Eating Traditional Snacks at Pasar Gede

The mission of this Central Java trip was only one; to eat as much as possible! My family is the type that really enjoys local delicacies. Whenever we travel to other towns in Indonesia, we never ever need fancy food in the restaurants; what we want is the authentic, home-cooked food, be it in the traditional markets, street stalls, or local eateries. So, the next morning we headed to Pasar Gede. According to the locals, if you want to go for a feeding frenzy, this is the place that you got to be!

I found some nostalgic food in the market. A lady sold some parcels of banana leaves and blendhung. My mom asked what inside the banana leaves was and she said it was “bothokan daun so and lamtoro”. Bothokan is Indonesian dish of which you wrap some ingredients, depending on what you make, inside banana leaves and steam the parcel. I was scratching my head and wondering what daun so meant. My mom said it’s the same as daun melinjo (the leaves of gnetum gnemon). Lamtoro is bean from lead tree, it is also called white popinac seed or jumbie bean. Blendhung is a sort of snack made from boiled hominy, topped with freshly grated coconut. I often ate it when I was a kid and usually added a pinch of salt and sugar. It’s very simple, but it brings back a lot of memories of my childhood.

Bothokan daun so and lamtoro, blendhung
Snacks and kitchen wares
Sacks of snake fruits (salak)
Inside Pasar Gede
Manisan kolang-kaling (candied palm fruits) and gempol pleret

We also found something called brambang asem. We bought a portion for only 2000 Rupiahs (a bit more than 1 Eurocent😂). Brambang asem is actually rare to find nowadays. But, in Pasar Gede you can still find plenty of them. It consists of steamed sweet potato leaves, tempe gembus (sort of tempe made from soybean dregs), and sauce made of tamarind, chilies, palm sugar, grilled shallots and terasi (shrimp paste). You usually eat it with hands. It was finger licking good! We also bought sosis solo and arem – arem. Sosis solo is a kind of rolls with chicken filling. The skin is made from a batter with coconut milk. That’s why it’s very savory. Arem-arem is a sort of stuffed rice cake, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The rice was perfectly cooked, and the chicken filling is spicy.

Brambang asem
Sosis Solo and arem-arem

When we walked further, we saw a stall selling black paste, that looked exactly like the paste of pecel ndeso that we ate the previous night. Then there were some ladies selling lenjongan. Lenjongan is various Javanese sweets, usually served with toppings such as freshly grated coconut and palm sugar syrup.

Various kinds of Indonesian sauce paste
Lenjongan, before and after being topped with freshly grated coconut and palm sugar caramel

We followed the market maze then, we stopped by a lady selling various kinds of crackers and snacks. We bought a lot from her; gula kacang (peanut brittle with palm sugar and ginger), kering kentang (fried potatoes with spicy palm sugar glaze and kaffir lime leaves), slondok (spicy tapioca cracker), keripik usus (chicken intestine crackers), pork crackling, rengginang (rice creacker with palm sugar syrup), etc. The kering kentang is truly a champion. I wish I bought more.

Traditional chips and crackers

Towards the back of the first floor, we found a stall on my list; Dawet telasih Yu Dermi. Dawet is traditional Javanese drink consists of tapioca pearl, rice flour pudding, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, glutinous rice, and pandan rice flour dumplings. But the one that Yu Dermi is selling has one more special ingredient: telasih (lemon basil seeds). She also uses caster sugar instead of palm sugar as the sweetening, so the color of the dawet was bright white. It was so refreshing. Beside her stall, there was also a woman selling fried chicken and all other chicken stuffs. Mom bought some. In my opinion it was a bit too salty.

Ayam goreng, blood pudding, and intestine crackers

We were told by one of the assistants at Yu Dermi that at the corner of the market there is a stall selling very delicious babi kuah (pork stew). Unfortunately, we were very full, and I have had stomachache since the second day of my holiday. So, we decided to save it for next time. Before leaving the market, I bought some bamboo wares: bamboo rice basket, rice sieve, etc. And right before we walk to the exit, we saw a lady selling cabuk rambak – another rare dish. It consists of ketupat (rice cake), sauce made of sesame seeds, candlenut, and coconut, and karak (rice cracker). It was good but not my favorite.

Cabuk rambak
Bamboo wares
Dawet telasih

We stopped by the Royal Palace. I don’t know somehow; we were too lazy to come in. Nearby the palace there a tree with weird-looking fruits. My mom asked one of the ladies sitting there, what it was. She answered “pelem”. Pelem is a Javanese word for mango. Hmm…I don’t think it was a mango😂.

Banyan trees and rickshaws

I am crazed with clay dishes and in Solo they are ubiquitous. So, we visited a roadside stall that is owned by a couple. They are very friendly and chatty. We ended up buying quite some from them.

Friendly vendors selling clay dishes
Kendi (Old-school clay jug)

When you go to Solo, do not forget to go to Pasar Gede. This is where you can really see and interact with the friendly locals and of course, sample delicious traditional fare.

The façade of Pasar Gede, stood firmly since the Dutch colonial era.



Pasar Gede

Jl. Urip Sumoharjo

Surakarta (Solo)

Opening hours: 08.30-16.30 everyday, Sun closed

Hunting for Antiques and Vintage Trinkets at Triwindu Market

If you like antiques and vintage curios like me, you have to go to Triwindu market. Located in Solo, Central Java, you can find a plethora of old Javanese bric-a-brac. I went there during my trip to Indonesia. It is a bit messy with so many vintage curios piled on top of another, but it is a paradise to me. I went like oh what’s that! Oh, I want this, I want that! But of course, I know myself…I admit I am quite poor in haggling. That’s why I got my mom there, she’s the haggling master.

Painted watering cans – creative products of local artists.
Garuda Pancasila, vintage kettles, and dishware.
Me and mom, bargaining over traditional cake molds.
Again bargaining, but this time over a pair of Javanese puppets

I got a kue satru/koya mold and a pair of wayang golek (Javanese puppets). Kue satru is peranakan cookies made of mung bean or tamarind with crumbly texture. Usually the mung bean version is also called koya.

Stairway to the antique heaven!
Triwindu Antique Market

To be honest, the offered price is generally on the higher side in the Indonesian standard. Perhaps because there are quite some tourists visiting this place. I got it cheap though because of my mom. You also need to have trained eyes to know which trinkets are truly antiques or just replicas. Nevertheless, if you are into vintage decoration, you should visit it and perhaps bring home one or two items.


Pasar Triwindu (Triwindu Antique Market)

Jl. Diponegoro

Surakarta, Indonesia

Opening hours: 09.00-17.00 everyday