Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 3 November 2015 • Destination
Jakarta is no stranger to boredom. People working day in and out, with a commute time up to 4 hours a day and work load of that any capital city for business and government, it’s not surprising to hear people constantly complain and look for sorts of refreshing entertainment. So, is Jakarta a boring city? Well, our visit to Dapuraya didn’t say so.
Sometimes I don’t understand this concern, as it wouldn’t make sense not being able to find something interesting amongst the 20-something million people that occupy the metropolitan area of Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi. Jakarta is filled with entertainment if only one knew where to look. Well, that’s the void Pasaraya would like to fill.
There’s an element of ‘pasar’ in Pasaraya, which means market. Function-wise, Pasaraya is exactly that, a place of all sorts of things you would need, predominantly fashion. Located in the busy Blok M shopping area Pasaraya is one of the many, if not the fanciest, department stores within the area. However, to keep up with ‘entertainment’ demands, it’s currently running many programs to keep the ‘market’ alive.
Imitating the market ambiance, Pasaraya brought in a collective of items from traditional market and culinary variations within its walls. Of course, according to its standards.
A section of the market, one floor down from the Pasaraya entrance, is a collection of batiks from traditional markets around Java. The setting is similar to a traditional, with folded batiks arranged in high stacks. Like in markets, the art of finding that special piece that speaks to you relates to the ability to dig through the high pile. We’re also not just talking about one stack, but a few that could keep you occupied for the whole day. Treasure hunters, I’m sure this is your cup of tea.
The batiks have a wide price range and option, probably wider than that in the traditional market. Pricier items are usually hung on the wall, naturally to easily attract those with thicker wallets and have less patience to dive in. Also, batik on the main (entrance) floor are designed more modern, fitting into those that would like to wear batik but with a modern style. I can concur; very cute designs!
So aside to just go shopping in malls and see the same items on same brands in each of the many many malls in Jakarta, why not pop into Pasaraya and look for something more traditional and unique? Who knows, this might be a different feel for retail therapy that you just might like and become your alternative place to shop.
In a market, you’ll also find food, including that in Pasaraya. Dapuraya is the food court, located one floor down from the main floor. Although the KFC stall allures us on the corner of our eyes, it’s a whole range of traditional food spread through the floor that really offered a delicious and various ‘hometown’ food, Javanese to be exact. We had small panic attacks trying to figure out what to eat out of the many options.
Dapuraya is a great introduction towards Indonesian food, mostly Javanese. Seeing the amount of stalls, it’s ridiculous how many kinds of food make up the Indonesian menu. Although the taste of some of the dishes have been modified to suit ‘urban tongue’, it’s still similar to the real thing.
My tengkleng was a little off from the one I tried in Yogyakarta, naturally because that in Yogyakarta is the authentic one. Yet, it did fill that void of longing punches of spices and coconut milk bathing goat meat, still attached to its bone. The case was similar to some of the dishes our friends ordered, as we gathered a few for a friendly gathering, with comments of ‘lumayan’ or not bad to yummy reviews.
Vira had the gudeg, originally a Yogyakarta food. As she’s not too keen on sweet food, the gudeg here has the right level of sweetness, more subtle than those she’d tasted in its hometown. As for the krecek or cow skin, it would be great if it was made more savory and spicier. But all in all, she’s happy with she got.
A section in between the batik area and food court offers occasional themes. The case for October, it was snacks from Central Java and Yogyakarta. However, during our visit it was more of ‘older women pushing chairs and tables and practice their groove to cha cha’ than it was more of the food. Trust me, it was mildly entertaining more than it sounds weird.
I have to say, after visiting a few markets in Java and tasting a lot more traditional food in their origins, Dapuraya is quite distant from the real thing. However, when in Jakarta, Dapuraya offers a nice introduction to much of the traditional elements you’ll se when traveling to the rest of Indonesia. For some people, that’s a really good thing. Indonesia can be overwhelming and a nice introduction can help. Add to that, a little walk in this modified market could be the breath of fresh air amongst the busy city, including to those just dropping by.
Going to the market, anyone? Or do you have other suggestions that can be refreshing for Jakarta people?