Savouring Authentic Betawi Flavours in Jakarta

Nasi Ulam Jakarta

Have one taste of one of Jakarta’s comfort foods, and find yourself going back for more.

Deem it famous or infamous, nostalgic or notorious, love it or hate it, Jakarta is one intriguing city that no one can get enough of. No other city in Indonesia can rival the eclectic vivacity of the capital city. Different cultures, people, and stories meld into one colourful scene in Jakarta, and the foodie scene is no different.

While Jakarta is home to many street vendors and five-star restaurants with flavours from all over Indonesia and around the world, authentic Jakarta flavours lie in the array of much-loved Betawi (native Jakartan) cuisines, like soto Betawi, laksa Betawi, soto tangkar, and more.

Nasi ulam

Influenced by Malay cuisine, nasi ulam can be found in several places in Indonesia, like Sumatra, Bali and Jakarta. The one in Jakarta is called nasi ulam Betawi, and there are two kinds: the soupy one is usually found in northern and central Jakarta, and dry one in southern Jakarta. The dish comprises steamed rice mixed with lemon basil and chillies, topped with sliced cucumber, roughly ground peanuts and serundeng.

Kerak telor

This egg-based snack is such an iconic Jakarta treasure, that it’s the first thing people look for when they visit the annual Jakarta Fair, where there are rows and rows of kerak telor vendors. Literally meaning egg crust in Indonesian, kerak telor is basically a spicy and crispier version of omelette mixed with glutinous rice and served with serundeng (fried shredded coconut), fried shallots and dried shrimp.

Lontong sayur

Lontong, or cylindric rice cake, is one of the most common staples in Indonesian cuisine, usually as a replacement for rice. One of the Betawi culinary gems is lontong sayur, sliced lontong served in coconut milk soup, with shredded chayote, tempeh, tofu and hard-boiled egg, topped with sambal and kerupuk. A favourite comfort food, lontong sayur is very popular for breakfast or lunch.