“Ke-to-praaaak, Ke-to-praaak!” That is what I would shout when pushing a cart selling this popular and delicious salad. I would want everyone to hear it and I would probably get arrested for disturbing the peace. This traveling chef made him self heard by hitting a spoon against a plate, while passing down the street in Jakarta where my cousin lives. You never go hungry here. No need to go out as you have your own cook. Your meal is tailor made right in front of your house. You can watch while he’s preparing it. Looking at the size of these carts they can be best compared to the street vendors or stadium vendors selling hot dogs or ice cream in the U.S. Looking at the variety of foods these self contained, independent kitchen on wheels sell, I would call them more the precursor of the food truck, yet more environmentally friendly and more easily to maneuver in the small streets. Unfortunately, there is a plan to remove these type of traveling vendors from the streets altogether. Jakarta has become a mega cosmopolitan with modern high-rise buildings, luckily there is still a place for these hawkers at designated street corners where crowds gather.
When visiting South Jakarta, go to Blok M for the pasar pagi (morning market). Or go to Jakarta’s prestigious Menteng district (President Obama lived there once) pull up a plastic chair and enjoy one of the many delicacies offered.
Read more about ketoprak and a variety of tasty salads with peanut sauce here.
My cousins went to the Menteng district in the afternoon, right before the crowds come after dark. These night markets (pasar malam) serve different foods and are open long after midnight, mostly frequented by the younger food lovers. The older ones can be found at food courts in the air conditioned shopping malls. One of Jakarta’s popular street foods is “nasi gila.” “Nasi” means “rice” and “gila” means “crazy” in Indonesian. This “crazy rice” refers to this mad mix of different ingredients like chicken, sausage, meatballs, and lamb, generously served over white rice and garnished with some ‘kripik’; Indonesian snack crackers.
With thanks to our correspondent in Jakarta, my cousin Mr. Tjandra Fajakoen-Saleh.
Sorry… maar helaas is dit bericht alleen beschikbaar in English.