The Jakarta Post
Tip Top Supermarket is known among housewives as the cheapest place to shop for daily needs. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Jl. Balai Pustaka in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, is a relatively unknown destination among Jakartans, let alone visitors to the capital.
However, despite its below-the-radar reputation, Jl. Balai Pustaka – which means "library hall" – is packed with a plethora of eateries, making it an interesting place to explore. Just don't expect to find a library beyond the street name.
Check out the list of activities in store for those keen to venture into the area.
How to get there
What to wear
Jl. Balai Pustaka is relatively short, so it is recommended to explore the area on foot. It is a pleasant walk, so wear casual attire, such as a T-shirt, jeans and a pair of good walking shoes or sandals.
Read also: JakPost guide to Jl. Radio Dalam
What to do
Persahabatan General Hospital, located near the Jl. Balai Pustaka Timur intersection, is a lung disease specialist hospital, and offers an integrated stop-smoking program. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Rawamangun houses two hospitals, the Dharma Nugraha Hospital and Persahabatan General Hospital. The former, located on Jl. Balai Pustaka Baru, specializes in treating cancer.
Persahabatan General Hospital, located near the intersection with Jl. Balai Pustaka Timur, is known as a specialist hospital for treating lung diseases.
Those aspiring to quit smoking may visit Persahabatan General Hospital, as it offers a service to help you do just that. Patients will receive an integrated service of consultation, medicine and guidance to overcome the effects of nicotine withdrawal to help them quit the bad habit.
Tailors at the Sunan Giri traditional market are ready to make 'kebaya' and other bespoke attire for its customers. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
In addition to healthcare services, the street is also home to the Sunan Giri traditional market.
Situated on the opposite side of Jl Balai Pustaka, visitors will find a myriad of tailors offering a variety services, such as bespoke kebaya (traditional Javanese blouse), uniforms and wedding gowns.
What to buy
Apotik Rini, the area's oldest pharmacy, is open 24 hours and boasts a wide range of medicines. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
As Jl. Balai Pustaka is near two hospitals, the street has many pharmacies.
Apotik Rini is one of the oldest pharmacies in the area, and boasts a 24-hour service and is well-stocked with medicines.
The street offers a limited number of retail shops, but dedicated bargain hunters will be happy to learn that it is home to the Quicksilver and Adidas warehouse outlets.
The former offers swimwear and beachwear for both adults and children at a whopping discount of up to 80 percent. The latter features discounted Adidas lines, from sneakers to T-shirts, to training wear and more.
In addition to these, the Tip Top Supermarket is known as a bargain haven among housewives. Situated along Jl. Balai Pustaka Timur, Tip Top is said to offer lower prices for daily goods compared to other supermarket franchises in Jakarta.
What to eat
Among East Jakarta residents, Jl. Balai Pustaka is known as a culinary hub with street food vendors offering a wide variety of tasty dishes, such as sate Padang (Padang-style beef satay) and bebek goreng (fried duck).
Bakso Gepeng Rawamangun, located next to Apotik Rini, is among the legendary vendors of the street. Opening in 1989, the bakso gepeng (thin meatball) has become a sort of icon in the area.
Taste the "original" Nasi Padang at the flagship Sederhana Rawamangun outlet. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
The renowned and popular Padang restaurant chain, Sederhana, has its roots here. The Balai Pustaka outlet is the flagship and oldest Sederhana restaurant in Jakarta.
Sanderson Coffee Co. offers Indonesian blends and single-origin coffees as well as free Wi-Fi in a relaxing, modern-vintage setting. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Those looking for a cuppa Java may drop by Sanderson Coffee Co., where coffee enthusiasts will be able to find the Tanamera blend, single-origin Indonesian coffees and more. The cafe is also equipped with Wi-Fi and power plugs, making it a convenient place to upload Facebook or Instagram posts on your mini-tour.