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.


  1. Wuaaaaaahhh…. Mbak Pepy you must have had a great time there :D. Lovely pictures, have to visit Pasar Senen too someday when I have the chance visiting Jakarta πŸ˜€

  2. Hi Peppy,
    I am happy to see all of these familiar and not so familiar food photographs. Thank you for sharing them with us. Ps. Senen is one of my favorite pasar. Ps. Jatinegara is another favorite of mine.

    Is lokio the same thing as “wild garlic” here? I used to eat lokio with the lunpia, but I don’t know the English name for it.

    Can’t wait to see more pix.

  3. A nice showing of the markets here. I know what you mean about the temptation of buying things to bring home, but also the need to keep in mind the limits. I look forward to seeing more posts of your visit home.

  4. Have just returned from a holiday to Lombok and Bali. I travelled through Indonesia in my gap year almost 25 tears ago and instantly fell in love with the food, the customs, the people – all of it. So glad I have discovered your blog. Loved these markets pics. Traditional markets are my first go to in any city.

    • Beth, you’re lucky you have been to Lombok. Shame on me I haven’t been to Lombok yet. On my next visit hopefully! Did you go to any traditional markets in those two islands? I know Bali has some nice ones.

  5. Dear Mba Pepy,

    I really like your “Pasar Senen” pictures. Although I live @ Rawamangun, but (shame on me) I never been to Pasar Senen for food props. My usual place are Pasar Tanah Abang and Pasar Asemka. Thanks for your inspiration, I can’t wait to go there by my self.
    I’m adding to my blog roll @ mba, coz I’m in love with your writings.


  6. been 9 months move to jakarta but I havent seen pasar senen!its no so far away from takes 20 minutes without the traffic!yes i agree with you!its a must visit market!btw thanks for the pics!they gave me an idea where I can buy a cobek!lol …making sambal with a blender cant replace the taste of sambal from cobek!<3

    • Carli, did you mean the small mortar? If you go to Yogyakarta, they have more cheaper deal as most of them are made from that area even the ones in Jakarta.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.