months ago (http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/03/jakarta-s-historic-dharma-bhakti-temple-gutted-overnight-blaze.html) and was still in renovation process.





We continued walking to Jalan Kemenangan III and made a stop at a Catholic church.




Few minutes walk from that church, we visited another Buddhist temple, still on Jalan Kemenangan III.






Later we passed a small alley at front left side of the temple, a very interesting place for culinary tour (but halal food was rare to find) called “Gloria Food Alley”.


Finally we reached our last point: Chandra Building at Jalan Pancoran.


It was 12:10 PM when Candha finished our walking tour. It was free of charge but participants chipped-in to give him a tip.


Last pose with Candha.

Alif and I, along with Oka, Muadzin, Alayka, Arkan, Axan then walked to old town area to have lunch at Historia.



See you at another time, Lovely Jakarta!


A Weekend at Atlantis Waterpark, Ancol

Mumpung ada promo buy 1 get 1 dari Indosat (http://www.indosat.com/Programs/Indosat_Programs/Buy_1_Get_1_Tiket_Ancol), jadilah kami sekeluarga berkunjung ke Atlantis, Minggu – 14 April 2013. Tiket masuk perorang menjadi hanya Rp.55,000.

Tentu saja, Alif mencoba atraksi terbaru mereka yaitu “Crazy Highest Longest Slide” (http://www.ancol.com/berita/detail/894/launching.crazy.highest.longest.slide.15.desember.2012.di.atlantis.ancol.taman.impian).



What a fun Sunday afternoon!