A Singaporean Foodie's Guide To Jakarta In 5 Days

·5-min read
Flying fish (
Flying fish (
Flying fish ("gurame goreng") and satay ("sate") anyone? PSA: The satay over there is much juicier and more succulent hor! | Photos: Ng Kai

Julia Child always said, "People who love to eat are always the best people". Well, you and I must be the best kind, then, because food is always #1 no matter where we go.

I recently travelled to Indonesia - Jakarta, Bandung and Puncak, to be precise - for a short trip, and had the good fortune of being brought around by locals.

And lemme assure you, their food recs were top-notch. If you're ever in these 'hoods, then here's a list of good food places you must check out.

As the Indonesians would say: "Enak banget!" aka "so delish!"

JAKARTA

Jakarta is home to over 10 million people.
Jakarta is home to over 10 million people.
Jakarta is home to over 10 million people. | Unsplash/@madebyekhrwntro

Kafe Betawi

This chain opened in 1992 and has been wildly popular with both locals and tourists alike. If you want to try Indonesian street food without worrying about stomach upsets, then Kafe Betawi is your go-to place. How good's the food? I can only describe it as "die-die must try everything there if you can".

Also, they have outlets in almost every mall in Indonesia, so it's easy to find one!

This is
This is
This is "Soto Betawi" which loosely translates to "Jakarta beef soup". It's a traditional Betawi-style soup cooked in coconut milk, and has ingredients such as thinly cut beef or shank, fried potato, tomato and keropok. | Photo: Ng Kai
Lamb satay aka
Lamb satay aka
Lamb satay aka "sate kambing" - I'm sure your mouth is already watering looking at the chunks of flavourful meat. | Photo: Ng Kai
If you're too full, don't worry because you have a separate stomach for dessert. This is
If you're too full, don't worry because you have a separate stomach for dessert. This is
If you're too full, don't worry because you have a separate stomach for dessert. This is "kue rangi" which is a hard coconut cake with brown sugar sauce drizzled over it. Just get in my mouth already! | Photo: Ng Kai
It's amazing how something simple like fried fermented soybeans (aka
It's amazing how something simple like fried fermented soybeans (aka
It's amazing how something simple like fried fermented soybeans (aka "tempeh") can taste so wonderfully complex. Goes really well with chilli! | Photo: Ng Kai

GrabFood

Hear me out, GrabFood delivery in Indonesia is next-level. Of course I had to try the McDonald's there and OMG I'm sold.

Throw out your idea of a typical burger combo - I'm talking about a meal that comprises well-cooked rice, crispy chicken, and scrambled eggs with chilli.

Best part: when you use GrabFood there, the delivery fee is a tenth of the one in Singapore. Perfect for when you just feel like staying in and watching Netflix.

Idk what to tell you except that I was pleasantly surprised by how evenly cooked the rice was.
Idk what to tell you except that I was pleasantly surprised by how evenly cooked the rice was.
Idk what to tell you except that I was pleasantly surprised by how evenly cooked the rice was. | Photo: Ng Kai
This fried chicken and scrambled egg combo was heavenly.
This fried chicken and scrambled egg combo was heavenly.
This fried chicken and scrambled egg combo was heavenly. | Photo: Ng Kai

Mall nosh

If you thought Ion Orchard was bussin, you haven't seen the malls in Indonesia. Not only are they huge, they look fit for kings, and the food choices are both plentiful and delectable.

And I never thought the day would come when I would encounter meatballs tastier than the ones sold at my favourite meepok stall in Ang Mo Kio, but this famous meatball ("bakso") chain called "Afung" has taken the Number One spot in my stomach. The meatballs are hella tasty and the salty soup just packs an "oomph" and has an umami that leaves you wanting more.

Dessert was from another famous chain called "D'Crepes" - obviously, I ate the crepe; I got their SilverQueen flavour (SilverQueen is an Indonesian chocolate). I chose the soft crepe (there's an option for the "hard" one) and it was yummy AF with a generous amount of SilverQueen chocolate in it.

This mall is called
This mall is called
This mall is called "Pacific Place" and the malls in Jakarta are all pretty much this grand-looking. | Photo: Ng Kai
Just look how big the meatballs are; I'm a big eater and this was filling for me.
Just look how big the meatballs are; I'm a big eater and this was filling for me.
Just look how big the meatballs are; I'm a big eater and this was filling for me. | Photo: Ng Kai
Chocolate in a crepe. What more can you ask for?
Chocolate in a crepe. What more can you ask for?
Chocolate in a crepe. What more can you ask for? | Photo: Ng Kai

Streetside grub

If you're like me and "weak", then it's best to eat this if you're staying home the next day LOL. But, hey, some things are just worth lao sai-ing for.

I had streetside mee goreng, where the stall vendor fries everything in a huge wok and piles it steaming hot onto a plate for you. The fried tofu was 10/10 - I didn't know tofu could taste that good on its own.

No words needed - you can see how amazing this streetside mee goreng looks.
No words needed - you can see how amazing this streetside mee goreng looks.
No words needed - you can see how amazing this streetside mee goreng looks. | Photo: Ng Kai
The epitome of cripsy on the outside and soft on the inside. Streetside tofu FTW!
The epitome of cripsy on the outside and soft on the inside. Streetside tofu FTW!
The epitome of cripsy on the outside and soft on the inside. Streetside tofu FTW! | Photo: Ng Kai

BANDUNG

Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano located 30km north of the city of Bandung.
Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano located 30km north of the city of Bandung.
Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano located 30km north of the city of Bandung. | Photo: Ng Kai

Raja Sunda

Think zi-char but perfected in Indonesia. I'm not kidding you when I say this restaurant was my favourite place of the whole trip because of how good the food was. You can get all sorts of local fare here, and every single item will blow you away - my tummy is crying just thinking about the food.

The iconic
The iconic
The iconic "gurame goreng" or "terbang" aka fried flying fish. It combines the crispiness of potato chips with the juiciness of fish meat. | Photo: Ng Kai
More fried tofu! But this one is known as
More fried tofu! But this one is known as
More fried tofu! But this one is known as "tahu kipas" which is another variation of fried tofu. Better than fried chicken IMO. | Photo: Ng Kai
Fried squid or
Fried squid or
Fried squid or "cumi goreng". | Photo: Ng Kai

PUNCAK

Hilly and airy, Puncak is about a two-hour drive from Jakarta.
Hilly and airy, Puncak is about a two-hour drive from Jakarta.
Hilly and airy, Puncak is about a two-hour drive from Jakarta. | Photo: Ng Kai

Puncak Pass Resort

This place has the best of both worlds: spectacular views and good food. The pancakes here are tok-kong to say the least - you have to get the "Hollandse Poffertjes" which are Dutch mini pancakes.

But hor, remember to take pics with the view first, because you might look too bloated after (confirm plus chop eat a lot here).

Their signature Dutch mini pancakes.
Their signature Dutch mini pancakes.
Their signature Dutch mini pancakes. | Photo: Ng Kai
I kid you not, this
I kid you not, this
I kid you not, this "pisang goreng" gave me a mouthgasm. | Photo: Ng Kai
Perfect for a rainy day, this
Perfect for a rainy day, this
Perfect for a rainy day, this "bubur ayam" or "chicken porridge" really hit the spot since it was a bit cold up there. | Photo: Ng Kai

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