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Jakarta Street Food Scene: Truly Indonesia


Living in a country that has endless variety of food and drinks, Indonesians do eat out, but the majority does not go to restaurants. The local food scene relies heavily on street food. Indonesians savour the delicious meals offered by ubiquitous street vendors day and night for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Street food is a quick meal sold by a vendor with a push cart, basket, at a stall, or possibly at a store where customers can see the preparation of food clearly. It provides a close connection between the customer and the street food, unlike having a plate of food in a restaurant.

The types of food offered vary from a simple fried tofu to a much more complicated dish like gudeg (raw jackfruit cooked in a Javanese traditional way that originated from Yogyakarta ). In big cities like Jakarta , Surabaya, Bandung, Semarang and Medan, the street vendors offer many a traditional food from various regions in the archipelago. But in smaller cities, they are usually of the local cuisine.The most commonly found street food is bakso or meatballs that are usually served in a bowl, like soup, with noodles, bean curds (tofu), eggs, and/or fried meat.
Another popular soup-like street food is soto. It is mainly comprised of broth and vegetables. The meats most commonly used are beef and chicken, but there are also sotos with mutton and pork. It is usually accompanied by rice or compressed rice. Sotos are differentiated by the ingredients in them, such as soto ayam (chicken) and soto kambing (mutton).

There are many sotos in Indonesia, as different regions and ethnicities have their own ways of preparing the cuisine, such as soto Madura (from East Java ), soto Betawi (from Jakarta ), soto Padang (from West Sumatra ), so to Bandung (from West Java ), soto Banjar (from South Kalimantan ), and coto Makassar (from South Sulawesi ).

The other popular delicacy often sold by street vendors is satay. It is a dish consisting of chunks or slices of dice-sized meat (chicken, goat, lamb, beef, pork, or fish) on bamboo skewers, which are grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings, mostly made of ground nuts. Satay may have originated in Java or Sumatra, but is very popular outside Indonesia too. Similar to soto bakso and soto, there are many types of satay from sate Madura to Padang, sate Iilit, sate susu, kulit, sate Ponorogo and many more.

Nasi goreng (steamed rice stir-fried with eggs, meatballs, chicken/beef/shrimp, assorted vegetables and often with sweet soy sauce seasoning) is also very popular along with nasi rawon (rice served with dark beef soup) originally from East Java . The dark colour comes from the meaty seeds of kluwak nuts. Usually served with uncooked mung bean sprouts and salty duck eggs, pecel (a mixture of vegetables and traditional crackers with spicy peanut paste). Madiun and Blitar in East Java are popular for their pecel and gado-gado (a mixture of vegetables, crackers and rice with peanut flavoured sauce). The taste is sweet in Eastern Java and salty in Western Java.

To Stay

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Jusenny Hotel

29 Senayan Street, Block S, Kebayoran Baru Jakarta

Blok S Suites

Jl. Senayan No. 11 Blok S, Jakarta Selatan 12180 Jakarta Jakarta

Losari Blok M2 Hotel Jakarta

St Hasanuddin Street No. 30 12160 Jakarta West Java

Ambhara Hotel

Jl. Iskandarsyah Raya No.1 Jakarta

Griyadi Blue Pacific Hotel

JL.Sultan Hasanudin No. 42 Blok M Jakarta

Hotel Ambhara Jakarta

Jalan Iskandarsyah Raya No 1, Jakarta , Indonesia, 12160 Jakarta

M Hotel

Jl. Melawai VI No.27 12160 Jakarta

Amaris Hotel Tendean

Jl Kapten P Tendean No 11, Jakarta , Indonesia, 12710 Jakarta

Losari Blok M Hotel Jakarta

Jl. Panglima Polim Raya No. 3 12160 Jakarta Jakarta

Golden Boutique Hotel Melawai

Jl. Melawai VIII No. 6-8 Jakarta

Amos Cozy Hotel

Melawai Raya 83-85 Jakarta

Neo Hotel Melawai - Jakarta

Panglima Polim Street No.15 12160 Jakarta

To Eat

If you’re feeling less adventurous, you can refer to our Jakarta Dining Guide. You can also click the Find a Restaurant button to browse around the oh-so-many choices available in Jakarta .


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