Vendors cash in on seasonal snack sales
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Favorite food: Vendors sell lamang tapai on the sidewalk along Jl. Kramat Raya, Central Jakarta, on Monday. The delicacy from West Sumatra, made of glutinous rice and coconut milk baked in a length of bamboo with fermented rice on the side, is a favorite to break the fast. JP/P.J. LeoMel is one of thousands of seasonal vendors throughout Greater Jakarta who set up tables to sell snacks and drinks to break the fast during Ramadhan.
The 27-year-old homemaker from Cipinang, East Jakarta, said that she could make up to Rp 300,000 (US$32) a day selling kolak (bananas stewed in coconut milk), fruit cocktails and fritters from her stall on the sidewalk of Jl. Balai Pustaka Timur during Ramadhan.
The work is just seasonal, Mel said. “I need extra income for my family’s Idul Fitri needs.”
Other housewives have said that they were motivated by culinary challenges more than financial ones.
Rini, the wife of a stockbroker, for instance, said that her fondness for cooking prompted her to set up a seasonal shop for a second year at Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta, where the traditional market is transformed into a food bazaar during the fasting month.
The 41-year-old said that her first experience, selling food she prepared at her son’s taekwondo tournament, was so pleasing that she decided to come back to Bendungan Hilir to sell es buah, kolak and es pisang ijo (stir-fried banana stumps).
“I feel most happy when customers tell me that the drinks they buy from me are tasty,” Rini said.
The praise was enough to bolster her spirits after cooking and selling the snacks all day, she said.
Moreover, Rini said she could sell more than Rp 1 million a day during Ramadhan, about twice what she spent on ingredients, and could sell upwards of Rp 3 million a day on weekends.
Rini was not the only seasonal vendor lurked by the Bendungan Hilir traditional market and the tens of thousands of office workers from the Sudirman Central Business District who pass through on the way home in the evenings.
Delsi said the market was always crowded and offered more chances to get customers, even for an amateur in food business like her.
The 33-year-old said that this was her first year in the food business, although she was an experienced small-scale entrepreneur, especially in clothing.
“I was worried at first as I had never sold food before and this is not my specialty. I brought only a few things, fearing that they wouldn’t sell out,” she said.
However, after her first day was success, Desi started to increase her products on offer.
The Tangerang resident said that she loved doing business and opened the stall just to try something new. “I can earn Rp 1.5 million a day now. If this business runs smoothly, I’ll be selling snacks here again next year,” she said while packing a portion of sweet sago porridge for a customer. (aml)