From visiting mosques and museums to eating Kuo Tie, Soto Padang, and Fish Head Curry, here are the best things to do in the historic Pasar Baru neighbourhood.
Having joined Jelajah Rasa’s culinary walking tour through Menteng back in June, we decided to partner up with the local culinary historians to hold a series of monthly events for our loyal readers. In case you haven’t heard of Jelajah Rasa, it is a guided tour founded by Indra Wihodo and Kevindra Soemantri that allows curious adventurers and foodies to explore Jakarta’s local neighbourhoods by foot and taste the area’s underrated local food. Together with Jelajah Rasa, we decided to head down to Pasar Baru, putting on our most comfortable shoes to explore the hidden gems of this historical area of Central Jakarta.
Even our sleepiness in the morning could not beat our excitement to tour Pasar Baru, especially with legendary restaurants like Shantung on our itinerary. The trip started off with a visit to the magnificent Istiqlal Mosque, which was previously the site of an old Dutch fort at Wilhelmina Park. The tour guide at the mosque walked us around the area, telling us the magical history behind Istiqlal. It was built by a Christian architect for 17 years from the era of President Soekarno, who went to the field himself to directly supervise the construction, in 1961 to the era of President Soeharto in 1978.
We couldn’t hide our admiration as soon as we stepped into the main prayer hall, where everyone immediately took their cameras out to get a good picture of its bronze-coloured dome. After exploring its indoor area, we went outside to the main courtyard, where the National Monument and Jakarta Cathedral can be seen clearly on the background as a symbol of our country’s religious tolerance. To our surprise, the mosque, which can fit up to 200,000 people, is in fact even bigger than Gelora Bung Karno stadium, making it the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and the 3rd largest mosque in the world.
After exploring the vast area of Istiqlal Mosque, we went on a short bajaj ride to Pasar Baru, making us nostalgic for the traditional transportation we used to ride home during our school days. We got dropped off just outside our next stop, Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, which is the first photography gallery in Indonesia. When we came in, there was an ongoing photography exhibition titled “Rasa”, which showcased the best works of students from 25 universities in Jakarta at the gallery on the first floor. It has a different view upstairs, which appears to be the museum where you can find photographs and documents from the period prior to Independence Day. In fact, the museum itself used to be a news agency that first broadcasted the news about our country’s declaration of independence.
We recently teamed up with Jelajah Rasa to host a culinary walking tour through Pasar Baru. Here's what went down…Video by Shinta Dharmayu for Honeycombers Jakarta.#HoneycombersJKT
Posted by Honeycombers Jakarta on Thursday, 16 November 2017
It was almost noon by the time we went out of the gallery, and we found our stomach grumbling to the thought of food. We then took a two-minute walk to Shantung restaurant, which is famous for its legendary Kuo Tie or Chinese dumpling. Obviously, the Vegetable Kuo Tie and Prawn Spring Roll immediately went out of sight as soon as they were served. The sauce, which is a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli sauce and garlic, made everything taste even better in our mouth.
From there, we headed down to have our proper lunch at Soto Padang H. St. Mangkuto, where each of us was served with a small bowl of Soto Padang and a choice of ketupat or rice. It was not the end of the tour, as we continued the trip with an Uber ride to Masjid Lautze. Unfortunately, the mosque was closed that day, but we could already see the strong Chinese influence in its red and yellow architecture, as it was built by a Chinese Muslim.
After visiting the mosque, we walked to our last destination: Rumah Makan Medan Baru. When at this legendary Padang restaurant, one must not forget to try out its legendary Fish Head Curry. We ordered three of its large portion to share between the group, and obviously, we finished it off in no time.
The tour finally ended after we finished having good food and conversations, and in case you missed this trip, don’t worry because we’re coming back every month for other trips to new exciting destinations!
Istiqlal Mosque, Jl. Taman Wijaya Kusuma, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta.
Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, Jl. Antara No.59, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta.
Shantung, Jl. Antara No. 29-31, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta. p. +62 21 352 0169.
Soto Padang H. St. Mangkuto, Jl. Pintu Air Raya No. 26, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta. p. +62 21 385 7357.
Masjid Lautze, Jl. Lautze No. 87-89, Sawah Besar, Central Jakarta. p. +62 21 629 6086.
Rumah Makan Medan Baru, Jl. Krekot Bunder No. 65, Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta. p. +62 21 3858 992.
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