Food-Stall Favorites in Jakarta's Chinatown - Tourism Indonesia


Monday, August 1, 2011

Food-Stall Favorites in Jakarta's Chinatown

Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown, is full of surprises. Centered on Jalan Gajah Mada, it is one of Central Jakarta’s busiest commercial districts, bustling with markets, food stalls, restaurants and shopping centers, where you can find anything from live insects to pirated DVDs, cheap electronics, herbal medicines and shots of cobra blood.

Shoppers here know what they want, and they know where to get it in the area’s hot and crowded marketplaces. But even seasoned shoppers in the busy streets of Glodok need to put their feet up sometime and enjoy a cool drink or a light snack to keep them going.

Bordering Jakarta’s Kota Tua (Old Town), Glodok boasts some of the city’s longest-standing and most popular food stalls. Trying out these time-tested institutions is an essential element of the Glodok experience.

Cendol PIX, a food stall offering ice-cold jelly drinks, has been providing shoppers with a spot for respite and refreshment for 39 years. The PIX in the name stands for Petak IX, the old name for the area. Cendol is the Indonesian name for a kind of dessert usually made with coconut milk and filled with a range of bright and bubbly jelly pearls. Cendol PIX keeps things simple with two types of drinks on offer: es cendol , made with layers of shaved ice, and bubur kacang hijau , or sweet mung bean porridge.

Its specialty cendol comes with white, worm-like jelly pearls made of rice flour served with chilled coconut milk, shaved ice and a generous serving of palm sugar syrup drizzled over the lot.

While mung bean porridge is usually served warm in a bowl, here it is served cold in a glass with shaved ice.

If sweet jelly drinks haven’t hit the spot, Gloria Alley, opposite the old Gloria Building, is the next stop for food stalls and cafes offering local delicacies.

Not far from the main road, about a five-minute walk down the alley, you’ll find Bakmi Amoy, a little restaurant renowned for its mie ayam (chicken noodle soup) and bakso goreng (fried meatballs).

Amoy is the name of the 60-year-old Chinese-Indonesian woman who has been running the place since 1980.

But if it’s more of a Betawi dish you’re after, the best place to look is a tiny blue stall at the end of Gloria Alley called Gado-Gado Direksi.

Owner Shinta Dewi said the name Direksi, or Directors, was suggested by officials at Bank Eksim, now Bank Mandiri, who ate at the stall. The bank directors seem to have left their legacy not only in the stall’s name but also in its financial fortunes. Shinta’s daughter, Giok Lie, who now runs the stall, said she’s in no hurry to change the name. “It brings good luck,” she said.
The specialty on offer here is, of course, gado-gado , the traditional Indonesian vegetable salad served with a generous helping of peanut sauce dressing.

Full article by Chrestella Tan

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