missing jakarta

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asia / indonesia / on the road

My sister and I went to Jakarta for a weekend (literally) in March last year. The itinerary wouldn’t be of much interest to a normal tourist–we didn’t go to national monuments or buy batik or go to Bali even–it was more of a random trip down memory lane. Possibly an attempt to reconcile hazy childhood memories of a city I loved with current reality.

I love Jakarta. I love the food, the people I got to know, and the memories I have of our expat life. I remember how the tukang sayur (veggie vendor) used to go around with a cart of fresh vegetables every morning (and you could still buy a bunch of leaves for Rp500, this was pre-1997), the ayam goreng kalasan (Kalasan fried chicken) truck shaped like a chicken that toured our neighborhood, the tune of the Wall’s ice cream bicycle which I can hum to this day, dipping my fingers in lemon water before attacking the gurame goreng (fried gurame) at Sari Kuring, steaming sop buntut (oxtail soup) at the grand but ancient Hotel Borobudur, hot bakso noodles at Bakmi GM, ice cold Sosro tea after a run around Senayan, dishes so hot my eyes/nose teared up within seconds of taking a bite.

Okay, so it’s not all food-related memories. I seriously made some excellent friends at GMIS, to whom I keep in touch with to this day.

Back to our trip last March. As a weekend is not nearly enough to eat all we wanted to eat, we just settled for a trip to our old neighborhood in Kelapa Gading and our primary school in Ancol.

the cinema facade hadn’t changed. i can still vaguely recall looking up at the posters of ‘Speed’, which were hand-painted then. Keanu did not look like Keanu at all.

sosro, bakmi bakso & pangsit goreng at Bakmi GM. GOD, I missed Jakarta

We still wanted to have A Fung noodles (graced with a huge block of tofu containing meaty YUM-ness inside), but we were understandably full after that meal.

next day’s lunch at sate khas senayan. spicy peanut sauce the way it should be.

ayam bumbu… in lieu of kalasan. next kitchen goal: how to make the crumby topping

signature satay

sop buntut with emping on top. emping, a slightly bitter version of crisps, is also addictive eaten alone

Breakfasts were eaten in the hotel, and are nondescript. We stayed at the Manhattan Hotel, which had good rooms. I’m not sure I’d recommend it though: it was located centrally but not walking distance to anywhere worthwhile.

Our pasalubong hoard? Ta-daa!

mie goreng: best eaten with a fried sunny-side up egg


The Author

I am 100% Filipina. I've lived in Manila, Jakarta, and London. Right now, I'm firmly planted in the tiny island of Singapore! I caught the travel bug early on. I also love reading, dark chocolate, spur-of-the-moment food trips, Fridays, dachshunds, and lazy weekends with my family or the Hubby.

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