The Jakarta Post
Among the plethora of street foods on offer in South Jakarta, there are several stalls loved by people from all walks of life, regardless of their street-side location and lack of amenities.
At some locations, hungry customers roll up groomed and chic in expensive cars.
Bubur Ayam Barito is one example. Located by a sidewalk on Jl. Gandaria Tengah 3, the owner, Agus Sukarmin, has been operating his business from the same spot since 1992.
Agus had worked as a cook in a few restaurants in Jakarta before opening his own business. 'I was able to create my special congee recipe thanks to my experience.'
Bubur Ayam Barito's chicken congee stands out from many other vendors in Jakarta with its special ingredients such as soft-boiled eggs, which are placed in the middle of the bowl and covered with hot congee. To top it off, Agus sprinkles over the congee shredded chicken, vegetables and its signature topping, cheese sticks.
'I don't make the cheese sticks myself, though. I get them delivered from the producer.'
Bubur Ayam Barito is open every day from around 3 p.m., but only has three or four tables set up until the sun sets and traffic in the area eases. As the night goes on, the place gets even more packed and a long row of parked cars can be seen in front.
'The Public Order Agency [Satpol PP] has never issued me a warning letter nor threatened to evict me, but I'm only allowed to set up additional tables after around 6 p.m. so my food stall doesn't disturb traffic,' Agus went on. 'But I've bought a building in Petogogan, Kebayoran Lama, in case I actually have to move.'
Despite its simple appearance, Bubur Ayam Barito employs 12 people and can sell between 900 and 1,000 bowls of chicken congee a day.
Novi Madjedi, a regular Bubur Ayam Barito patron, said he had been a loyal customer for 10 years. 'I'm aware that this place doesn't look great, but the food is great and so is the price.'
Near the famous congee is another stall with a different menu that also has a loyal customer base.
Soto Ceker Pak Ali has been in the business of selling chicken feet soup since 1995. He began his business by hawking the dish but his customers later helped him settle in 1997.
Not all people living in the area are happy about his business, however. Street-side stalls, especially popular ones, often create parking problems for nearby homes.
'Residents complain from time to time but they always end up letting us be,' said Riyadi, one of Soto Ceker Pak Ali's 10 employees
'Maybe our food is too delicious for them to refuse,' he continued, laughing.
Despite relying on chicken feet, a distasteful ingredient to some people, as their signature dish, people do not seem turned off. 'I often see famous faces eating in our place, too, like Denny Chandra,' said Riyadi.
Soto Ceker Pak Ali can use up to 40 kilograms of chicken feet every day, although the stall is only open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m..
'We can reap Rp 5 million [US$360] in sales each day,' he said.