A neighbourhood guide to Chinatown
Think Little Tokyo was fun? It’s time to take your inner-city adventures up a notch by venturing further north to the Glodok Jakarta – the city’s Chinatown!
Chinatown is not for the faint-hearted. The muddy streets, narrow alleys, and run-down buildings aren’t exactly picturesque, but if you’re adventurous, your bravery will be greatly rewarded with culinary delights (mostly non-halal), historical treasures, and cultural heritage. Don’t forget to wear something comfortable (shorts and flip-flops worked well for us), and prepare your haggling skills. Earlier is is better when it comes to Chinatown as some restaurants are sold out by noon and traffic gets worse later in the day.
Park your car at Pasar Glodok or the Chandra Building to start your walking tour. If you’re taking public transportation, the TransJakarta Blok M-Kota route passes through the Glodok station.
From the bus station, walk straight and turn left at Pancoran Street. From there, turn left on Jalan Kemenangan where you will find the bustling Petak Sembilan traditional market. You’ll find the usual vegetables, fish and meats, but you’ll also find Chinese snacks and traditional medicine. Explore the market’s stalls while making your way to the center of it all to find Bakmi Loncat. We love their bakso goreng and siomay – both are non-halal. Only early birds will get a taste of their nasi tim though, it’s usually sold out by 8am!
Bakmi Loncat, Jl. Kemenangan Raya (Petak Sembilan) No. 27a, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/9277-0962. Hours: Sun-Mon 6am-12pm.
Temples, churches, and suikiaw
Right before Jalan Kemenangan III you will find the oldest Buddhist temple in Jakarta, Vihara Dharma Bhakti (Jin De Yuan), built in 1650. Turn right on Jalan Kemenangan III and you’ll see another religious landmark, the Santa Maria de Fatima Church. You can see the strong Chinese influence on this Catholic church in its red doors and the roofs. Across from the church is a culinary gem: Mie Ahin. Famous for their suikiaw (wontons) as well as their noodles, Mie Ahin is hidden behind a gate, so it may take a second look to get to those delicious wantons. The street is also home to another Buddhist temple, Toasebio.
Vihara Dharma Bhakti, Jl. Kemenangan III No. 13, Glodok, North Jakarta.
Santa Maria de Fatima Church, Jl. Kemenangan III No. 47, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/629-3527.
Mie Ahin, Jl. Kemenangan III, Gang 3, No. 33, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/629-8885. Hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-11pm.
Vihara Dharma Jaya (Toasebio), Jl. Kemenangan III No. 48, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/649-7849.
Back to Jalan Pancoran, you will find Rujak Shanghai Encim. This dish will pass your nutritionist’s test; it consists of boiled cuttlefish, water spinach, and ground peanuts drenched in special red sauce. Don’t forget a dollop of their sambal for a special tangy kick.
Right after Hotel Fortuna, you’ll find an alleyway filled with food stalls. There are plenty of options from the expected to the bizarre including nasi campur (rice with mixed pork), roast duck, pi-oh (steamed sea turtle), and sekba (pig intestines cooked in a sweet sauce). Stop by the legendary Warung Tak Kie for Medan-style coffee with condensed milk. Their homemade bihun is a favorite of ours!
A few meters further, you will find Toko Kawi, the Balinese ham specialists. We order their deliciously unique ham by the grams and have it sliced right before us. Not far from Toko Kawi is a small food court with a couple of must-trys including Mie Kangkung si Jangkung (noodle with water spinach in a thick sweet sauce) and Kari Lam (beef or chicken curry over rice or rice vermicelli). Turn left and you will find the Gado-Gado Direksi, a favourite of the late political leader Gus Dur. Come early – most times they’re already sold out at 2pm.
Rujak Shanghai Encim, Jl. Pancoran Stand 68, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/9393-0521. Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-6:30pm.
Warung Tak Kie, Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan III No. 4-6, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/692-8296. Hours: Mon-Sun 6:30am-2pm.
Toko Kawi, Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan III No. 28, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/630-4408. Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-5pm.
Mie Kangkung si Jangkung, Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan II No. 71H, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-811/916-158. Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-4pm.
Kari Lam, Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan II No. 71H, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/9376-2818. Hours: Sun-Mon 10am-4pm.
Gado-Gado Direksi, Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan II, Glodok, North Jakarta, p: 62-21/9253-1495. Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.
Head north and you will arrive at the Pasar Pagi Asemka, where you can find almost anything. Toys, stuffed animals, accessories, umbrellas, sporting goods, you name it! We love the gigantic Disney character stickers, if you have little ones around, this is the easiest way to bribe them to do anything you want.
Walk further to the left and find a red Chinese-style building on the right. On the second floor of this building, you will find Nasi Tim Pasar Pagi, which is known for its chicken rice. We like our nasi tim with raw egg on top, mix it in with the hot rice to make a Chinese version of bibimbap. It’s a nice, filling way to end your culinary journey through Chinatown!
Pasar Pagi Asemka (under the Jembatan Lima Flyover), Jl. Asemka, Glodok, North Jakarta. Hours: Sun-Mon 8am-6pm.
Nasi Tim Pasar Pagi, Proyek Pasar Pagi lama, 2nd floor, Lot U 18 & 21, Jl. Asemka, Glodok, North Jakarta p: 62-21/690-2665. Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-2pm.