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How I Became Fat in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
One thing I didn't expect would happen in Indonesia was that I would get fat.

I come from France, a country where we use sugar, syrup, butter, cream, sauces or oil in almost every single dish. And yet, in Paris my weight was a steady 70 kilograms.

While in Indonesia, I reached almost 90 kilos within a year, even though I was eating less. I tried to understand how it could happen, and I came up with a few possible explanations. Here is the 6-step story of how I became fat in Indonesia:

Step 1: Eating Indonesian Food All The Time
I love Indonesian food and I think it is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. Needless to say, when I'm in Indonesia, I eat Indonesian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The problem is that most dishes are extremely fat. Ingredients are rarely boiled in water, they are fried, sautéed, stir-fried or cooked in coconut milk, for instance Beef Rendang or Gulai.

Coconut milk has a 20% fat content, the equivalent of light cream. This percentage raises further as the water evaporates during cooking. In the end, a meal like Nasi Padang can easily reach 1000 kcal and 80 grams of fat (see here). That's the equivalent of a Double Whopper with Cheese from Burger King AND a can of Coca-Cola. Even a simple Nasi Goreng (without fried chicken) has 740 calories (see here)!

Some Indonesian dishes like Gado-Gado or Tempeh are considered more healthy. Yet if you look closely, they aren't.

Gado-Gado is a salad with boiled vegetables, rice and ... peanut sauce, which is made with fried peanuts, sugar and coconut milk. A typical serving of the sauce (100 grams) will have 300kcal and 25 grams of fat (see: Is Peanut Sauce Healthy?). So unless you eat it with almost no sauce, Gado Gado will also make you fat.

Tempeh is a healthy food too, but it is usually served deep-fried. If you want a fruit salad, you can also expect it will come with copious amounts of sugar and sauce.

Step 2: Doing My Groceries in Convenience Stores
When you live in Jakarta, bad food habits are easy to catch. The Government is obsessed with alcohol, but it seems unaware of the risks of high fat and high sugar diets.

Enter a convenience store in Indonesia and all you see are candies, sodas, juices, chips, cookies, ice-creams (and cigarettes). In a Circle K in Jakarta, I counted only a handful of products that didn't have added sugar or fat: Water, eggs, rice, milk, pasta, flour and oatmeal. All the rest was industrial, heavy-processed food.

For comparison purposes, this is what the equivalent of a 7-Eleven or Circle K looks like in France:
You'll find fruits, vegetables, salads, bread, dairy products, meat, pasta, sauces, condiments, eggs, etc. Actual, nutritious food. The chips, candies and biscuits section will take about half a shelf each. Oh, and yes you can buy alcohol and wine.

Even with the best intentions in the world, it is much more difficult to eat well in Indonesia when healthy food is harder to find.

Step 3: Blending in the Snack Culture
Indonesians have a great snack culture: They love to gather, discuss, smoke and try one of the hundreds of snacks available in the country. They even have a word for that: "nongkrong" (≈ hangout).
If you have Indonesian colleagues, you'll know that people here never stop eating, especially in the office. Whenever someone comes back from holiday, you can be sure she/he will bring a few of the local snacks from there. It's a fun tradition, but again more fat and more calories: 104 grams of "Krupuk" (Prawn Crackers) contain over 600 kilocalories. And trust me it does not take long for me to eat that. Indonesian "Gorengan" (Fritters) are even worse, reaching over 220 kcal each (see here).

Step 4: Visiting Bars and Clubs as a Main Activity
Honestly, there aren't many things to do in Jakarta at night apart from hanging out with other people in restaurants, lounges, bars or clubs. It's great for your social life, but again, it means more snacks, more alcohol and more sugary drinks. A typical week means at least 2 after-work drinking session, and a night out.

Technically, I could order just sparkling water each time, but I don't. I drink juices, beers, shots, spirits with mixers, etc. And when the party end, I have no better idea than having a burger or a porridge.

Step 5: Becoming Lazy
I've never really been into sports, but when you live in Paris, you easily walk several kilometers a day because the city has proper sidewalks and the weather is pleasant.

In Jakarta I barely walk 200 meters every day. In the morning, I go to the elevator, get a taxi in the lobby that takes me directly to the lobby of my office, sit down all day, then go back home in the evening again with a taxi.

Walking can help you burn a lot of calories actually. According to this paper, a 70kg man will burn around 5kcal every minute he walks, or 300kcal an hour. So by constantly using taxis, ojeks, lifts and escalators, I should have compensated by eating less. Of course I didn't.

Step 6: Dating an Indonesian Girl
One of the reasons I didn't mind being fatter in Indonesia was that my girlfriend would keep telling me that I looked better with some extra kilos. This was not only coming from her, but from all my Indonesian colleagues and friends.

The more weight I would gain, the more I would hear: "You look good Thibaud!".

When I came back from a 2-week holiday in France where I had lost a few kilos, people asked me: "Are you ok? What happened to you?.

Many Indonesians consider that being too skinny is a sign of poverty or malnutrition. A chubby person looks happy, rich and healthy. It does not help motivating you to be more careful with your diet.

Conclusion: Why Aren't Indonesians Getting Fat?
Considering what they eat, one could be surprised there aren't more fat people in Indonesia. In the street, most Indonesians are thin, especially those from the working class.

It is not difficult to understand why. Poorer people don't take the taxi, they walk. Poorer people don't sit all day behind a desk, they do hard job and chores. Poorer people also eat and drink less, particularly alcohol, fast food, candies, cakes, etc.

Among the middle class though, I've noticed there are more and more people who are overweight, especially among the middle class. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the number of people who are overweight in the country has grown from 12 percent in 2007 to 21 percent in 2010. That's a massive 9 points in only 3 years!

So the truth is: Indonesians are getting fat too, just like I did.

10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The restaurant chains listed below are on my personal blacklist. I consider they are the worst in Indonesia when in comes to the quality of the food they serve. They are also among the unhealthiest you'll find here. If you care just a little about your body, you should avoid them by all mean.

Most of them serve industrial, frozen food heavy in salt, sugar and fat. Ingredients are rarely authentic, especially those that are expensive in Indonesia like cheese or beef. They will always use the cheapest stuff, regardless of the taste. 

Cooks rarely have any background in cooking. They are often just high-school graduates with little training who only know how to stir-fry, deep-fry and pan-fry. It's not their fault though, the culprits are the bosses who decide on the recipes and one the ingredients used.

If you work for one of these chains, sorry about this post, it's not personal. I have nothing about the service or the staff. As far as I know, you do a great job welcoming and serving guests. My problem is only about the food in my plate.

Without any further delay, here are my 10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia:

I was tricked several times into eating a burger at Lotteria, and each time I've regretted it. They have nice posters with appetizing pictures of their burgers but the reality is completely different. The buns are dry, the beef patties are so thin you can hardly notice them, and the overall taste is bland. 

American Grill
I tried American Grill once in Surabaya. They had a very cheap buffet which seemed like a good deal. What a mistake! The buffet was mostly potatoes, pasta dishes and dry vegetables with mayonnaise. My friend ordered a steak that had mostly fat in it. I barely ate anything and went to a warung instead later that night.

They used to be part of Sizzler, an american chain, but they are now locally managed and you can feel the difference!

I'm sure you've noticed the CFC restaurants: They have a logo which is almost a copy of KFC. The acronym stands for California Fried Chicken but it is a 100% local brand. They have a branch in the airport in Jakarta in Terminal 3 and since there aren't that many other options to eat there, I tried once. As I could have expected, the food was gross. I probably lowered my life expectancy on that day from eating so much fat.

What is funny is that the name CFC is also the acronym for ChloroFluoroCarbon, also commonly named Freon. It is the product you put in your AC to make it cool.

I must be stupid because even though I hate the taste of the food in A&W, I must have eaten there at least 10 times. The reason is that they are usually conveniently located, in particular in the airport, and that the pictures look good enough to fool me. 

A&W is similar to McDonald's but more low-class. They serve rice, fried chicken and burgers. The burgers especially are horrible. They are small with a tiny beef patty, a small lettuce on top, some fatty sauce and industrial cheese. I have to admit their french fries are not too bad though.

Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza
The taste of both Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza is OK but their pizzas are so unhealthy that they should be forbidden to people under 18. Do you know for instance that the family size Pepperoni Pizza with normal crust has over 2,500 kilo-calories? The same pizza has also 3 times the daily limits in sodium and saturated fat.

Don't forget the mayo on the fat
D'Cost restaurants have a great slogan: "The taste of a 5-star, the price of street food" (Rasa lima bintang, harga kaki lima). What a lie! I tried their restaurant once based on this promise and to say that I was disappointed is an euphemism. First, the price is not as cheap as street food stalls, it is about 30% to 50% more. Second, the taste is as poor as it can get. They even managed to over cook the nasi goreng. It is a shame to go to D'Cost for Indonesian food when you can get so much better for half the price anywhere in the street.

They've also opened some D'Cost VIPs which are supposed to be even better... Taste of a 6-star?

Solaria serves cheap Indonesian and Western food in a modern setting. The owner must be well-connected because they have very strategic locations in almost every airport and middle-class malls in Jakarta. I've had their food about 5 times and I've never managed to finish my plate. The food taste and the quality of their ingredients seem to be far from their priorities.

Toni Jack's/JackStar
Even though Toni Jack's does not exist anymore, I have to mention it here. This fast food chain was created by a local businessman after he lost the license for McDonald's in Indonesia. His intention was to compete with the American giant by offering better food.

I was curious to see the result so I tried once in their Sarinah location. Haha what a joke it was! I remember waiting in line for 30 minutes (even though there were only a few customers), and then the burger I was served was barely edible. Unsurprisingly, they closed their operations a few months later.

According to Kompas, Toni Jack's changed its name to JackStar. They have one or two locations in Java, in Solo and Bandung.

Jollibee is an American-style fast-food chain originally from the Philippines. They tried to enter the Indonesian market a few years ago but closed down after only a few months. Apparently, they are planning to open again in 2016.

I tried Jollibee once when I was reviewing Manila Nightlife and it is by far the worst fast food restaurant I have ever tried. It is similar to Lotteria in the sense that they have good locations and good pictures.

More Bad and Unhealthy Restaurants in Indonesia and Jakarta?
There are some other serious other contenders for worst restaurant chains in Indonesia such as Texas Chicken and California Pizza Kitchen. I tried them a  long time ago though and I don't remember exactly the taste.

I could also have added Burger King and McDonald's, but honestly I occasionally have them and I don't think they are that bad (for the taste).

Finally, I never tried Hoka Hoka Bento but I can imagine it's not the best place for Japanese cuisine....

What other chain is worth mentioning? Please leave a comment below if you think I forgot one...

12 Delicious Indonesian Soups (and Where to Eat Them)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
A common mistake of foreigners visiting Indonesia is to limit their knowledge of Indonesian cuisine to Nasi Goreng and Nasi Padang. Few will taste one of the dozens delicious soups that you can try everywhere, from classy Indonesian restaurants to popular food courts.

Indonesian soups are typically made from some of these ingredients: turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, onions, potatoes, coriander, ginger, galangal, tomatoes and of course, coconut milk. Chicken is the most common type of meat, followed by beef, mutton and fish. Pork soups are very rare outside of Bali.

Sop or Soto?
It seems that even Indonesians are not so sure about the difference between "soto" and "sop". Some friends told me that "sop" are clear soups while "soto" are mixed with coconut milk. Wikipedia tells a different story: It says that traditional soups are called "soto" while modern, western-inspired ones are called "soup". If you know the difference, please help me by commenting below.

If you don't like coconut milk, you can ask the cook not to use any by saying "Jangan pakai santan". Alternatively, you can request your soup to be "bening" (clear).

I have just spent the last 3 weeks trying every possible "Soto" and "Sop" that I could find in Jakarta. That's about 40 to 50 soups. I noticed that the same soup will almost always be cooked in a different manner. Naturally, some venues are better than others so I give my some good restaurant recommendation for each type of soups. 

Sop Konro Makassar

Though the Coto Makassar is more famous, I prefer the Sop Konro. It is a thick, flavorful soup with a big piece of beef rib in it. It is made using keluwak which gives it a black color (similar to that of rawon). 

You can try it in Daeng Tata or in Sop Konro Karebosi (Kelapa Gading). If the taste is too strong, you can balance it using lime juice.

Soto Betawi

Originally from Jakarta, the Soto Betawi is similar to a few other soups that are cooked in a coconut milk broth (for instance the Soto Ayam). Just before serving, you will add green onions, boiled potatoes and fresh tomatoes. It is usually made with beef offals.

You can try in in Soto Jakarta Asen (Jalan Mangga Besar 1) or in Soto Roxy H. Darwasa (one of the oldest restaurants in Jakarta).


Rawon is a popular black beef soup originally from Surabaya. It is similar with Coto and Sop Konro Makassar as it uses kelawak. It is normally served with rice and called Nasi Rawon.

The most famous place to eat rawon is Rawon Setan in Surabaya. If you cannot go there, you can also try Rawon Setan Mbak Endang on Jalan Mangga Besar Raya, not far from Exotis.

Sop Buntut

The sop buntut or "oxtail soup" is usually rather expensive, even if you eat it in the street. Apart from the beef, it may include carrots, potatoes, cloves, nutmeg and tomatoes.

I would recommend you to try Sop Buntut Mangga Besar on Jalan Mangga Besar 1 (yes I spend a lot of time in that area as you can see).

Soto Ayam

Soto Ayam is the most widely available Indonesian soup, and possibly the most delicious too. The broth is aromatic and spicy, with a yellowish tint. It contains shredded chicken, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, turmeric, herbs, small eggs, koya and onions. The Soto Kudus, Soto Medan and Soto Lamongan (see below) are similar.

Best restaurant to taste a Soto Ayam in Jakarta: Soto Ayam Ambengan Pak Sadi (multiple branches in Kelapa Gading, Thamrin, Senopati, etc).

Sop Kambing

The Sop Kambing is my absolute favourite. I can usually smell restaurants that serve it a mile away and I love to try its variations. Popular versions include the Sop Kaki Kambing (Mutton Leg Soup) or the Sop Kepala Kambing (Mutton Head Soup). It is very similar with the Sop Buntut.

My favourite venue for Sop Kambing: Kui Sen Restaurant in Jalan Gajah Mada.

Soto Lamongan

 The Soto Lamongan is a variation of the Soto Ayam. The main difference is that it is a clear soup, without any coconut milk used. It is named after Lamongan, a city in East Java.

There are not many restaurants serving Soto Lamongan. If you don't find it near from where you live, you can go to the street food stall "Soto Ayam Lamongan Cak Kumis" in Bintaro 9 Walk.

Empal Gentong

Empal Gentong is a spicy beef soup from Cirebon. It is made of beef tripes (intestines) cooked in a curry sauce with coconut milk.

The most famous place in Jakarta is certainly Kedai Empal Gentong Mang Darma Cirebon in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta.

Soto Daging Madura 

There are actually several kinds of Soto Madura, with chicken or beef. The one I tried was a dark beef offal and meat soup. It is not my favourite as I find it less aromatic than other Indonesian soups.

I only had Soto Madura once in Tosoto, on Jalan Mangga Besar Raya. They have other branches all over the city as well.

Soto Medan 

The Soto Medan is a variation of the Soto Ayam, with a sweeter flavour. Another difference is that it contains potato croquettes called "perkedel". The one I had also had some noodles inside.

The best place to eat a Soto Medan in Jakarta is near Ancol in Soto Medan Pak Syamsuddin, Jalan Muara Karang Raya No. 17.

Soto Tangkar Iga Sapi

The Soto Tangkar Iga Sapi is similar to Soto Betawi except that the meat used is always beef ribs. It is popular mainly in Jakarta.

The legendary Soto Tangkar Tanah Tinggi is the must-try restaurant for this soup. It has been around since 1938, an eternity in Jakarta (Jalan Tanah Tinggi III No. 54 Central Jakarta).

Soto Kudus

The Soto Kudus comes from the town of Kudus in Central Java. It is a clear broth soup, usually made from chicken or buffalo, served in a small ball in which rice can be added. Its particular taste comes from the heavy use of garlic, fresh and fried.

There are several good venues to eat Soto Kudus in Jakarta. One of the most delicious is Soto Kudus Blok M on Jalan Kh. Achmad Dahlan No. 36.

Photo source: I took all photos myself except for the Empal Gentong and the Soto Kudus. I will add new soups as I try them, especially fish soups (sop ikan). Please don't hesitate to comment below if I made a mistake in my writing or if I missed your favourite Indonesian soup.

Eating Dog Meat in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Contrary to what many could believe, most of the restaurants serving dog meat in Jakarta are not Chinese, but Manadonese (North Sulawesi).

Just to clear any confusion, I am not talking about hot dogs/sausages, but the meat of the following animal:
One of the best locations in Jakarta for Manadonese cuisine is the food court of the mall Ambassador, on Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio. Dishes are usually so spicy that you'll have a hard time eating them if you are not so used to it. Another particularity is that they serve some rare animals including wild pigs, bats and dogs.

In the food court, the cleanest and best restaurant serving dog meat is called Ragey. They have a huge buffet with no tags so you'll have to ask the waiters for information about the food displayed.

The prices are cheap, you can choose several items and you won't pay more than Rp50,000. My advice is to take a lot of rice to limit the feeling of spiciness.

The taste of the meat is really not that special but it isn't bad either. In my case it's a one-time experience that I probably won't renew.
This is the dog meat
Note: Dog meat is sometimes called  RW for "Rintek Wuuk" (which means "soft hair" in Manadonese).

Ragey Manadonese Restaurant
Mall Ambassador 4th Floor No 03A Food Court
Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio, South Jakarta 12940

Phone number: 0812 88 47 66 33

Opening Hours:
Every day from 10AM to 9PM

If you are into more weird culinary experiences in Jakarta, you can read: Eating Snakes in Jakarta.

25 Best Markets and Shopping Streets to Visit in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Apart from the ubiquitous malls, Jakarta is filled with traditional markets and shopping streets. This review covers all the shopping areas to visit as a tourist. Some of them are very famous and some completely off-the-beaten track.

I've listed them in 4 different categories:
  • Traditional markets used by Indonesians for their daily household needs
  • Interesting shopping streets for the tourist or the urban explorer
  • Low-cost / wholesale shopping centers and malls with fake goods and great bargains
  • Specialty markets (Precious stones, birds, flowers, fish, etc...)

There are probably a lot more places worth mentioning so don't hesitate to comment below if necessary.

Traditional markets in Jakarta
Traditional markets in Jakarta are managed by Pasar Jaya, a public company controlled by the provincial government. There are around 150 traditional markets all around Jakarta, with over 100,000 stalls and 2,000,000 daily visitors. The opening hours may vary but they will always be the most crowded early morning. I only visited a few, often by coincidence:

Pasar Rumput
Pasar Rumput and nearby Pasar Manggis are quite old and kind of dirty. If you are adventurous though, they will provide plenty of great photo opportunities. They are located along the Manggarai railroad, not far from Jalan Sudirman so they are quite easy to reach.

Pasar Manggis, Jalan Guntur, Setiabudi, 12970
Pasar Rumput Jalan Raya Sultan Agung No.4, Setiabudi, 0218296376

Pasar Petojo
Pasar Petojo Ilik and Petojo Enclek are nearby traditional markets in relatively good condition. Very colourful, the outside has a lot of small shops selling fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meat.

Pasar Petojo Enclek, Jalan Suryo Pranoto Gang IX, Petojo Selatan
Pasar Petojo Ilir, Jalan A.M. Sangaji, No.16-18, 003/04, 0216329375

Pasar Mayestic
Pasar Mayestik is located in the affluent district of Kebayoran Baru. For this reason, you may see some expats going there. It is popular for fashion and fabrics.

Pasar Mayestik, Jalan Tebah III, Kebayoran Baru, 0217209918 / 021 722 2294

Pasar Pagi Kota
Pasar Pagi is not far from Taman Fatahillah (see below). Painted with bright colours, it is teeming with life, especially outside. It is a good idea to visit it on a day trip to Kota.

Pasar Pagi, Jalan Petak Baru, Malaka, Tambora 11230, 0216927675

Pasar Blok A Fatmawati
If you are an expat living in South Jakarta, you will find that Pasar Blok A is conveniently located. It is similar with other traditional markets with a large choice of food, fruits, vegetables, spices, meat and fish. A revitalisation of the market is planned in the upcoming years.

Pasar Blok A, Jalan R.S. Fatmawati Raya, 008/09, Kebayoran Baru, 0217393088

Shopping streets for tourists

Taman Fatahillah
Taman Fatahillah is probably the number one thing to do in Jakarta for tourists, both local and foreign. Naturally, lots of street vendors are trying to sell anything from precious stones to fake watches and temporary tattoos. 

Jalan Pemenangan (Glodok)
Jalan Pemenangan is a small street off Jalan Pancoran. It is the street that bring you to the Dharma Bhakti Temple. Most shop keepers are Indo-Chinese and sell from frogs to fireworks. Don't forget to walk in the small gangs (tiny streets). It is one of the few areas in Jakarta with becak (cycle rickshaw) and sepeda ojek (bicycle taxi).

Petak Sembilan
In the heart of Glodok, Petak Sembilan is one of the best streets to visit if you are a tourist in Jakarta. It has an indoor market with mostly Chinese goods and ingredients for Chinese cuisine. I recommend you to visit during Chinese New Year. There is also great street food stalls nearby.

Jalan Pintu Besar Selatan
Jalan Pintu Besar Selatan is located at the end of Jalan Gajah Mada. It is popular with street artists and caricaturists. It can be visited on a day trip to Kota as well.

Jalan Thamrin on Car Free Day
Every Sunday from 6am to 11am, Jalan Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman are blocked to cars from Sarinah to Plaza Senayan. Near Plaza Indonesia, you have a sort of Sunday market with mostly clothes and fashion accessories.

Pasar Santa
Pasar Santa or Shanta is a traditional market, still managed by Pasar Jaya, that recently turned into a trendy spot for young Jakartans. Located in a rich neighborhood, many of its shops are now targeting hipsters, expats and students.
Photo by Reyna Jung

Low cost / wholesale shopping centers and malls

Tanah Abang
Tanah Abang is probably the craziest shopping experience you can have in Jakarta. It is made of several markets, malls, blocks and shopping streets that will probably get you lost. Most shops sell clothes and fabrics, in particular Muslim wear. Don't hesitate to go on the small streets such as Jati Baru or Jelita: They are the closest you'll get from an arab-style open-air bazaar in Jakarta.

Pasar Baru
Constructed in 1820, Pasar Baru is one of the oldest markets in Jakarta. An institution in the city, it is famous for its large and affordable choice of fabrics and tailor shops, many of whom are owned by Indonesians from Indian ancestry. You will also find sports accessories, glasses, gold and shoes shops.

Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua
Mangga Dua is made of several malls, from low-end to mid-range. Pasar Pagi is one of them. It is a multi-storey wholesale shopping center with tons of great deals on clothes, especially if you buy large quantities. Not to be confused with Pasar Pagi in Kota listed above.

Pasar Senen
Pasar Senen is the oldest traditional market in Jakarta. Located next to Senen Atrium and the Senen rail / bus station, it was severely affected by a fire in 2014. You will find some cheap bags, shoes, luggage, glasses and vintage clothes.

Blok M Square
Located next to Blok M Plaza, Blok M Square is a popular shopping center, particularly for clothes. It also has a wide range of electronics, phones, kid's games and accessories.

Pasar Subuh Blok M Square, Jalan Melawai V, Kebayoran Baru, 0217262295

Pasar Induk Kramat Jati
As the biggest traditional wholesale market in Southeast Asia, Pasar Induk Kramat Jati is open 24 hours a day. In particular, you will find endless fruits and vegetables shops. Due to its off-center position, it is not as popular with tourists as it should. 

Specialty markets (Precious stones, birds, flowers, etc...)

Pramuka Bird Market
Pramuka is a bird and pet market started in 1975. It has attracted some bad reputation recently as a center for endangered species trafficking.

Pasar Burung Pramuka, Jalan Pramuka, Matraman, East Jakarta

Flower Market Pasar Bunga Rawa Belong
With over 430 shops, the flower market of Rawa Belong is reputed to be one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Prices are easily 20% less than anywhere else in the city. It is best to avoid street sellers and go directly inside the market. Bargain hard. Photo by

Pasar Bunga Rawa Belong (Flower market), Jalan Sulaiman No.1, Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta

Gem Market (Precious stones) - Rawa Bening
There are several places to buy gemstones in Jakarta, including several temporary exposition. One of the most famous is the Jakarta Gems Center in Pasar Rawa Bening, East Jakarta. Prices are very cheap but be careful to buy from reputed sellers only.

Jakarta Gems Center (Pasar Batu Akik), Jalan Bekasi Barat Raya No. 2, Jatinegara, East Jakarta, 0218197064

Antiques / Handicraft: Jalan Surabaya and Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur
Jalan Surabaya and Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur are both in Menteng, distant by a few kilometers. On both, you will find many antiques, Indonesian artefacts and souvenir shops. Prices are not fixed so you will need to be a tough negotiator. There are many fake objects too. The good thing is you can get prices much lower than in any of the specialized boutiques in Kemang or Bali.

Fish market: Pasar Ikan Luan Batang
Pasar Ikan Luar Batang is nice to visit for several reasons. It is just in front of the Bahari Museum (Maritime Museum) and from there, you can take a nice stroll to the Luar Batang mosque nearby. The fish market in itself is smaller than the one in Muara Angke listed below.

Pasar Ikan Luar Batang, Jalan Pasar Ikan 14-15, 011/04, Penjaringan, 0216621556

Fish: Pasar Ikan Muara Angke
The fish market in Muara Angke is the largest in Southeast Asia. It is recommended to visit it early morning. You have some great seafood restaurants as well, making the trip a must-do if you live in Jakarta.

Pasar Ikan Muara Angke (Fish Market), Jalan Dermaga I, Pluit, Penjaringan

Fruits and Vegetables: Pasar Minggu
Located in the South of Jakarta, Pasar Minggu is known for its large fruit and vegetables market, especially popular on Sunday. The area used to be cultivated but most of it is now residential housing.

Viagra, sex toys and accessories: Jalan Gadja Mada
Starting 10pm every night, dozens of small shops open on Jalan Gajah Mada and Jalan Mangga Besar. Here you can find a multitude of medication to make your manhood bigger and stronger. Some stalls also sell sex toys, blue movies (porn), condoms and weird accessories.