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Jakpost guide to Rawa Belong

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, June 2, 2017 | 02:50 pm
Jakpost guide to Rawa Belong

Rawa Belong’s wholesale flower market on Jl. Sulaiman is famous for its fresh and affordable flowers. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Rawa Belong in West Jakarta may remind people of two things: the legend of Betawi hero Si Pitung and its flower market, which is dubbed Southeast Asia’s largest.

Aside from that, it is also home to several Bina Nusantara University campuses, making the area crowded with rumah kost (boarding houses), electronic kiosks, food stalls, as well as businesses that cater to the students' various needs.

Getting there

Travelers can hop on an angkot (public minivan) to reach the area, with the example of M09 (Tanah Abang - Kebayoran Lama route), M11 (Tanah Abang - Meruya Ilir route), or M24 (Srengseng - Slipi Kemanggisan - Pasar Kopro Tanjung Duren route). Another option is to take an ojek [motorcycle taxi].

It is important to note that there are no proper sidewalks in the area and it is often congested due to the rather small road. Riding your own motorcycle may be a more feasible option to discover the site.

What to wear

Keep it casual with a T-shirt, sneakers and comfortable pants. Using a mask is also advisable if you want to avoid inhaling too much dust or polluted air.

Read also: Jakpost guide to Kota Tua

What to buy

Flowers in the market, which include roses, lilies, orchids, hydrangeas, asters and carnations, come from different areas, such as Cipanas and Bandung in West Java, Malang in East Java and even overseas. (JP/Bayu Widhiatmoko)

Rawa Belong’s wholesale flower market on Jl. Sulaiman is famous among those who want to buy fresh flowers at a more affordable price.

The market's flowers, which include roses, lilies, orchids, hydrangeas, asters and carnations, hail from various areas, such as Cipanas and Bandung in West Java, Malang in East Java, and even overseas.

Visitors can purchase the flowers per piece, in a bouquet, in special arrangements or even in the form of flower boards. 

The flowers can also be delivered to your home. The starting price of a bouquet of hydrangea flower, a bouquet of roses and a flower board are Rp 35,000 (US$2.62), Rp 85,000 and Rp 450,000, respectively.

You can also find wedding decoration merchants within the market area offering stage decorations, artificial flowers and lamps for sale or rent. There are also sellers of strings of jasmine, which are usually used for wedding purposes, traditional rituals and funerals.

A seller shows milkfish weighing 10 kilograms at a seasonal market in Rawa Belong, West Jakarta, on Jan. 26. (JP/PJ Leo)

Many Jakarta residents will visit Rawa Belong to look for bandeng (milkfish), a mandatory item for Chinese New Year in seasonal market held at Jl. Sulaiman nearing Imlek.

Although a milkfish usually costs Rp 25,000 per kilogram, visitors can find extra large milkfish in the market that weigh around 8 kilograms at a price of Rp 500,000 each, kompas.com reported. The fish is reportedly sought not only by those who want to celebrate Imlek, but also by local Betawi people as there is a custom of delivering milkfish to in-laws as a way to seek more fortune.

Meanwhile, those looking for food souvenirs may visit Pondok Super Bandeng, a store located just across KFC Rawa Belong. The shop sells bandeng tulang lunak (soft-boned milkfish), teri kacang (fried anchovy and nut), wingko (coconut pancake), sambal Bu Rudy (a type of chili relish from Surabaya) and many other delicacies, mainly from Java.

Read also: Jakpost guide to Jatinegara

What to eat

A portion of nasi uduk with two babat at Nasi Uduk Betawi Bang Udin costs Rp 31,000.(JP/Bayu Widhiatmoko)

Make sure to try Rawa Belong’s street foods, especially those that have been operating for more than 30 years, such as bakso (meatballs) Cinta Rasa nasi uduk (steamed rice cooked in coconut milk) Betawi Bang Udin and bubur ayam (chicken porridge) Bang Tatang. The vendors are always crowded with customers and quite generous in food portions. A portion of nasi uduk with two babat (cow intestine) at Nasi Uduk Betawi Bang Udin costs Rp 31,000, while a portion of chicken porridge at Bubur Ayam Bang Tatang costs Rp 25,000.

Spicy food lovers shouldn’t miss out the mie aceh sold in Rawa Belong, with the example of the one sold at Waroeng Mie Aceh Bang Iwan.(JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Spicy food lovers should not miss out the mie aceh (thick yellow noodles with curry sauce) sold in Rawa Belong, such as the one sold at Waroeng Mie Aceh Bang Iwan, a branch of Waroeng Mie Aceh Bang Iwan food stall in Setiabudi, South Jakarta. The price starts from Rp 15,000.

Foodies can also try Rawa Belong’s set of cafés or restaurants, with the example of Coteca café and milk café Mom Milk.(JP/Devina Heriyanto)

Another option to try are Rawa Belong’s set of cafés or restaurants, with the example of Coteca café and milk café Mom Milk. There are also Kedai Lantai Satu café in the neighboring street Jl. Kemanggisan Raya or vegetarian restaurant Loving Hut in Jl. K.H. Syahdan.

Pancong in Warung Pancong costs between Rp 4,000 and Rp 9,000, depending on toppings.(JP/Bayu Widhiatmoko)

Those visiting Rawa Belong Flower Market may also take a stop at Warung Pancong Rawa Belong, a small shop located near to the flower market building at Jl. Sulaiman. The stall operates 24 hours a day and is normally crowded with visitors. A pancong (rice flour and coconut milk cake) costs between Rp 4,00 and -Rp 9,000, depending on the toppings used. However, it is closed during Ramadhan and will start to operate again after Idul Fitri.

Read also: Jakpost guide to Jl. Kemang Timur

What to do

Those who are interested in learning more about Betawi culture can visit Sanggar Si Pitung, a Betawi workshop located on Jl. Yusuf.(Kompas.com/Nicky Aulia Widadio)

Those who are interested in learning more about Betawi culture can visit Sanggar Si Pitung, a Betawi workshop located at Jl. Yusuf. Owner of the place, Bachtiar, has been teaching silat cingkrik, a type of martial art that originally came from Rawa Belong, for free for more than 20 years. The workshop regularly holds silat training every Tuesday and Friday night at a nearby school. Aside from training silat, members of the workshop are often hired to do Betawinese cultural traditions, such as Ondel-ondel, palang pintu, tanjidor and many more.

Meanwhile, gentlemen seeking to trim their hair at barbershops with student prices can find a haven in Rawa Belong. These places, including Lanang Barbershop, Uncle Do Barbershop and Babeh Barbershop, offer not only haircuts but also a shave, coloring to hair tattoo with prices lower than Rp 50,000.

The kiosk offers repairs and sells spare parts of various quality.(JP/Bayu Widhiatmoko)

Those looking to fix electronic appliances like a smartphone, laptop, PC or printer can try to visit one of the electronic kiosks within the Bina Nusantara University Anggrek campus vicinity. The kiosks offer repair services and sell spare parts of various quality.

To end the day, futsal lovers can rent out a field at the Champion Futsal indoor arena. (JP/Devina Heriyanto)

To end the day, futsal lovers can rent a field in Champion Futsal indoor arena. Price for a one-hour game in the arena starts from Rp 250,000.

Where to stay

Rawa Belong hosts various type of rumah kost that are suitable for both students and workers. With average cost of Rp 1 to 2 million, tenants may rent a room with an air conditioner, cupboard, bed and access to the internet. Some of the boarding houses can also be rented per day. 

Tips

- Operating hours of businesses in Rawa Belong may change during Ramadhan.

- Do compare prices when shopping at the flower market and electronic kiosks.

- Flower prices may escalate during special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

- Those looking for fresh flowers may visit the flower market before dawn. (kes)

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