Jakarta Foods Guide: Things to Eat in Jakarta

Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. A big part of the country’s activities happens in Jakarta. The lure of Jakarta’s business attracts the people from outside of the city to come and have a bite of the city’s success. This makes Jakarta full of people from around the country. Together they make a fusion of different cultures and culinary tastes.

For the culinary traveler, Jakarta offers a various range of cuisine. In Jakarta, you can find almost all Indonesia’s foods. From the street hawkers to the fine dining restaurants, you might find the best things to eat in Jakarta. Jakarta also has its authentic food. Most of them are by Chinese, Indian, and European food.

The best street foods in Jakarta are a guilty pleasure treat for everybody. The prices are somehow affordable yet rich in taste. There are no standard tastes of these Jakarta street foods. Therefore, you might want to ask around about the best street food seller in town.

Jakarta Foods You Must Try

So, are you ready to tantalize your palate with Jakarta foods? Let’s take a look at some.

1. Martabak

Martabak is a soft layered pancake with sweet fillings. It is fluffy and baked in a round pan, and then filled with condensed milk. Other fillings may involve chocolate spread, cheese, chopped peanuts, and sesame.

There are always more options in the fillings. Martabak sellers try to modify the fillings with Toblerone, Nutella, and other sweet fillings that you can drool over with.

You can find martabak seller on most of the Jakarta streets. But, some of them have an amazing taste for the martabak, and some of the rest can be considered average. The price starts from IDR 20.000,00 to IDR 100.000,00 depends on the fillings. However, the price will give you a whole box of martabak which can serve 2 to 4 persons.

The most famous martabak seller is the Martabak AA Minangkabau on Minangkabau Street and Martabak Boss which can be found at Agus Salim Street, Panglima Polim Street, and Tebet area.

2. Ketoprak

This food is rather hard to find. Ketoprak is one of the original Jakarta foods. It contains ketupat, which is a kind of soft rice cake, tofu, bean sprouts, and vermicelli. The ingredients are chopped and doused with peanut sauce. The toppings will be fried shallots sprinkle and fried rice crackers.

The taste of the peanut sauce can be spicy depending on your request. Ketoprak has a strong taste of garlic and fresh bean sprout. This is a good breakfast menu since it has enough carbohydrate on its ketupat.

The average price of ketoprak would be around IDR 12.000,00 and would be pricier on an upscale location.

3. Kerak Telor

Kerak telor which means “egg crust” is a classic street food originated from old-time Jakarta or Batavia. Made from fresh eggs and sticky rice, kerak telor is fried in a small pan. Once the egg is cooked, the food is topped with shred coconut, fried shallot, and small fried shrimps.

Sometimes they serve kerak telot on a paper platter or rolled in the paper like kebab serving. This is a tasty snack that you can find all around the old part of Jakarta city especially on Fatahillah Museum square.

Historically, they would serve kerak telor on royal parties and meetings. This is because the ingredients are premium commodities at that time. Nowadays, it is merely a street food. The price starts at IDR 10.000,00, and it would be different depending on your egg choice. The duck egg would be tastier than a chicken egg, yet it is more expensive.

4. Bakso

Influenced by Chinese food, Bakso is a fine meatball with beef broth soup. The bakso vendor might serve the bakso with vermicelli or noodle to complete the dish. To top the dish, sprinkle fresh chopped leek and fried shallots.

You can find bakso seller almost everywhere. They are selling it on street food hawkers and restaurants. Among all types of meatball around the world, Indonesian meatball is denser and firmer. Jakarta people like to have bakso with spicy broth by adding chili sauce to the soup. The fact that it’s served hot and sometimes spicy makes bakso refreshing for them.

A bowl of bakso ranges from IDR 10.000 to IDR 15.000,00. Of course, if you are ordering bakso at a restaurant or mall, the price can be higher. To find bakso seller, you will need to pay attention around because there might be one seller nearby.

5. Nasi Padang

Padang is a city in Sumatera Island of Indonesia. Padang traditional foods meet the demand of most Indonesian taste buds. So, there are many Padang restaurants around Jakarta.

These restaurants often called “Nasi Padang” which means Rice of Padang. Some of these Nasi Padang are the best restaurant in Jakarta. This is the best place to go if you want to know the real taste of West Indonesian culinary characteristic.

The foods are often spicy because they use chilies in most of the dishes. It is rich in taste due to the use of local spices and seasonings. You will also find that some of the foods use coconut milk which enriches the taste.

And obviously, you should try “rendang”—spicy beef dish, which is one of the most delicious food in the world. Also, get your hands on “dendeng paru balado” which is a spicy fried cow lung.

Looking on the health sides, we wouldn’t recommend you eat the dishes on a daily basis. However, you can always experience this food street delight anytime. You can pick a big clean looking Padang Restaurant, but usually, the price would be higher.

While on an average looking restaurant, a plate of Nasi Padang will cost you around IDR 20.000,00 to IDR 30.000,00 depending on your dish choice.

Well, there are actually still more to Jakarta foods. One of the best tips is, if you find the queue is long, then the food might taste like heaven. It is only a nature of Jakarta people to select the best food seller and be a loyal customer there.

The best thing about the Jakarta traditional food is that none of them have a high price. Sure, if you are ordering the menu at a mall restaurant, the price would be much higher. Sometimes, people are choosing the street food over restaurant food because it couldn’t taste better to eat the food at its street stall. Healthy or not, they really are delicious guilty pleasures.

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