To be in Jakarta is to indulge yourself in its street food culture. In every corner of the big city, one can find the true taste of Betawi.
“Gado-gado” is widely known as Indonesian salad, that consists of a variety of boiled or steamed vegetables, tofu, tempeh, boiled potato, hard-boiled egg and “Lontong” (banana-wrapped rice). It is served with thick peanut dressing and often topped with “Krupuk” (Deep fired crackers). There is a dual meaning to the term “gado” in Betawi. Firstly, it could refer to consuming a dish without rice. Secondly, it could also mean to mix. Overall, “Gado-gado” (Mix-mix) is an assortment of rich ingredients in one bowl.
“Bir Pletok” (“Pletok” beer) is a traditional herbal drink that blends ginger, Pandan leaves and lemongrass. In the past, the Dutch cultivated the culture of beer brewing Indonesia, which inspired Betawi to invent their own homemade brew, out of spices. Unlike the standard beer, “Bir Pletok” does not contain alcohol and is believed to be highly health beneficial. The first bundling of the beer was bamboo tube. Along with the ice cubes, the drink will be shaken for a few minutes inside a bamboo tube, resulting a particular noise that Indonesians like to call “Pletak-Pletok”, which explains where the name “Pletok” came from.
“Soto Betawi” is a soup-based meal that is typically sold by street vendors in Jakarta. The soup itself contains beef, coconut and fresh milk, as well as various herbs and spices including candlenut, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic and galangal. The soup is usually accompanied by a bowl of rice and the indispensible “Sambal” (Chili sauce) as garnish. The dish is popular for both lunch and dinner. It is not rare that “Soto Betawi” street vendors operate past midnight. After, Jakarta is a city that never sleeps.