Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Street Food - Jakarta

Yard Bird and More,,,
While walking between my hotel and Merdeka Square I noted a narrow food alley that was packed with people. The next day I brought Pingles there for some lunch. An Indonesian colleague of hers told her to steer clear of the street food. "They use street water to cook in!" she'd warned. It threw me for a second, but only a second. I didn't fly all the way here to get scared off so easily.

The above is called Ayam Kremes, which can be loosely translated to "fried chicken with crispy flakes." It was accompanied by steamed rice wrapped in a banana leaf, triangles of tofu, sliced veggies and chile sauce. It was nicely spiced, probably with coriander, ginger, cumin and turmeric. Funny, but as an American I am used to a huge, chunky chicken leg. This was a true ayam kampung or "yard bird", meaning that the chicken most likely spent its life wandering around, pecking what it could to survive. There sure wasn't much meat, but what there was of it tasted good. Besides, for $2 American, I wouldn't dare complain.

Pingles got an order of Bakmi Bangka, which are noodles topped with chopped chicken. It was very nice - the noodles were tender as was the chicken. She squirted it with an assortment of chile sauces to get a nice burn going. I think, technically, this is an Indo-Chinese dish - bakmi comes from the Hokkien pronunciation of "meat noodles."

You could easily spend a week trying all the food here. It is a long, colorful alley with shops on the left and food stalls on the right. Not sure I can call it "street food" in the truest sense, this was more like a Singaporean hawker center, where each vendor has a fixed spot to sell from.

Alley south of corner of Jalan Kebon Sirih and Jalan Mohammad Husni Thamrin

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  1. It was a good long walk under the hot sun and a almost broken pair of shoes to get to this street food lane... but I am glad I did.

    Both dishes we tried were good. The chicken was indeed very good.. served fresh (piping hot) and crispy. I wonder if I can get this in Singapore... maybe I should look for it.

  2. Yes, this was a fun one. I'm sure you can find some version of it in SG.