Makansutra: Street food satisfaction in Jakarta and Yogyakarta
Street food you don't want to miss in Jakarta and Yogyakarta
Jakarta is a city many visit for all sorts of business and leisure purposes, and it has come a long way since I was first there in the 80s.
Makan hot spots are everywhere, but are often inconvenient to get to because of the traffic, especially at peak hours.
More people are heading for Yogyakarta now. There, you can take in the creative energy of the young people, with their city art and graffiti, funky cafes, concerts, street jazz buskers and lesehan culture (sitting on a woven straw mat on the floor to makan).
RM Soto Betawi
Senen Market, Jalan Stasiun Senen, RT.18/RW.4, Kec. Senen, Kota Administrasi Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota (side lane food stalls)
9am daily, till sold out
Indonesia is the land of soto.
There is soto makassar, soto lamongan, soto padang, soto tongseng, soto rawon, opor ayam - and I am just scratching the surface.
Soto betawi (beef soup) is a local icon in Jakarta. Many people I know and those who recognised me directed me to this little stall in a market.
I have had more than my fair share of soto betawi and this one (right) is top of the list.
It came rich with beefiness, enhanced with coconut milk and soft stewed beef. You take it further with chilli and a splash of sweet soya sauce (or kicap manis). The bits of greens and tomato with belinjo crackers over it are insanely well-chosen toppings.
You can order chicken or beef or even have it without coconut milk, but I would pick the richness any time, as there are other beef-based soups that use no milk, like sop buntut (oxtail soup).
Street booth along Jalan Asem Gede (No. 8), Cokrodiningratan, Kec. Jetis, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta
From 9pm daily, till sold out
The main profile in this dish is the sweet, spicy and umami-laden stew made with young jackfruit core. That soft and comforting topping over rice is amazingly moreish but the main action is the chilli sambal, which they call "mercon" (or fireworks).
A delivery scooter arrives at this streetside food stall each night, the boss lays out the items on a platform and the queue magically forms.
Diners pick from a selection of stewed and fried chicken, greens, stewed beef skin, braised egg, tofu, lamb satay, beef and even soft stewed chicken feet.
This is Yogyakarta on a plate.
You sit lesehan-style on the ground across the street, barefoot, on mats.
Up to 50 people can be seen waiting in the queue on weekends, and it is best to go as early as 8.30pm to minimise the waiting.