Bir Pletok: Betawi’s Distinctive Herbal Drink

Despite the name bir (pronounced: beer), this drink contains no alcohol at all. It’s made from a mixture of spices and the Betawi people consider it a wellness drink, even though it was created under the influence of the Dutch culture of drinking alcohol during the colonial era. Bir Pletok is the star of Betawi

Sari Widiati

Rode Winkel: The Transformation of Toko Merah

After a long period of closure, Toko Merah is now open with its new name Rode Winkel, providing a vibrant way to stroll through its rich history while savouring good drinks and sumptuous food. Since its construction in 1730, the historic building named Toko Merah has changed ownership several times, from the VOC, Chinese civilians,

Kampung Tugu: Portuguese Traces in North Jakarta

Jakarta is widely known as a multi-ethnic city. Yet, not many people know that on the east of Tanjung Priok harbour lies a village inhabited by people of Portuguese descent who still preserve their culture and heritage. It is from this old village where keroncong music and gado-gado originated. On my way to Rumah Tugu

Belanda Depok: The History of the ‘Depok Dutch’ 

‘Belanda Depok’ was once a pejorative, or mocking name, given to the old communities of Depok, a region found between Jakarta and Bogor, now best known as the home of The University of Indonesia. The origin of this term, meaning ‘Depok Dutch’, spans back to the early days of the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia and is an

Unique Stories Behind Indonesia’s Independence Day

The Proclamation of Indonesia’s Independence was read directly by Soekarno, accompanied by Mohammad Hatta, on 17 August 1945 at Jalan Pegangsaan Timur Number 56, Jakarta, at exactly 10am during the month of Ramadan 1366 H. While that moment itself is considered almost sacred by the Indonesian population, it was in many ways just the culmination

Historical Sites of Indonesia’s Independence in Jakarta

17 August 1945 was a sacred day for Indonesians: a declaration of independence, a rejection of colonialism. It was a long journey for the nation to achieve independence and in fact it continued to 1949, when the Dutch finally ‘accepted’ the nation’s sovereignty. Here are the historical sites of Indonesia’s Independence in Jakarta, the landmarks

Tumpeng Philosophy (and why we’ve been doing it all wrong)

Nasi tumpeng is iconic when it comes to Indonesia’s traditional celebratory cuisine. It has come to represent Indonesian culture and way of life through its variety of ingredients, colours, shape and its ‘serving’ tradition. Seen at birthdays, anniversaries, business openings, weddings, it is ubiquitous with celebration, but despite how commonplace it is, it turns out

Sunda Kelapa and the Birth of Jakarta

All data and history point to the area of Kota, on the west bank of the Ciliwung River approximately eight hundred meters south of the Pasar Ikan. There, the seeds were planted that developed into the metropolitan city of Jakarta Raya, one might say the birth of Jakarta, a city which is now home to

Betawi Culture, in a Nutshell

In light of the 494th Anniversary of Jakarta, it seems only fitting that we explore the very essence of what makes the capital ‘Jakarta’, with its plethora of cultures merging, and its history that’s rich with pride and struggle, the Betawi culture carries centuries of continuous amalgamation and union, birthing traditions and costumes that are

The Jakarta-Bogor Railroad: 150 Years of History

Railway development in Jakarta has a long history. One such historical railroad is the route between Jakarta and Bogor, originally used to transport plantation commodities from Priangan, West Java, to the city. Today the rail route is still one of the busiest, but its cargo has changed, shuttling commuters and those looking for opportunity in


Jakarta’s Ondel-Ondel, Explained

Though their bright and festive appearance seems to have degraded over the years — with (somewhat frightening) street-side buskers cheapening the city’s mascot for a little extra change — no one can deny how iconic and recognisable Jakarta’s ‘ondel-ondel’ are. But what are ondel-ondel, and where did they originate? The History of Ondel-Ondel These large

Hariom Tailor Pasar Baru

Hariom: The Legendary Pasar Baru Tailor Revamped

Pasar Baru is hardly new as its name implies, it has a long history of trade that stretches way back in time, in fact it is a memory that cannot be separated from the history of Jakarta. Most of the shops are able to tell the long history of doing business in the area, including

Did You Know: Jatinegara Market

In its history, the Jatinegara region, or Meester Cornelis, was once a colonial military area. Photo courtesy of The Jakarta Post Why is the Jatinegara Market also known as Mester? The name of Mester is written on the gate of Jatinegara market, visible from Jalan Jatinegara Timur. The area of Jatinegara was known as Mester

Now Bali