Glodok Eats – Jakarta’s Chinatown
I’ve always been interested in the concept of “Americanized” cuisine — how a cuisine adapts to a pallet that is different from the one it was created for. This isn’t just limited to America, where our spice tolerance is fairly low overall, in Paris all the fried rice had nice cubes of ham in it. Because, naturally, doesn’t jambon go with soy sauce? So now that I am in closer proximity to China, it was time to see what Indonesian influence had done to Chinese cuisine.
But, since I haven’t been to China yet, it was rather hard to say if there was an Indonesian influence. All I can say is that the dumplings at Santong Kuo Tieh 68 on Jalan Pancoran were delicious. As we walked in, men were rolling out dumpling dough and their fingers nimbly danced back and forth perfectly sealing in the meat.
For about Rp 20,000 to 25,000 ($2.25 to $2.80) you can order a plate of 10 dumplings. We ordered the fried dumplings and the steamed ones, pork of course, as well as the bakso ikan isi – a fish ball stuffed with meat. I’m not a huge pork person, but once something is not readily available, here for religious reasons, you start to crave it.
The fish ball, was one of the most delicious things I have eaten recently. The meat on the inside was seasoned with cinnamon which added a great surprising flavor that was very tasty in a homey way. The standard dipping sauce was delicious; it was a combination of fresh garlic, vinegar, tomato sauce and some sort of chili sauce that I will now be trying to recreate.
After lunch we wandered the market in Chinatown.
The colors, smells, and sounds can be a little bit overwhelming, especially when it’s hot and you are walking in narrow alleys hoping that the motorcycle sound you hear, but don’t see, won’t hit you.
Down one back alley I noticed some pens. When I looked down at first it just looked like wet hay-like material in dirty water. Then something stirred. Yes, those turtles are meant for turtle soup — the man who they belong to confirmed this. I’m actually very curious about how turtle soup tastes, but I was full and the turtles looked sad.
Beautiful giant pomelos:
I have no idea what this fruit is. I asked the man and it was a name that neither Chloe nor I had heard before in Indonesian, and I have since forgotten said name. If anyone knows, let me know — I’d love to taste it (the wasps seemed to like it):
There were many fruit stalls in the back alleys. I love the way Indonesians display bananas:
The streets and alleys around Jalan Pancoran make for a great afternoon of wandering.