Indonesian Gastronomy Academy head Vita Datau Messakh curates the list of the 10 best food stalls in Jakarta, based on several factors, such as popularity and longevity of these eateries. (JG Photo/Syarifah Ryaclaudia)

Jakarta's Top Ten Legendary Traditional Food Stalls


JULY 06, 2016

Jakarta. Indonesian Gastronomy Academy head Vita Datau Messakh curates the list of the 10 best food stalls in Jakarta, based on several factors, such as popularity and longevity of these eateries.

"These food stalls mostly close during the Idul Fitri religious holiday, but will open again three days after its celebration," Vita said.

Established in March 2013, the Indonesian Gastronomy Academy became part of the International Academy of Gastronomy last year to promote the art and science of good eating habits.

The academy has maintained several programs, including the development of a data center, which is dedicated to compiling information about gastronomy, while also promoting authentic cuisines on both the national and international stage, as part of the country's character and identity.

Jakarta's 10 best restaurants are as follows:

1. Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih

This food stall was established in 1985 and can be classified as street food. It serves lamb fried rice, cooked in aromatic Middle Eastern spices. The dish is served with pickled cabbage and spicy peanuts. The lamb skewer is also a must-try.

Location: Jalan Kebon Sirih in Central Jakarta, right opposite the Garuda Indonesia building.

2. Nasi Uduk Kebon Kacang

The restaurant serves dishes consisting of rice cooked in coconut milk, resulting in a savory, yet sticky rice with a lemongrass aroma. The rice is wrapped in banana leaves and sprinkled with fried red onion. Customers can choose between side dishes such as fried chicken, tempeh and tofu, with additional raw vegetable salad, served with peanut sauce.

Location: Nasi Uduk H. Suhardi at Jalan Kebon Kacang X No. 12, Central Jakarta.

3. Gado-gado Bonbin

This simple restaurant, established in 1960, is one of the places with a high number of frequent and repeat customers. It is best known for its gado-gado, a famous Indonesian salad consisting of boiled eggs, steamed vegetables, fried tofu, tempeh and lontong – compressed steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves – served with sweet peanut sauce dressing. The restaurant claims that its dressing is authentic, since it is one of only a few gado-gado restaurants in Jakarta that use cashews as the main ingredient of its peanut sauce.

Customers also can try other dishes, including mie pangsit, or chicken noodles and asinan, vegetable or fruit pickled dish.

Location: Jalan Cikini IV No. 5, Central Jakarta.

4. Soto Betawi in Pondok Pinang

Jakarta is known as the home and birthplace of soto Betawi, a traditional Indonesian soup consisting of thinly cut beef, chopped tomatoes, potato, and emping (crackers with a slightly bitter taste). The soto, cooked in coconut milk, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, onion and chili, is served with sambal – a traditional Indonesian condiment – and chopped lime. With large portions and relatively cheap prices, the restaurant is always packed, especially during lunch time, when the soup will be sold out pretty soon.

Location: Jalan Ciputat Raya No. 2, Pondok Pinang, Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta.

5. Asinan Betawi H. Mansyur Kamboja Rawamangun

Back in 1970, the owner of this food stall, H. Mansour, was selling his asinan – pickled vegetables and fruits – by walking around the Rawamangun district in East Jakarta. After he passed away, his son took over the food stall and he has continued to sell this most-loved and famous asinan in the capital. The place also has a spacious parking lot.

Location: Jalan Taman Kamboja III No. 10, Rawamangun, East Jakarta.

6. Bubur Ayam Barito

Bubur ayam Barito or Barito chicken porridge has been known as the hangout place for Jakarta's youngsters. This well-known porridge stall is famous for its onion stick crackers, which it serves alongside the signature dish. The establishment is open between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. daily.

Location: Jalan Gandaria Tengah No. 3, South Jakarta

7. Sop Kaki Kambing Dudung

Sop kaki kambing is a mutton soup prepared with goat meat, tomato, celery, onion, ginger, in a rich beef broth. The dish is cooked until the broth turns yellow. It is commonly served with rice and lamb skewers. The food stall was established by a man named Abdullah in 1975. There are currently at least 30 branches across Jakarta, but this one was chosen because it is more hygienic than most.

Location: Jalan Biak, Roxy, Central Jakarta.

8. Kue Pancong Rawa Belong

Kue pancong is famously known as Jakarta's traditional cake, made from flour, eggs, milk and grated coconut, baked in a special mold and topped with sprinkled sugar. Rawa Belong's modern version of the cake is topped with cheese, chocolates and nuts to attracts more customers, particularly among the younger crowd, which has yet to be exposed to traditional Indonesian sweets. The stall is open 24 hours per day.

Location: near the Rawa Belong flower market on Jalan Sulaiman, Rawa Belong, Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta

9. Bakso Tenis Kumis Blok S

This legendary bakso or meatball soup stall was established in 1970 and it still serves its frequent and loyal customers. The stall is also famous for the way it serves the dish. Customers are handed empty bowls and they have the liberty to fill it with various shaped meatballs and condiments, such as chopped celery, fried onion, chili and soy sauce. The dish is served with beef broth and rice crackers.

Location: Jalan Birah III, Senopati, South Jakarta.

10. Pecak Gurame H. Muhayar

The restaurant has already existed for 37 years and it has remained consistent with its menu. It serves fried halibut with spicy gravy called pecak, along with hot rice, fried tempeh, sayur asem – Indonesian tamarind soup – and sambal. It opens during lunch time.

Location: Jalan Taman Margasatwa No. 8, Ragunan, South Jakarta

Honorable mention

Jakarta's traditional foods also include kerak telor (spicy omelet dish), gabus pucung (fried snake-head fish served in black broth soup), bir pletok (a traditional drink that contains herbs and spices), selendang mayang (a traditional drink with glutinous rice as the main ingredient), and dodol Jakarta (fudge-like sweets made from brown sugar, glutinous rice and coconut milk).