best foods

Where can you eat in Jakarta?

– Sanitary standards are often not strictly observed in Jakarta. Street food – and I mean real street food – can give you a stomach ache. Or it could be even worse. Many street food dishes are served with warm, spicy sambal (a paste-like spice mixture with various seasonings and shrimp sauce) and raw vegetables as a side dish (typical of Sundanese cuisine). So many people blame sambal for their sick tummies.

But in general, an unusual combination of foods for us – voila: you feel rather bad. Although in practice, it’s usually not even about the food itself, but about the conditions of their preparation. For example, in dishes that are washed in dirty water or not washed well enough. As for food, many tourists suffer after a hearty meal of noodles, nasi goreng and even bakso, but they may never get sick after ayam goreng or pepel lele. Perhaps the secret is in the frying process – hot boiling oil kills all bacteria. Or maybe it’s just luck. Or a strong stomach.

– as a rule, ordinary mediocre restaurants and cafes are no better in terms of safety. But you are much less likely to get poisoned if you dine at a “restaurant with walls,” but even that is not a fact. At least restaurants in shopping centers (and more expensive restaurants, such as Padang restaurants) are safe. And thanks for that. By the way, Padang cuisine is a mix of culinary traditions of the Minangkabau people, who inhabit Sumatra. Padang cuisine is a whole mountain of spices and herbs, a lot of different types of meat, especially beef. And a specific tradition of serving food: all the food for the meal is placed on the table at the same time.

So, now a small digression about the dishes that I indicated above. Nasi goreng (nasi goreng) – a rice dish (rice fried with leeks, garlic, meat (chicken or beef, sometimes pork and seafood), vegetables, sprouted grains and mushrooms. Served with soy sauce, sambal and chutney (seasoning ), sometimes with chicken eggs (fried eggs, omelet).

Bakso (bakso) is something like meatballs made from any type of meat, fish and seafood. They can be served in broth with noodles or vegetables, sometimes fried. The meatballs turn out tight and very appetizing. Or maybe you’ll come across batagor, a variety of bakso made from tofu and served fried (from bakso tahu goreng – “fried tofu bakso”).

In all this diversity, Jakarta has a lot of lousy restaurants, as you already understood. But tourists, as a rule, still go there. And they are still alive, you know! Some people were hurt, but still, no one seemed to die. Restaurants and so-called warungs (small house-restaurants owned by a family) are definitely better than street food. No, don’t think so – there are excellent examples of street food, very tasty, but here’s the funny thing: the best street food stalls eventually turn into an ordinary cafe and cease to be “street food” in the usual sense of the word – entrepreneurs know how making money and this is clearly not selling street food.

If you read somewhere that it is not at all necessary to know specific good restaurants in Jakarta, they say, you don’t have to write down the names and addresses, but go where you want – no. This is wrong. Yes, there are just a lot of restaurants here!

Another thing: you are unlikely to get a good Indonesian buffet. It will most likely be very, very good food, but it will be Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Western food.

In short: don’t waste your time endlessly sampling “real street food”. Any version of what you can find on the street probably tastes better and is safer in a restaurant. Eating in shopping centers is most likely more or less safe and tasty. But the best restaurants and varungs are stand-alone ones.  But you can go, for example, to Warung Ngalam, beloved by many tourists.

They even have a Twitter! This warung is located at: Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim No.106, Menteng, which is a 20-minute walk from the National Monument and a stone’s throw from the Sarinah stop. The cafe can accommodate up to 150 visitors and is open every day from 08:00 to 23:00. You can have lunch there for the amount of Rp.30,000 – Rp.50,000, which is quite inexpensive. Clean, neat, tasty, safe. Also, check out “Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih” – delicious and varied. Address: Di Pamulang Permai 1 Blok B 38 No.12. Pamulang. True, it’s not very central, but oh well.

Returning to street cuisine: You’ve probably already read a hundred recommendations, they say, eat, eat street food in foreign countries, don’t care about your bellies. It’s definitely an interesting experience, but you just have to be careful. And especially if you have just arrived and you only have a few days, you don’t want to spend three of them in bed or on a white friend. In my opinion, if you really want street food, go to Solo or Yogyakarta. Even Jakarta residents themselves admit that street food is a complete food mess. And they add that we Jakartans are quite receptive to our food, but tourists are not. Which, as they say, is good for Russians…

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