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Kaki Lima ☆ Street Vendor in Jakarta

December 13, 2010




Kaki Lima literally means five legs in Bahasa Indonesia. If you look at the food cart in the first photo, you see that there are two wheels and 3 legs supporting the cart. Street vendors pull their food carts to wherever they keep them over night at the end of the day. Whether it shines or rains, they come out and sell their food on the street and they are all over Jakarta (I haven’t been outside of Jakarta yet). Many domestic helps and drivers are their customers.

This one I took pictures of is always at the location near my house and I have always thought the colors looked pretty. I finally took some photos on the way to grocery shopping the other day. I asked the owner and he was happy with it. Luckily the sun was out which is not very common here. I would not brave the food from a street vendor myself, but I would like to get some for my help at home some time.

Kaki Lima. I think it sounds so cute. All the kaki limas build the character of the city. I have been in Jakarta only for about 4 and a half months, but when I talk about the city, I cannot talk about it without mentioning kaki lima and bajaj.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 9:06 pm

    Kaho, don’t be so scared of getting a disease from the street food vendors. While living in Thailand we were having fruits from street stalls everyday and never encountered any problem. Just pick a vendor that is in a busy street, the turnover is higher and you are sure the fruits are fresh. And make sure he uses gloves (some do), or that at least his hands are clean :)

    • December 14, 2010 8:52 am

      You think so…? I already got sick from eating clean food (so I think). I have always told people that I have an iron stomach and I do not get sick. I only got sick (very light) when we lived in Africa and here, something knocked me down. I hear Thailand is nice and clean. Did you find it true? I’ve never seen gloves in Jakarta. Interesting!

  2. Ayako permalink
    December 13, 2010 9:34 pm

    It reminds me of my life in Panama. There were so many those kinds of street vendors in Panama city too and it was really fresh and sweet. So do you often get those fruits from him?

    • December 14, 2010 8:56 am

      I’ve never bought fruits for ourselves from a street vendor actually…. He sells cut fruits, but I don’t know how clean they are, so I usually buy fruits from a grocery store and cut them at home. The water quality in Jakarta is really bad and we know many people get sick from what is supposed to be clean, so that makes me want to be cautious. It is very tempting though!

  3. December 14, 2010 8:30 am

    they are such cute photos – I love them. I would love to visit one of those vendors…and so glad he was cool with getting his picture taken!! I’m so shy to ask people here because my german is so bad, haha!

    • December 14, 2010 8:49 am

      Wait, I thought you spoke German for some reason! Where are you from?

  4. December 14, 2010 4:34 pm

    It looks pretty tempting, though, doesn’t it? I try to be careful with water when I travel, but love street stalls that sell cooked food (that’s where the high turn-over comes in).
    What are those beautiful red fruits?

    • December 14, 2010 6:09 pm

      Hi, Skye! Street stalls are fun! I’m not sur what those red fruits are… I need to ask around!

  5. December 15, 2010 12:17 am

    The red fruits are called “Jambu air” in Indonesia… “Jambu” means guava, so I think it’s a family of guavas, “air” means water btw…( I googled it and the english name is water apple though).
    “Rujak” sells various cut fruits and you eat it with some homemade chili sauce (sambal). The ripe fruits and hard textured fruits taste better with this sauce!
    Indonesia is a hot country so we love everything spicy and hot hot hot!! yum!!

    • December 15, 2010 12:19 am

      ooops… “rujak does not sells…” I mean Rujak is the name of the food ;p

  6. December 19, 2010 5:05 am

    I would say, to be safe, stay away from raw/cold food that they sell at Kaki Lima. Making sure they have proper place to wash their hands, plates & utensils or at least by checking how clean their water buckets.
    Dina @ http://blog.sweetbatik.com

  7. Meli permalink
    December 31, 2010 11:49 pm

    These are just beautiful photos!! Do you know what sound the rujak seller makes?

    • January 14, 2011 11:05 am

      I’ve never heard them make any sound. They are sort of like a restaurants on a cart that stays at the same place all day, but they leave at night. I hope this answer helps. I’m sorry I didn’t reply to this question for a long time!!

  8. Kiki permalink
    January 4, 2011 12:56 am

    Hi, found your blog by coincident and love it soo much, you have beautiful girls and the photos are very good. I’m an Indonesian and sometimes buy food from kaki lima. I love rujak, you should try. Perhaps you can buy the fruits at the grocery and cut it, ask your maid (if you have any) to make the sauce or buy the ready-to-eat sauce at supermarket. If I really want Rujak from kaki lima, my trick is to wash the fruits at home with clean and drinkable water. Enjoy Jakarta!

    • January 9, 2011 8:10 am

      Thanks for leaving me a comment! I’m sorry for taking so long to write you back. We’ve been traveling in Vietnam, so I haven’t been able to comment back when I wanted to do so. I hear that the sauce is special. Is it called Rujak? I have to try it sometime!

  9. bugs permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:30 pm

    You know Kaho, Indonesia 30-40 years ago didn’t have many middle class, and most people in big cities loved to buy foods from street vendors, including children. Some of those children now become middle class or even rich Indonesians. And of course they still love to do that. That’s why, and it is interesting, you may find some people with nice cars make a queue just for foods in street vendors, especially the ones infamous to have delicious foods. They’re not afraid to do that since they eat street vendors’ foods on a daily basis since they were kids…:)

    • May 11, 2011 6:58 am

      Really? I haven’t noticed any cars around kaki lima except for taxis, but I will pay more attention from now on! I see some kaki limas on busy road during rush hours in the evening. Good for them to get out there trying to sell food, but sometimes I worry that they could get hit by a car.

    • bugs permalink
      May 11, 2011 7:37 pm

      haha of course not in all kaki lima or warung, but only those become famous with their foods… in Indonesia we call this kind of food adventure as “wisata kuliner”, “wisata” means tour, and “kuliner” means culinary…

      In Jakarta there’s a place called “nasi goreng kambing kebon sirih”, you’ll see people with many cars come to eat there… or bakso lapangan tembak in senayan and buncit… during the night you can try to pass through jalan Sabang and see many kaki lima with people come by cars to have a dinner…

      some of them become big (restaurants not a kaki lima or warung anymore), if you like soto you may try soto ayam pak sadi in jalan pierre tendean near by blok m…

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