After hectically buzzing around Jakarta like a fly drunk on the smell of dog shit looking for my clutch vegan items (quinoa, tahini) , I have landed on the gold. I warn you though, being a vegan or health freak in this city does not come at a reasonable price, especially if you insist on doing it Western stylez. Nonetheless, if you are as desperate and stubborn as a crack junkie pre-reform resolutions, then hopefully this mini guide will help you satiate your needs as well as point out places where not to waste your time looking.
Kem chicks Pacific Place: This is in the basement of one of the most luxurious malls in Jakarta. As a poor intern, last year's Felicia would have barfed up chunks of dread at the thought of trying to buy something here. With my new job, I could swallow the blow.
Careful, most people don't who work in the malls don't even know what quinoa is. Don't trust them if they say they don't have it. THEY DO. I was almost sent away, but luckily I persevered and came out like a goddamn vegan boss queen.
Cost: Rp. 170,000 for 737 g (like $20, dudes!)
Finding Hummus/Tahini and Pita
Kem chicks Pacific Place: They have two types of tahini here, one from Bali and another Middle Eastern one. I tried out the Middle Eastern variety when making hummus for a Seder I attended last night and it was super good. The weird thing was that I couldn't find pre-made hummus there. Oh well, I make it best, thanks to my girl Kathryn in Toronto. They had pita, but it is small and made with white flour, rather than whole wheat. Still delicious and sitting at the bottom of my tummy in pure happiness.
Sham Gardens Tahini (Mid East one) 475 g: Rp 76,000
Bali Asli Tahini 330 g: Rp. 45,000
Pita, 5 small: Rp. 9,000
Pasar Festival (Taman Rasuna ): There is an arab store there that is said to have hummus, tahini and fresh pita made everyday. It is probably buttloads cheaper, so I'm defo going there next time. Have you been? Can you confirm?!
Where NOT to Waste your Time
Finding Dairy-Free Cheese and Egg Substitute..HELP!
I have searched far and wide and these are the two things I have NO IDEA where to get them. The worst part is that most grocery store workers haven't the faintest idea of what I'm talking about. "Fake cheese?" they ask and hand me processed cheese slices (not unreasonable). If you know of where I can find these two vegan essentials in Jakarta, please share!
ConclusionAs an expat you need to adapt to be happiest where you are, duh, but I feel as I'm getting older that's getting harder. I love Indo food like sambal tempe and tahu (tofu) over rice, the delicious variety of vegetables and more, but there are some things about Toronto that I fell in love with that I'm not willing to give up. Vegan baked goods is one of them (brownies!!!) and shitty fake cheese is another. In order to minimize home sickness I'm going to keep looking, while simultaneously experimenting with the goods I find here to spice up my new found vegan life. For example, I bought a couple of bottles of Indonesian mystery slime that I'm going to try when I cook up some vegetables. It smells good, whatever it is and I'm excited for the surprise! If you're vegan here and having a hard time, know that you can find a lot of what you want but most importantly to stay happiest open up and try it all! Good luck and happy hunting, and always, World, share your wisdom with us!
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Not to Sound like a Girl..but, is that hummus?