Jakarta Street Food

Jakarta Street Food is a portion of the overall Java / Javanese cuisine, a major ethnic group in Indonesia. It is noted for dishes that are sweet, as well as simple. Java / Javanese cuisine can be divided into 3 major groups, Central Javanese, East Javanese and Common Javanese, all of which are widely available in Jakarta.

Food in Jakarta can be found in pushcarts along the streets, in cafes, mid-range eateries or fine restaurants. Meals typically consist of white rice, a salad or soup, a main dish of meat or seafood, and finished with a dessert. One dish meals are also very common. Ingredients that are commonly used include palm sugar, white rice, potatoes, rice vermicelli, coconut milk, shrimp paste, ginger, turmeric, galangal, tamarind, carp, tilapia, gurame, catfish, chicken, goat, mutton, beef, chili, peanuts and bananas. As most of Indonesia is Muslim, pork and beer is rarely consumed.

Breakfast in Jakarta is usually a one dish, sit down meal, accompanied by tea or a fruit juice. Busy office workers typically eat at pushcarts along the streets after work, while fried snacks are popular throughout the day. Local fast-food, usually a one dish meal of noodles or rice, is much more common than International fast food brands. Local desserts are plentiful, and range from savoury to sweet.


Ayam Balado / Chili Chicken is made with chicken chunks, tamarind water, powdered coriander, shallots, tomatoes, chili, garlic, onions, kaffir lime leaf, salt, sugar and lime juice. Ayam Balado / Chili Chicken is quite a fiery, spicy dish, and is often served together with rice.

Ayam Balado / Chili Chicken

Bandrek / Spiced Ginger Tea is a hot, spicy, sweet beverage from West Java in Indonesia, and consists of ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, coriander, cardamom, lemongrass, palm sugar, sweet condensed milk, coconut milk, and young coconut meat. Bandrek / Spiced Ginger Tea is a warming drink, often consumed during cold or rainy weather, and is believed to help ailments such as cough, sore throat, and other minor throat irritations.

Bandrek / Spiced Ginger Tea

Beer Bintang is a locally brewed beer from Indonesia, and is closely associated with the Heineken brand of beer, even once incorporating the Heineken name in its branding. Bintang Pilsener is the flagship beer, often served in bars in Jakarta, while Bintang Zero is an alcohol free, Halal beer, which caters to the majority of Indonesia.

Beer Bintang Pilsener

Beer Bintang Zero

Bubur Kacang Hijau / Mung Bean Porridge is a warm sweet dessert, popular in Jakarta. Bubur Kacang Hijau / Mung Bean Porridge is made with mung beans / green beans boiled in water, palm sugar and pandan leaves till extremely soft, then garnished with coconut milk.

Bubur Kacang Hijau / Mung Bean Porridge

Tastes exactly as expected, Coffee Soda or Kopi Soda is an aerated soda drink with coffee flavouring. Surprisingly, there isn’t much of a bitter sugary aftertaste.

Coffee Soda

Dragon Fruit is grown locally in Indonesia, and both red and white variaties are available as fresh fruit, or blended as a drink.

Dragon Fruit Juice

Dragon Fruit Red

Emping / Melinjo Chips is a popular snack in Indonesia, and is a type of cracker / chip made from deep fried gnetum gnemon (Belinjo) nut flour. Emping / Melinjo Chips can be consumed plain, and it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. It can also be served salty, sweet, or spicy. Besides being consumed as a snack, Emping / Melinjo Chips is also used as a garnishing for dishes in Jakarta.

Emping / Melinjo Chips

Es Sekoteng / Sekoteng Ice is a traditional cold, sweet dessert from Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Es Sekoteng / Sekoteng Ice consists of ice, avocado, jackfruit, coconut, palm sugar, water, sweet condensed milk, vanilla, red pomegranate seeds, ginger and pandan leaves.

Es Sekoteng / Sekoteng Ice

Fried Tempeh and Fried Tofu are common street snacks in Jakarta. Fried Tempeh is a deep fried fermented soy bean cake which originated in Indonesia, and has a savoury, slightly bitter taste. Fried Tempeh and Fried Tofu are also commonly used as a garnish in dishes.

Fried Tempeh

Fried Tofu

Gado Gado is a traditional savoury salad, served as a one dish meal from street side pushcarts, or as an appetizer before the main dish in restaurants. The version in Indonesia tends to be more spicy and savoury than the version in Singapore.

Gado Gado

Gurame Goreng / Fried Gourami Fish is a common dish in Jakarta, which uses a freshwater fish native to Indonesia called Gourami. The fish is deep fried, then served in a flayed pattern, along with several dipping sauces. Gurame Goreng / Fried Gourami Fish has a clean, fresh taste, without any muddy aftertaste usually associated with freshwater fish, and has meaty flesh with few bones. Good Gurame Goreng / Fried Gourami Fish will usually be fried so well that the bones turn crispy, and can also be consumed.

Gurame Goreng / Fried Gourami Fish

Iga Bakar Cabe Ijo / Grilled Chili Beef Ribs is basically beef short ribs, marinated in lime juice, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, green chili, kaffir lime leaf, palm sugar, pepper, salt and onions, then grilled. This locks in the spicy, fiery flavour into the Iga Bakar Cabe Ijo / Grilled Chili Beef Ribs.

Iga Bakar Cabe Ijo / Grilled Chili Beef Ribs

A popular sour spicy dish in Indonesia, Ikan Asam Pedas / Sour Spicy Fish Stew is typically made with a firm white flesh fish like Spanish Mackerel Fish, Sea Bass Fish or Pomfret Fish. The sauce / stew for cooking Ikan Asam Pedas / Sour Spicy Fish Stew is made with tamarind water, salt, chili, okra / lady’s fingers, tomatoes, onions, palm sugar, coriander, garlic, lemongrass, shrimp paste, powdered turmeric, kaffir lime leaf, lime juice and ginger.

Ikan Asam Pedas / Sour Spicy Fish Stew

Ikan Woku / Fish Woku is a well-known freshwater fish recipe in Indonesia that uses firm, white flesh fish, cooked together with chili, lemongrass, ginger, powdered turmeric, lime juice / lemon juice, salt, basil leaves, onions, tomatoes, kaffir lime leaf, leeks, hazelnuts and pandan leaves. The type of fish used in Ikan Woku / Fish Woku is usually Snapper Fish, Garoupa Fish, Sea Bass Fish, or Spanish Mackerel Fish.

Ikan Woku / Fish Woku

Kacang Atom / Coated Peanuts are named for their small, round shapes resembling atoms. Kacang Atom / Coated Peanuts are made from peanuts coated in a mixture of tapioca flour / wheat flour, sugar, salt, garlic and water. Kacang Telur / Egg Coated Peanuts include the additional ingredients of chicken eggs and chili. Sometimes, coconut milk is also added to Kacang Telur / Egg Coated Peanuts. Both are popular snacks in Jakarta.

Kacang Atom / Coated Peanuts

Kacang Telur / Egg Coated Peanuts

Similar to Gado Gado, the difference with Karedok is that is uses raw vegetables, while Gado-Gado uses boiled vegetables. Karedok also includes additional vegetables such as eggplant, basil leaves and sand ginger (Kencur).


Kecap Manis is a popular condiment and dipping sauce in Indonesia, and is a thick, sweet soy sauce. Kecap Manis is unique to this region.

Kecap Manis

There is a wide range of Krupuk / Crackers in Jakarta, and they are commonly eaten as snacks, or added as a garnish to a dish. Krupuk / Crackers can be made with vegetables, seafood, rice, nuts or noodles.

Krupuk / Crackers

Kueh Bika Ambon / Bika Ambon Cake is a popular sweet dessert cake, made with tapioca flour, sago flour, chicken eggs, sugar, water and coconut milk. Kueh Bika Ambon / Bika Ambon Cake can also be enhanced with flavour from pandan leaves, banana, durian, cheese or chocolate. It has a soft, spongy texture which yields easily to the bite. Kueh Bika Ambon / Bika Ambon Cake is named after the Bika Ambon region in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Kueh Bika Ambon / Bika Ambon Cake

Kueh Cantik Manis / Pretty Sweet Pearl Cake is a pretty looking, sweet pink dessert, made with coconut milk, sugar, pandan leaves, salt, mung bean flour, edible red food colouring and studded with sago pearls. Sago Pearls are also known in the local Indonesia language as ‘Chinese Girlfriend’, which can result in some hilarious translation for recipes of Kueh Cantik Manis / Pretty Sweet Pearl Cake.

Kueh Cantik Manis / Pretty Sweet Pearl Cake

Kueh Dadar Gulung / Coconut Pandan Crepe is made with all purpose flour / plain white flour, salt, palm sugar, coconut milk, water, pandan leaves, chicken eggs, corn starch, dessicated coconut meat, and coconut cream. Kueh Dadar Gulung / Coconut Pandan Crepe is a common sweet dessert served after meals in Jakarta.

Kueh Dadar Gulung / Coconut Pandan Crepe

Kueh Lapis Legit / Spekkoek is a popular Indonesia cake adapted from Dutch recipes, which literally means ‘very rich layer cake’. Kueh Lapis Legit / Spekkoek can contain up to 30 chicken eggs in a small piece, as well as sugar, butter, star anise, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The versatility of Kueh Lapis Legit / Spekkoek has given rise to multiple variations incorporating ingredients such as raisins, cheese, almonds, prunes, pandan leaves, chocolate and more.

Kueh Lapis Legit / Spekkoek

Kueh Lapis Surabaya / Surabaya Layer Cake is less rich than its original counterpart Kueh Lapis Legit / Spekkoek, and contains the same ingredients, except in smaller amounts. Kueh Lapis Surabaya / Surabaya Layer Cake also includes the use of cocoa powder / chocolate, to create the center layer in the middle.

Kueh Lapis Surabaya / Surabaya Layer Cake

Kueh Lupis / Sweet Sticky Rice Dumplings is made with rolled glutinous rice flavoured with pandan leaves, then coated in a syrup of palm sugar, and garnished with grated coconut meat. Kueh Lupis / Sweet Sticky Rice Dumplings is a traditional Indonesia dessert.

Kueh Lupis / Sweet Sticky Rice Dumplings

Kueh Talam / Tray Cake is a sweet dessert cake that consists of 2 layers. The white layer of Kueh Talam / Tray Cake is made with rice flour, sago flour, coconut milk, and white sugar, while the green layer is made with the exact same ingredients, but includes pandan leaves. Some versions of Kueh Talam / Tray Cake have a brown layer, this is from the use of palm sugar / brown sugar (Gula Melaka) syrup, instead of white sugar.

Kueh Talam / Tray Cake

Kueh Wajik Pandan / Pandan Sticky Rice Cake is a simple, easily prepared sweet dessert cake, that consists of glutinous rice, sugar, pandan leaves, coconut milk, salt and water, then steamed. Kueh Wajik Pandan / Pandan Sticky Rice Cake can be slightly plain when made in large amounts.

Kueh Wajik Pandan / Pandan Sticky Rice Cake

Mee Soto & Soto Ayam is technically the same dish in Indonesia, and the difference between the version in Indonesia is that it includes rice vermicelli and crackers, while the version in Singapore doesn’t have these ingredients.

Mee Soto Ayam

A classic Indonesia noodle dish, Mie Bakso or Mee Bakso consists of beef meat balls, served together with yellow egg noodles / rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, kai-lan / chinese broccoli and fried shallots. Mie Bakso is a common street dish, and is usually served with a thin beef soup / broth.

Mie Bakso

Mie Goreng, known in Singapore as Mee Goreng, is also common in Indonesia. However, the version in Indonesia tends to exclude the use of tomato ketchup or red food colouring, resulting in a more natural fried noodle brown colour than the version in Singapore, as well as a more savoury taste.

Mie Goreng

Mie Tek Tek is named for the sound made by travelling street food vendors hitting their wok to attract attention. Functionally, the ingredients in Mie Tek Tek are similar to Mie Goreng, with the exception of a more liberal use of chicken stock, resulting a a gravy instead of being served dry.

Mie Tek Tek

Nasi Goreng is a dish of fried rice in Indonesia, and its versatility lends itself well to many variations. Nasi Goreng is considered one of the national dishes of Indonesia, and almost all variations will consist of white rice, oil, salt, garlic, shallots, chili, kecap manis / palm sugar and spring onions. Nasi Goreng Kampung is a basic version that includes eggs, anchovies, onions, cucumber and tomatoes. Nasi Goreng Seafood includes squid, fish and prawns. Nasi Goreng Teri includes powdered turmeric, salted anchovies and diced chicken.

Nasi Goreng Kampung

Nasi Goreng Seafood

Nasi Goreng Teri

Nasi Uduk is a traditional dish which originated in Jakarta, and consists of white rice cooked in coconut milk with shallots, clove, pandan leaves, cassia bark and lemongrass. Nasi Uduk has a rich, oily texture and a strong fragrant aroma. It is often served with various side dishes.

Nasi Uduk

Onde-Onde / Sweet Coconut Glutinous Rice Balls is a popular sweet dessert in Indonesia, and consists of glutinous rice, pandan leaves, water, palm sugar, sweet potato, salt and garnished with desiccated coconut. The liquid palm sugar oozes out of the soft and chewy Onde-Onde / Sweet Coconut Glutinous Rice Balls when bit.

Onde-Onde / Sweet Coconut Glutinous Rice Balls

Opor Ayam / Coconut Milk Chicken consists of bone-in chunks of chicken, bay leaves, cinnamon, galangal, lemongrass, coconut milk, onions, garlic, coriander, cumin, ginger, pepper, salt, powdered turmeric, kaffir lime leaf and palm sugar. Opor Ayam / Coconut Milk Chicken has a thin but savoury curry, and is usually served with white rice.

Opor Ayam / Coconut Milk Chicken

Perkedel Kentang / Spiced Potato Cake is a popular side dish that accompanies meals in Indonesia. Perkedel Kentang / Spiced Potato Cake is made with potatoes, chicken eggs, pepper, salt, garlic, chinese celery, candlenuts, nutmeg and shallots.

Perkedel Kentang / Spiced Potato Cake

Peyek Bayam / Fried Spinach is a common snack in Jakarta, and is made by deep frying spinach coated with rice flour, garlic, coriander, salt and galangal, in oil. Peyek Bayam / Fried Spinach is quick and easy to prepare, and is commonly sold along the streets.

Peyek Bayam / Fried Spinach

Rendang Daging / Beef Rendang consists of chunks of beef meat marinated in a rich mix of coconut milk and spices, which include ginger, galangal, powdered turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, chili, shallots, kaffir lime leaf, palm sugar, coriander seeds and salt. Rendang Daging / Beef Rendang is slow cooked over many hours, and has a complex and unique taste, with a soft yet juicy texture to the meat. Traditionally, Rendang Daging / Beef Rendang is dry, with little to no gravy, and was served during special ceremonies, or to honoured guests and elders.

Rendang Daging / Beef Rendang

Rujak Bebek / Fruit Rojak uses a mixture of fresh fruits, including mango, banana, grapefruit, sweet potato, kedondong / umbra, jackfruit and guava, with a spice mixture of chili, pepper, tamarind water, palm sugar, shrimp paste and salt. Rujak Bebek / Fruit Rojak tends to be quite spicy in nature.

Rujak Bebek / Fruit Rojak

Salak / Snake Fruit is from a palm tree native to Indonesia. It’s named for the snake-like, reddish-brown scaly skin covering the fruit. Salak / Snake Fruit is edible, and resembles a garlic clove in looks, but with a firm, sweet and mildly bitter flesh.

Salak / Snake Fruit 01

Salak / Snake Fruit 02

A spicy chili base condiment, there are over 20 different variaties of Sambal Belacan, with some estimates putting the number at 300 variaties.

Sambal Belacan

Popular in Indonesia as well as Singapore, Sate Ayam, or Satay, is a common street food. The difference between the version in Indonesia is that the meat is basted with peanut sauce, which results in a sweeter, nuttier flavour, while the version in Singapore tends to have a more natural meaty taste.

Sate Ayam

Sosis Solo originated from Central Java in Indonesia, and consists of a wheat flour, chicken eggs and coconut milk pastry casing which encloses a savoury filling of minced beef meat, bay leaves, salt, pepper, palm sugar, onions, garlic and coriander. Sosis Solo is deep fried, and usually served as an appetizer or as a snack.

Sosis Solo 01

Sosis Solo 02

Sup Buntut / Oxtail Soup is a savoury, filling one-dish meal popular throughout Indonesia. Sup Buntut / Oxtail Soup consists of chunks of beef oxtail, carrots, water, potatoes, pepper, salt, garlic, chinese celery, tomatoes, onions, leeks, cloves and nutmeg. It is usually garnished with lime juice and crackers, and served along with white rice.

Sup Buntut / Oxtail Soup

Tahu Telor / Egg Wrapped Tofu Salad, which is more elegantly named in the local language than in English, is a savoury sweet dish of fried tofu cubes, wrapped in a mixture / coating of fried chicken eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, shrimp paste, and palm sugar / kecap manis, served on a salad of carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, green beans / string beans, chinese celery, shallots / onions, lettuce and ground roasted peanuts. Tahu Telor / Egg Wrapped Tofu Salad is popular in restaurants, and less commonly found in streetside pushcarts in Jakarta.

Tahu Telor / Egg Wrapped Tofu Salad

Teh Botol is a brand of bottled sweet jasmine tea produced by the Indonesia company Sosro. Teh Botol has achieved a pop culture status in Indonesia, similar to how Coca-Cola is a symbol of America.

Teh Botol

White Rice / Nasi is typically served with every meal in Indonesia, and most restaurants and cafes provide a free flow of it. White Rice / Nasi is accompanied by many other dishes as part of a meal.

White Rice / Nasi