It has been almost 2 years since I moved back to Jakarta. Surprising to myself, I am finding living here exciting. Especially recently.
The past few months, we, Indonesians, have been engaging ourselves (both in our daily and mostly in our virtual life) with the Presidential election. I even felt a post-election blues then, fortunately I went straight to my 3-weeks long vacation right after.
The result of the election is said to give positive developments for the creative industry and small businesses. But even before that, Jakarta has seen the sprout of creativities popping out in every corner of the city, not only in the “Pusat” (center) area but all over Jakarta. Later, I found that part of it is thanks to our beloved governor who has just been elected as the new president.
One of the proofs to the above is: Pasar Santa (on Jalan Cipaku, South Jakarta)
A traditional market strategically located between South and Central Jakarta, Pasar Santa is becoming the “it” place in town. Despite its lack of air-conditioning, a few creative hip shops and eateries are opening up in this space. Started with abcd_coffee or A Bunch of Caffeine Dealer, with their pop-up cafe and pay-according-to-your-generosity policy, Pasar Santa is crowded with curious visitors especially towards the end of the week.
ABCD Coffee is the current talk-of-town among coffee lovers. A coffee school, it also serves quality espresso with trial beans from different roasteries around the world during certain weekends. Their main business is providing coffee lessons to interested students in small groups. Friday is their Milk Day where during certain hours they will give-away 30-something cups of cappuccino to the market’s visitors. Why? Because this is the day when the students are learning to make cappuccino so they have an overflow of cappuccino made by these students. Their options are to throw it away or to make other people happy.
A lunch visit to the market found me with two servings of bakmi ayam (noodle with chicken) at the barely a week-old Mie Chino. Started by a young ex-chef, who gained his experience in Melbourne, mie chino sells a simple dish loved by local Jakartans. Their only menu currently is just that chicken noodle, however, you only need one good dish to have people come and frequent your shop.
Visiting the market the next evening gave a different flavor and ambiance. With a few more shops opened, we got more glimpses of what this place will hopefully become. Bear and Co., helmed by a team of husband-and-wife, sells hand-crafted drinks and cakes. Their signature drink is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee and Tea infused with CO2, served directly on tap. This is probably the first in Jakarta. They can also make different twists as cold cappucino and others. A really refreshing and fun place to hang around.
Another curious shop opened that time was Ketan Pasar, serving Indonesian sticky rice with your choice of condiments. We loved their tiny serving of this ketan with our choice of sweet (coconut, milk, and sesame seeds) and savoury (spicy soybean cakes) ones.
Siomay Tiban, which is a bit hidden from the happening-stair-area, was sold-out by our order. Like other shops, this place serves only one item, siomay or Bandung fish cake, and at a very reasonable price, IDR 3k per piece.
Chatting around the market, we learned that this is one of Mr Jokowi’s initiatives which is to provide a creative space and community in a traditional market. All of the spaces on the second floor have been fully leased out and the management was actually asking for a grand opening of the shops on August 30th last week. However, many of the spaces are still undergoing construction or even left empty for now. But if you are looking for something different in Jakarta and tired of going to malls, visiting Pasar Santa is a good alternative.