Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia and Jabodetabek, aka Greater Jakarta, with over 30mn people is the second largest city in the world after Greater Tokyo. At it’s center is Gambir district, the center of museums and government as well as my first stop of the day for a free walking tour beginning at the National Museum, then through Gambir park, the presidential palace, Masjid Istiqlal, the largest mosque in South East Asia, ending at Jakarta Cathedral.
After the tour, I joined the tour guide for lunch at a local shop where he ordered all kinds of local dishes to sample, and learned about his university studies and goals. He left to tend to errands while I returned to Gambir to explore the huge public space and find a way into the Monas national monument at it’s center, then crossed back over to the National Museum where I got a more thorough reading of all the exhibits.
Next I headed down Jalan Thamrin to the the Sarinah mall for an evening walking food tour which effectively only cost the price of the food. As we walked through the popular Jalan Agus Salim food street, I kept eating and eating all sorts of dishes. Eventually we took a brief break when the guide ran into my guide from the earlier tour and we all hung out with their friends. After parting ways we headed to a wildly popular street vendor cooking endless heaps of Nasi Kuning, a flavorful turmeric flavored yellow rice dish, to an endless line of customers. We got our orders surprisingly quickly.
I like to prepare for food tours not necessarily by starving myself but by making sure I have a good appetite. One way to do this is by burning a lot of calories during the day, so I opt to walk a lot more than usual. I also reduce fluid intake so I’m below my usual full hydration because water takes a lot of space in your stomach.
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