Jakarta is brimming with food from around Indonesia, and there are some that Jakartans just can’t live without. Check out this list and if you agree to three or more, you might already be a true Jakartan!
1. Nasi Goreng
It’s not a new fact that Indonesians, like those from other Asian countries, just can’t live without rice. But for Jakartans especially, nothing beats the nasi goreng, a simple dish that closely resembles to the Asian fried rice, but usually mixed with the Indonesians most favorite sauce, the kecap manis. And there’s no fried rice like the ones you get from the kaki lima or the streets vendors. Some vendors are more special than others; we particularly love Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih, with slight middle-eastern influence of spice and chunks of goat meat, Nasi Goreng Bhakti, or the Nasi Goreng Gila, which you can request in most nasi goreng stalls. It consists of (usually) white rice white the stir-fried ingredients that would normally be mixed together with the rice, on top.
2. Sambal & Kerupuk
You will usually find one or these two things as a condiment in an Indonesian restaurant or kitchen. For sambal, the basic ingredient usually involves one or more kinds of chilies, shallots and shrimp paste ground in a pestle and mortar, and can be served raw or cooked. Indonesians also usually have a hard time eating without Kerupuk are deep fried crackers made from starch and other ingredients that serve as flavoring and can be eaten both as snack or to complement a dish.
3. Nasi Padang
Padang food refers to the cuisine of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia and is famous for its rich taste of succulent coconut milk and spicy chili. Nasi Padang refers to steamed rice served with various choices of pre-cooked dishes. If you eat it in the restaurant, small serving of the entire dish the restaurant cook that day will be served at your table, and you can pick whatever you want and add it to your rice. Another great way to have it to go or ‘bungkus’, in which case you will be given a portion of rice good for two people, drizzled with coconut milk sauce, and ‘lauk’ or meat of your choice, vegetables, wrapped in banana leaf. This kind of serving is considered as one of the most loved comfort food for Indonesians. For some of the most authentic Padang Food around, go for Sari Bundo in Jl. Juanda, or the Pagi Sore restaurant located in several locations in Jakarta (Bendungan Hilir, Cipete).