As the capital of Indonesia, naturally Jakarta attracts scores of international and domestic immigrants. Along with the migration, these people brought their different backgrounds, cultures, dialects, and cuisines into this city. Thus, unsurprisingly hundreds of different dishes from all over Indonesia and all over the world can be found in Jakarta. This makes Jakarta a perfect heaven for food lovers to spoil their taste buds.
Local food from all over Indonesia can be found almost anywhere, whether sold by street hawkers, in mall's food court, or in nice restaurants. Some of local cuisines are Gudeg (Chicken, young jackfruit, and beef skin over rice) from Jogjakarta Central Java, Siomay (fishcake with peanut sauce) from Bandung, Soto mie (noodle soup with beef and cabbage) from Bogor West Java, Rawon (beef soup with brown color broth) from East Java, Chicken Satay (bbq chicken meat with peanut sauce) from Madura, Rendang (beef with thick curries) from Padang, Paniki (bats) from Manado Sulawesi, etc.
However, if you like to try Jakarta's most famous food, try ‘Gado Gado” which literally means "mixture". This dish is a mixture of boiled veggies, tofu, egg, corn, and shrimp crackers with peanut sauce. Beside Gado Gado, one dish that can be found almost in local restaurants are the famous nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice). But if you are only looking for finger food, then try Jakarta famous "gorengan" (fried tofu, tempe, sweet potato, taro, veggie spring roll, and banana). These food can be found almost anywhere on the street of Jakarta.
Eating these local foods, however, can be a little tricky for some. Unlike the Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Korean who generally use chopstick to eat, or westerners with their fork and knife, Indonesian use spoon and fork to eat almost anything. Hence, almost every Indonesian restaurant will provide spoon and fork as the main eating utensil. However, a chopstick might be provided when you order noodles. Moreover, it is not an unusual thing to see people eating with their hands, especially in restaurants that serve Javanese or Sundanese food.
Beside local foods, foreign food like American grill, foreign fast food chain, Indian food, French Food, Italian Food, Middle-eastern food, and all other international food can also be found in restaurants throughout Jakarta . In some restaurants, the taste of the food's served are altered to local palate. However, there are still restaurants where they reserve the taste authenticity of the food.
The recent trend place to have dinner and hangout with colleagues and friends are cafés. Hence, you can find numerous cafés spread throughout Jakarta , from the casual inexpensive cafés, to expensive upscale ones. However, the definition for cafés, bars and restaurants are getting more and more obscure. A restaurant or a bar that has live music performance or serves alcoholic beverage, can be called café.
Even though plentiful cafes are flourishing throughout Jakarta , that doesn't make the street hawkers unpopular. Another hangout place for the youngs are the hawker centers. These hawker centers usually offer local food such as mie ayam (chicken noodle), nasi goreng gila (it means crazy fried rice, fried rice with chicken, meatball, fishball, lamb, and sausage in it), bakso (meatball), bubur ayam (chicken porridge), satay (chicken or lamb bbq served with peanut sauce), and pisang bakar (grilled banana). Even though these food can be found almost anywhere around Jakarta, the current hangout hotspot are the ones in Pluit, Sabang, Pecenongan for Chinese food , Menteng, Blok M, and Kebon Kacang.