Street Food in Jakarta

We arrived in Jakarta, the four of us, sweaty, grimy and fed-up, after nearly 30 hours of travel, including a four hour delay at Doha before the last leg of our journey. We were desperate to shower and sleep.

It was 10pm when we finally checked into our hotel, the Aston Cengkareng. We had chosen accommodation close to the airport because we were flying out the very next day to Borneo and we had to leave the hotel on the 0630 shuttle.

So we weren’t going to bother going out. We were content to sit in the hotel bar drinking very over-priced Bintang. It was 10pm and though none of us were overly tired (we were well past that stage) the logical thing to do was to have an early night.

But it being their first night in a strange land, Omar and Yoko fancied going out to explore. So Toni and I agreed that we could all go for a wander for half an hour.

We didn’t realise we would be out eating street food until well after midnight…

We finished our beers and sprayed ourselves generously with mosquito repellent, and set off.

After walking a little way down the street, we arrived at what appeared to be the communal street food area where there were plastic tables and stools set out, with groups of people sitting around eating freshly prepared dishes and drinking bottled Bintang.

The delicious smells of food and smoke coming from the grills of the food carts was more than enough to entice us. The whole set-up brought delicious memories of eating street food in Vietnam back to me and Toni.

As our group chose one of the plastic tables and pulled up the typical tiny footstools, the locals around us started sniggering and watching us in amusement – just like in Vietnam.

Street food Jakarta

The guy from the stall brought us a menu and we asked for four beers. He didn’t have a clue what we were talking about.

“Beer, beer,” we chanted, pointing to the bottles on the other table. More sniggers from the other table as they smugly saluted us with their beers.

“Oh, Bintang,” corrected the waiter shaking his head and rolling his eyes at the foreigners that couldn’t even order a Bintang right.

Four huge bottles of Bintang appeared on the table followed by four beer mugs and a plastic bucket of ice with Mickey Mouse on the side – just like in Vietnam. Except here, at least the beer was served cold to begin with.

We took turns at deciphering the menu and settled on spring rolls because there was a photo.

“No, we haven’t got any of them,” said the waiter. “I’ll bring you something similar.”

He brought us a plate of prawn spring rolls, freshly fried, steaming hot and deliciously crispy, served with a sambal sauce spicy enough to fuel a rocket, and a plate of meat on skewers, which we came to the conclusion was dog! Well it definitely wasn’t beef. As far as I know, the people here don’t eat pork. It was too dark to be chicken (though I guess it could have been some other bird, like pigeon). We figured a scrawny Indonesian cat wouldn’t have much meat on it. Plus the people at the next table were now falling off their seats in hysterics and barking at us and each other.

So dog. Satay dog skewers. It was very tasty.

Street food jakarta

Freshly barbecued dog satay

At the same stall there was a guy expertly sautéing fresh bean shoots and other vegetables in a huge wok over a very high heat who was mesmerising to watch.

Street food Jakarta

But we decided to try the delicious pan-fried fish followed by deep-fried banana.

It was an excellent meal and it was nice to be the source of entertainment for the local diners!

Read more about my street food experiences here.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedfood and drinkIndonesiaJakartaJavaStreet Food


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

RSSComments (4)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. susan sykes says:

    Did the dog taste ok? I bet there wasn’t much difference between dog and beef was there. maybe a bit more chewy depending on what type of dog!

    • Lisa says:

      Who knows what it was really? Was nice though. Probably better quality than some things you can find at the supermarket.

  2. Atcha says:

    I think what you ate was goat. Some people in Indonesia eat dog, but it’s very rare to find it in Jakarta. What most street vendors sell as sate (we call it sate, not satay) are chicken, goat, beef. Some areas (if the areas are predominantly Chinese) eat pork too.

    but if you thought it wasn’t beef, chicken or pork, than it must be goat..

    • Lisa says:

      Hey Atcha,
      Thanks for the info. You might be right, it could certainly have been goat. I mean, they told us it was dog… but I would prefer to think it was goat!
      They were probably playing with us!

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.