How to Eat Your Way Through Jakarta

by Dea Martinjonis August 23, 2017

Amazing people, a thriving tech scene, and a food culture that will make your heart (and face) melt — welcome to tropical Jakarta, a foodie’s wildest dream come true. Your tour guides for a day of culinary magic will be team GO-JEK.

GO-JEK, Indonesia’s first unicorn company and a leading name on the booming local tech scene, is on a mission to unleash social impact through technology. Their mobile application is the number one online service booking app in Indonesia, and now they’re hiring on Jobbatical to bolster their already stellar Jakarta-based tech team.

This can only mean one thing: Everyone, get ready to move to Jakarta!

While there’s plenty of excitement to go around in the Indonesian capital, the real question on everyone’s minds is, “What do we eat first?” Not to worry—GO-JEK hooked us up with heaps of inside information and fascinating data about this electrifying city’s eating habits.

In a city as huge and diverse as Jakarta, you will truly be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating your way around its streets. A potential downside of this abundance: how can you possibly know what’s what—and what’s good?

From their experience running their food delivery app, GO-FOOD, team GO-JEK knows exactly what locals like to eat. Here’s some need-to-know food-related vocabulary to make it easier for you to navigate the extraordinarily colourful Indonesian culinary scene.

The number one item people in Jakarta order through GO-FOOD? Nasi putih — boiled rice. Perhaps not incredibly exciting on its own, this ubiquitous side dish is by far the most popular addition to any meal. For example, you’ll find it on any menu next to countless varieties of ayam (chicken — the second-most frequently placed order).

Nasi goreng, the third-most popular item on GO-FOOD’s list, is another dish you won’t be able to avoid in Jakarta. Nor should you want to avoid it, mind you — stir-fried rice is a local staple that comes in many varieties (think seafood, chicken, eggs, and any other addition you can think of), all of them delicious.

Nasi goreng kambing (goat meat fried rice) being prepared in bulk in Jakarta. (Photo by Gunawan Kartapranata)

If you have a sweet tooth, you might like to try pisang goreng madu, fried banana with honey, coming in at number four on GO-FOOD’s list.

Rounding up the top five of most popular dishes among Jakartans is hot crispy chicken — possibly the three most beautiful words in the English language. Sign us up!

Other must-have foods, as recommended by the Go-Troops, include martabak (a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread) and rendang (a spicy meat dish originating from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia).

Martabak. Image via Shutterstock

You can get your hands on the fiery deliciousness of rendang at any Padang restaurant (such as Pagi Sore — one of the best Pandang restaurants in the city, according to our sources.)

Beef rendang. Image via Shutterstock.

To uncover even more of Jakarta’s culinary treasures, head to Blok M Square—one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations, home to many legendary eateries and a Go-Troops favourite.

For when you need a change of pace and flavour profiles, GO-JEK recommends Little Tokyo — Jakarta’s Japanese neighbourhood, popular with foodies of all descriptions.

If you need to regain your productivity after one meal too many, GO-JEK’s favorite cafés to work from in Jakarta are Monolog, Djule Kofi, and TwentyFifth in Wijaya Street.

Once you’ve been productive for long enough, you deserve a drink—it’s time to check out the bar scene. Our local eyes and ears on the ground recommend you make your way to:

  • CJ’s, an elegant club and lounge combo in a prime location in South Jakarta’s Hotel Mulia Senayan;
  • Any bar in Blok M, the massively popular shopping and revelling destination known for its lively bars that fill up quickly and stay open late;
  • The legendary Jaya Pub, the city’s oldest expat bar (open since 1976, although they’ve since moved to a new location);
  • De Hooi, a friendly and fun-loving bar in the upscale Pondok Indah area;
  • Lucy In The Sky, an eclectic bar with a distinctly bohemian vibe.

Photo: Lucy In The Sky on Facebook

And there you have it—your complete Jakarta experience. They might be amazing tour guides and Indonesia’s first unicorn, but what makes GO-JEK really stand out is their social impact. If that sounds like the kind of team you want to be part of, join them in Jakarta — a city you now know like the back of your hand!

Team GO-JEK, your Jakarta guides for the day—and possibly your future coworkers? (Image courtesy of GO-JEK)

Check out GO-JEK’s openings here:

Share this article:

Get a job abroad in 2019

Sign up to Jobbatical and explore these featured locations