[tourismindonesia] Feeding Yourself in Indonesia's Capital After Midnight

Feeding Yourself in Indonesia's Capital After Midnight
Lisa Siregar | January 14, 2011

Indonesia. Nearing 10 o'clock, Jakarta slowly loses its frantic pace as malls close their doors for the day and people leave office buildings to reunite with their families at home. But for the hard-working souls in the Big Durian this may be the only time to have a leisurely bite after a long and hectic day.

While it goes without saying that Jakarta is a city that never sleeps, it should also be noted that when the shopping malls close, another type of nightlife begins to emerge.

After midnight, street vendors serving up every kind of traditional dishes imaginable can be found on corners and along streets throughout the city. Their existence has created a type of sub-culture among the capital's youth.

Febi Rosseva Amalinda enjoys hanging out with her friends after midnight. "I think it's a fun custom," she said, adding that her favorite late-night hangout is Roti Bakar Edi in South Jakarta.

Febi said many young people have become bored with spending their free time at malls. "After they watch a movie or finish shopping, young people want a different kind of experience."

Besides its relaxed atmosphere, she said the tasty food is the main attraction of night street food vendors. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that she only spends around Rp 50,000 ($6) on these post-midnight excursions.

Bayu said that although people can buy the same kind of food at malls, the experience "is not the same."

"If you want to eat the tastiest food, street vendors are where it's at."

Bayu said he likes to go to a late night hangout on Blok S on weekends after partying at a club. "What's better than eating a nice and warm fried rice after you've had a fair amount to drink?"


Located right behind the Skyline building at Thamrin, Central Jakarta, Jalan Sabang is known as one of Jakarta's most popular eating corners. With street vendors and small restaurants, Sabang guarantees affordable food after the malls shut down for the day. One of the must haves here is a plate of satay (skewered and grilled meats), and from chicken to lamb, the variety on offer is huge. Most of the vendors coat the satay with a mixture of peanut and soy sauce, which gives just the right sweet and savory flavors. The prices ranges from Rp 15,000 to 20,000.

Kebon Sirih

If you find Jalan Sabang's rows of restaurants a little too fancy, turn right at the intersection to get to Jalan Kebon Sirih. Several meters from the traffic light, slowly change into the right lane and park on the side of the road to try Nasi Goreng Kebon Sirih. This street vendor has been around for decades and is quite a legend in Jakarta. It is a good place to go if you enjoy lamb, as they serve not only the famous lamb fried rice, but also soups and rice dishes. Although Nasi Goreng Kebon Sirih only provides plastic chairs on the street, you can also eat your food in the car. Each plate will set you back around Rp 20,000.

Taman Menteng

Of all the food after midnight spots in Central Jakarta, the one near Taman Menteng is my all-time favorite. For one thing, the area is very well lit. And I love the musicians that perform there every night, singing covers of whatever songs are popular at the time. Although price wise, the area is not much different from other street vendors, the food court at Taman Menteng has more than fried rice and satay. It has siomays , grilled toast and bananas, and even tahu gejrot , a tofu-based dish from Cirebon, West Java. Sometimes when the food court is too crowded, I also head to Jalan Besuki, where fewer food vendors also gather and the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed.

Sate Sambas

If you want the tastiest chicken and goat satay in South Jakarta, chances are you will be pointed in the direction of Sate Sambas.

Located on Jalan Sungai Sambas, just a few minutes from Blok M, the area has been a favorite hangout for late-night snackers for years. While there are several street vendors selling various dishes like fried rice and noodles in the area, most people come here for the satay.

"I think they have the best satay in the city," said Anton, a regular customer.

Zurfi is one of the vendors on the street who serves satay that's not only delicious, but also comes with big chunks of meat.

The goat satay comes with either peanut sauce or sweet soy sauce, depending on your preference. And at Rp 24,000 per plate, there is absolutely no reason to complain.


Somay , a fish-based dim sum-like dish served with peanut sauce, is a favorite treat in Indonesia. You can easily find the dish, which originated in China, all around Jakarta. But one place on Jalan Pati Unus — more popularly known as Paun in South Jakarta — is renowned for its somay with a twist.

Surrounded by several other vendors, the Pak Joni food stall sells meatballs in liu of fish dumplings, accompanied by peanut sauce.

For years, Pak Joni has drawn lots of loyal fans of all ages who come from all over to indulge in the meaty somay.

Priced at Rp 12,000, Pak Joni's somay is definitely a bargain.

"It's very tasty and cheap," Rakka said. "I haven't been able to find any other place that sells meatball somay."

Nasi Goreng Bhakti

Try this place on any night and you'll see this small, modest food stall packed with all kinds of people wanting to try the best fried rice dishes in Jakarta.

Located on Jalan Bhakti in Senopati, South Jakarta, Nasi Goreng Bhakti is only a few minutes away from the Sudirman Central Business District. Here, you can find dozens of variations on nasi goreng , or fried rice, each priced between Rp 12,000 and 20,000.

One of the most popular dishes at the stall is the nasi goreng kambing (lamb friend rice), which comes with acar , a spicy salad accompaniment containing cucumber, shallots and chili and emping crackers. You can also request a fried egg with your dish.

Tanya, a regular customer, said she's been eating at Nasi Goreng Bhakti since high school.

As a fried rice lover she said, "Their fried rice is simply the best."

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/lifeandt ... ght/417017


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