Food Props Hunting and Shots at Pasar Senen, Jakarta

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Visiting traditional markets in Indonesia was one of my “must-visit” lists when I was in the country. One of the markets was Pasar Senen (Senen means Monday while pasar means market) in Jakarta. Pasar Senen is a heaven for foodies who collect food props and enjoy photography.

With my baby brother and his wife, we flew to Jakarta from Surabaya which was only 50 minutes and stayed there for four days. I decided not to stay in a hotel but apartment. Staying in an apartment for 4 people in 4 days was a good safe on budget. If you think to travel to some big cities in Indonesia, renting an apartment is not a bad idea especially if you travel in a group. There are plenty nice apartments for rents especially around the business area such as Sudirman.

After some textings and personal messages through Facebook, Nizar nicely offered to take me to Pasar Senen. Nizar who is actually lives in the US and is still enjoying her vacation in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries until the moment this post is uploaded *I’m so jealous, Nizar if you read this post LOL*.

We were actually too late to go to Pasar Senen as this market has more to see and to buy in the morning such as fresh vegetables, fruits and Indonesian traditional snacks. We arrived there around 12pm.

My target to go Pasar Senen was to find some interesting objects to be shot as well as buying traditional Indonesian food props.

Buying food props there was a bit overwhelming for me. I felt I want to buy everything but I had to remind myself not to have an overweight baggage since our domestic flight doesn’t allow us to bring over 20kgs per person.

In this market, you can find some ingredients for Sumatran’s cooking esp Batak ethnic group that are not common to be used in Javanese cooking such as andaliman (a family of Szechuan Pepper), asam gelugur (a garcinia fruit family for for adding tart taste into Sumatran’s cooking), bunga kecombrang (torch ginger), and asam cekala (torch ginger fruit which has the same purpose as asam gelugur).

Also, I saw Bawang Batak or lokio (Allium Chinense G.Don) that is common to be found in Asinan Bogor (Vegetable Salad) or Arsik Mandailing (Spiced Carp with Andaliman and Lokio).

A place to find many varieties of dried fish or shellfish. However, I didn’t hunt down to get ikan kayu (Acehnese dried tuna), cakalang fufu (Manadonese smoked tuna), ikan sale/salai (smoked catfish).

Have you ever seen daun patat (Phrynium capitatum/Phrynium pubinerve)? These leaves are not banana leaves but they have the same purpose for wrapping material especially for Tauge Goreng (Bogor style Blanched Bean Sprouts with Fermented Soy Beans). Another ingredient for Tauge Goreng is red oncom. Oncom is made from the by-products of other foods production such as the make of tofu, coconut milk, tapioca starch.

For those who know tempe or the rest of the world say tempeh, here is how the traditional tempe in Indonesia is being sold.

At this market, you can also find many different fresh and dried herbs for curing the sick body way or maintaining our health in a natural.

Some foods that are sold at Pasar Senen and caught my eyes.

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About the Author

An Indonesian-born who lived in Winnipeg Edmonton, Canada for more than a decade prior to move to Edmonton in 2017. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.