~ A journal entry by Chef Nam ~
Street food can be mouth-watering good everywhere on our planet. Sidewalk vendors, push carts, holes in a wall — even in cities with rich reputations for fine dining, some of the best meals are on the streets.
Behind the chaotic bumper-to-bumper traffic, glass-walled skyscrapers and narrow streets of closely packed houses, Jakarta provides a fascinating introduction to Indonesia’s diversity of food.
The highlight of my recent travel experience to North Jakarta was the Fresh Market located at Pantai Indah Kapuk. At night the Fresh Market turns to a street food paradise. At Food Plaza, you’ll find everything from freshly squeezed fruit juices to sheep soup and fried pigeon. It’s a full-on feast for all the senses, and not particularly pricey. The scene at Jakarta’s night market was filled with people, food and noises. As flames lick around woks and wood smoke from charcoal grills lingers in the still night air, cooks prepare different dishes to attract customers. A good stall is always busy, with tables clustered around the cook and his or her stand. These precincts are all about eating and pleasure. They contain everything that lures the Indonesian out: good food, people, atmosphere and laughter – the Indonesian world on a plate. It really is all about the food.
Some of the highlights from the night market at Food Plaza and my favourite Javanese snacks are:
- Sate Boegil (kid) & Sate Babi Johan (pork). Guiltily gulai tikungan (braised beef in coconut broth on rice). Absolutely delicious and mouth-watering!
- Pisang Goreng Afong (Fried banana) A type of banana used here called the pisang gepok in Bahasa Indonesia!
- Freshly squeezed Kedondong kiamboy juice (Ambarella fruit). A refreshing beverage to die for!
- Delicious fried free-range cockerel (male) and pigeon.
- Es Podeng (An Indonesian coconut milk-based shaved ice beverage/dessert).
So, be sure to include Food Plaza in your bucket list when travelling to Jakarta!