Speaking of street foods, Jakarta always captures foodies’ attention to experiment with varied tastes. The melting pot capital is where the most colorful blend of delicacies originated. The Chinese, Malay and Sundanese influences on Betawi dishes are very strong (Betawi refers to “Batavia,” the Dutch name of old Jakarta). You can find street food stands and vendors almost in every corner of this congested city. Nevertheless, the quality and taste of these street foods make them a must-try in Jakarta. If you’re planning to stay the night, there are several 2-bedroom hotels and homestays in Jakarta. Without further adieu, here is our list of the top street foods to try in Jakarta.
Also known as baso, bakso is an Indonesian meatball or a meat paste made from beef surimi and is similar to Chinese beef ball, fish ball, and pork ball. Bakso may either mean just the meatball or the meatball soup dish.
This street food is usually made from finely ground beef along with tapioca flour and salt, although chicken, pork, fish, or shrimp can be used as an alternative to the beef. Found throughout Indonesia, bakso is one the best street foods in Jakarta especially since even high-end restaurants serve them.
2. Saté Ayam
Saté is a Southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat. This street food is a famous Indonesian dish and a must-eat in Jakarta. Saté Ayam is one of the many variations of saté. It involves marinating chicken meat in sweet soy sauce and is cooked on an open-flame grill. This version of saté is usually served with spicy peanut or sweet soy sauce alongside sliced shallots and chopped chilies.
Like with many street foods in Jakarta, Saté Ayam is served in many kinds of food establishments from street vendors to 5-star restaurants.
3. Nasi Gila
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Also known as Indonesian Crazy Rice, Nasi Gila is a popular spicy dish in Jakarta that is usually served with krupuk (which are prawn crackers), fresh tomatoes, and cucumber slices. The dish starts with a bed of white rice that’s topped with stir-fried egg, vegetables, and meat in a spicy-sweet soy and sambal sauce.
Some of the meat you can use to make this dish are sausages, shredded chickens, meatballs, and even hotdogs. As for vegetables, a combination of cabbage, choy sum, and spring onion are usually used.
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4. Soto Tangkar
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Soto Tangkar is a type of soto, which is a traditional Indonesian soup, that is usually made with beef ribs, coconut milk, galangal, cinnamon, lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves. To prepare one, the beef ribs must be boiled in water before being slowly cooked in an aromatic spice paste.
This process is done to make sure that the meat becomes fully tender. Sautéed and fragrant spices are then mixed into the broth before adding coconut milk. Salt and pepper are then added after this. Before the soup is served, it’s often garnished with soy sauce, lime juice, tomatoes, or scallions.
5. Pisang Roa
More commonly known as Pisang Goreng Sambal Roa Manado, Pisang Roa is simply a variation of banana fritters served with sambal roa, which is a type of chili sauce from the city of Manado. The bananas are usually deep-fried in cooking oil and may or may not be coated with batter. Plantain is usually used as the main ingredient in preparing the banana fritters.
As for the taste, the dish is obviously spicy thanks to the chili but the addition of smoked roa fish enhances the taste of the banana fritter.
6. Ketoprak (rice cake with peanut sauce)
Are you a vegetarian? Try the typical Betawi dish called Ketoprak. You will be excited to delight in its peanuty, spicy and sweet flavor. This legendary street food is made of fried tofu chunks, lontong (Indonesian compressed rice cake), rice vermicelli, sliced cabbage, bean sprout and boiled egg. They are served with peanut dressing, fried shallots, rice crackers and spicy sambal.
Address: JL. Cikatomas, II/24, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12180
Price: 18,000 IDR (1.35 USD)
Opening Hours: 9.30 am to 7 pm
7. Gorengan (Indonesian deep fried snack)
Gorengan, which means “fried food,” is the most popular snack in the entire region. You can opt for different bases from banana to cassava, to tofu, yam and tempeh (fermented soy bean). Everything is deep fried and served hot. Dipping it in hot chili sauce is the best way to enjoy this greasy food. So if you’re looking to try this food out and are wondering where to eat in Jakarta, you won’t have to worry about finding the right restaurant as this street food can be easily found around Jakarta.
Address: Pasaraya Grande, Lantai Lower Ground, Dapuraya, Jl. Iskandarsyah II, Melawai, Jakarta
Price: From 1,000 IDR (0.08 USD)
8. Kerak Telor (egg crust)
An egg crust, or as the locals call it, kerak telor, is a unique Betawi dish to try. The omelet-looking street food is made of a combination of egg and glutinous rice, slowly cooked on hot charcoal. It’s served with dried shrimp, crunchy fried shallot, and fried shredded coconut (serundeng). Kerak telor is regarded as the city’s cultural heritage.
Jajanan Kerak Telor
Address: Kota Tua, Jakarta
Price: From 15,000 IDR (1.1 USD)
9. Martabak Manis (sweet pancake)
Martabak manis is a type of Indonesian dessert, popular across the country. It’s a soft pancake stuffed with some variations like condensed milk, peanuts, chocolate, nutella, cheese and much more. The buttery sweet flavor is the highlight. The martabak vendors usually sell another savory version, made of egg and meat.
Address: Jl. Yusuf Adiwinata No. 33,Menteng, Jakarta
Price: 50,000 IDR (3.75 USD)
10. Ketupat Sayur (rice cake and veggies)
Ketupat sayur is a typical Betawi breakfast dish you can get from a vendor with a pushing cart in Jakarta. What you have on your plate is the ketupat (compressed rice cake wrapped in coconut leaves) and spicy coconut milk soup along with sliced green papaya, string bean, and young jack fruit. To eat this, crackers are the best companions.
Ketupat Sayur Haji Mahmud
Address: Jl. Raya Kby. Lama, RT.1/RW.13, Grogol Utara, Kby. Lama, Kota Jakarta Selatan
Price: 15,000 IDR (1.1 USD)
Opening Hours: 7 am to 5 pm
11. Soto Betawi (Jakarta beef soup)
Soto Betawi is a spicy soupy dish highly recommended when you visit Jakarta. Unlike other soto dishes commonly having clear broth, soto Betawi is very thick. It comprises of coconut milk, beef, and some aromatic spices like galangal and lemon grass. The steamed rice and condiments (fried shallot, emping crackers and lime juice) are enjoyed together with the soup.
Soto Betawi Haji Husein
Address: Jl. Padang Panjang No. 6C, Kel. Pasar Manggis, Kec. Setiabudi, RT.8/RW.8, Ps. Manggis, Kota Jakarta Selatan
Opening Hours: 7 am to 2 pm
Price: 30,000 IDR (2.25 USD)
12. Nasi Uduk Betawi (steamed coconut rice)
Nasi uduk Betawi is basically steamed rice cooked in aromatic coconut milk (usually with bay leaves and lemon grass). This widely known specialty is eaten with some additional dishes such as semur jengkol (giant stink bean stew), sambal kacang (spicy peanut sauce), balado stewed egg, fried vermicelli noodle, and sambal goreng tempe (sauteed tempeh).
Nasi Uduk Kebon Kacang Zainal Fanani
Address: Jalan Kebon Kacang 8 No. 5, Tanah Abang, RT.1/RW.5, Kb. Kacang, Kota Jakarta Pusat
Opening Hours: 10 am to 12 am
Price: 2,000 to 15,000 IDR (0.15 to 1.13 USD)
13. Otak-Otak (grilled fish cake)
Otak-Otak which literally means “brains” is definitely recommended for savory street food lovers. The fish paste (mostly made from wahoo fish) is combined with coconut milk, some aromatic spices including lemongrass and ginger then grilled in banana leaves. To enrich the flavorful taste, dip it in spicy peanut sauce.
Address: Jl A.M. Sangaji, Petojo, Jakarta
Opening Hours: 8 am to 7 pm
Price: 7,500 IDR (0.5 USD)
14. Laksa Betawi (Jakarta coconut soup)
Laksa Betawi is another soupy food using light coconut milk and chicken. The typical curry dish is different from Malay or Singaporean laksa. It’s super rich in flavor due to the big amount of spices like kaffir lime leaves, galangal, red chilies, turmeric, and coriander. Don’t forget to add fresh basil, boiled egg and vermicelli noodles while devouring it.
Laksa Betawi Assirot
Address: Jalan Assirot No. 1, Kebon Jeruk, RT.1/RW.3, Grogol Sel., Kby. Lama, Jakarta Selatan
Opening Hours: 10 am to 9 pm
Price: 18,000 IDR (1.35 USD)
15. Rujak Juhi (mixed salad with dried squid)
Are you craving for salad? Rujak juhi would satisfy you. This dish has much Chinese influence, uniquely using “juhi” (dried squid). The gado-gado looking salad consists of juhi, yellow noodles, tofu, steamed potato, lettuce, and cucumber. Those ingredients are topped with tasty peanut sauce and rice crackers.
Rujak Juhi Petojo H. Misbach
Address: Jl. Petojo Binatu Raya, RT.1/RW.8, Petojo Utara, Gambir, Kota Jakarta Pusat
Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
Price: 14,000 (1.05 USD)
Jakarta is the right place to hunt down the best street food
If you are discovering Jakarta, never miss trying its incredible street foods for your crazy culinary adventure. Scattered across the city’s streets, the energetic vendors offer a range of colorful Betawi dishes with amazing taste, uneasy to be forgotten.
Frequently asked questions about street foods to try in Jakarta
1. Which are some famous street foods to try in Jakarta?
Jakarta has a lot of famous street foods that travelers should definitely try. Some of these are bakso, soto tangkar, kerak telor, soto betawi, and otak-otak. Don’t leave the city without trying these delicious foods!
2. Which are the best areas to enjoy street food in Jakarta?
What makes many of Jakarta’s street foods special is that these dishes are served in both the street and restaurants including the more upscale restaurants. This means that travelers can enjoy these fine dishes in any restaurant or even street food vendors in Jakarta.
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