Jakarta is not Indonesia’s capital city just for its horrendous traffic and blinding city lights. Even among the everyday routine that seems to be endless, Jakarta still offers the best street foods available to help us get by. Nowadays, high end restaurants are trying to tackle the authentic taste of street foods in their refined establishments, although we have to agree that nothing beats the real experience of eating good by the sidewalk!
Bet you have tried these before, but then again, some of you might not, so buckle up for JCF’s version of 5 iconic street foods you can’t afford to miss in Jakarta!
(Image source: @jessica_gaby)
Easily the core of Jakarta’s authentic street food, nasi uduk translates as ‘mixed rice’ due to its various condiments. Nasi uduk uses fragrant rice that is cooked with coconut milk instead of water, giving it the distinctive creamy yet savory taste on every spoonful. Tempeh, fried glass noodle, hard-boiled egg, sambal, and crackers are the basic various condiments, but its variety depends on each seller. Usually sold in the morning for breakfast, it has also become the most searched late-night binge after a hard night of partying. Needless to say, nasi uduk is Jakartans top choice of street food when they crave their daily carb fix.
Okay, if nasi uduk is the top choice for breakfast, then bubur ayam is another favorite beloved by many. A bowl of hot porridge served with flavorful chicken stock can never go wrong in the morning. This common Asian dish also has various condiments, but mostly you can find shredded chicken, tongcay (preserved salted vegetables), cakwe (Chinese style churros), chopped celery, fried shallots, and crackers with your bubur ayam. Many sellers coming from different regions have their own special broth, but in the capital you’ll mostly find the Betawi-style bubur ayam with its distinctive yellow curry-like broth.
To put it simply, kerak telor is Betawi traditional omelet dish. In the colonial era, kerak telor was a privileged food and was served in big parties for colonial government or rich native. It is made of glutinous rice cooked with either duck or chicken egg. The seller doesn’t use any kind of oil while cooking, that’s why it’s called kerak (crust). Kerak telor is graced with a handful of toppings; ebi (dried salted shrimp), serundeng (sweet grated coconut granules), chopped chili, and seasoning. Kerak telor becomes a special dish that’s sold during yearly exhibition such as Pekan Raya Jakarta or Jakarta Anniversary.
Guilty pleasure at its finest! Originally from Egypt, martabak manis is Indonesian-style super thick pancake that is rich with butter, cheese, chocolate sprinkles, peanuts, condensed milk, and other revolutionary toppings such as Nutella spread, Ovomaltine spread, and even green tea flavored martabak manis! Usually sold at night, martabak manis is considered as a decadent snack right after a hearty dinner.
Soto usually has clear broth with light, refreshing taste, but this one is different. Soto Betawi is not for the faint of heart! Seriously, sliced beef in a soup that’s made from coconut milk and fresh milk? Soto Betawi is an incredible dish that is accompanied by rice, pickles, and sambal to ease off the heaviness from the broth. It has a complex taste ranging from grandly piquant (thanks to aromatic herbs such as galangal, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, and candlenuts), to the creamy aftertaste from the fresh milk.