Petak Enam in Glodok, Jakarta

With its maze of narrow alleyways and crowded shops still using abacuses to do business, there’s nothing quite like the Glodok Chinatown in all of Indonesia. The historic neighborhood showcases Jakarta’s raw, energetic culture and while there’s much to love here, the food being the top of the list, it can be overwhelming for those more used to more modern amenities.

Time hasn’t been exactly kind to Glodok but with the new Petak Enam community space, it’s finally starting to catch up. With plenty of great food inside a comfortable, open-air area, this might be just what Glodok needs to lure us, the younger generation, away from the new shopping malls popping up all over town once in a while.

Parking lot-turned-modern community space

main courtyard of petak enam jakarta
Petak Enam’s open-air main courtyard area, complete with Chinese New Year decorations

Image credit: @diasgibrannn

Originally a parking lot for the Chandra Building right next door, Petak Enam first opened in October last year. The name roughly means ‘lot six’ in Indonesian and refers to the ground it was built on, also echoing the name of the Petak Sembilan Market just nearby.

stairway leading to chandra building glodok jakarta
The stairway leading up to the Chandra Building has become a popular photo spot

Image credit: @lydiagunarso

Unlike the Chinatown Market where shoppers and stalls are squashed together like sardines, there’s much more room to breathe in Petak Enam. Various shops and stalls flank the central courtyard, where tables are set up to accommodate diners with more than enough space left for passersby.

petak enam jakarta
The architecture retains Peranakan stylings of old

Image credit: @robbyleedjohari

Despite the contemporary facade, we applaud Petak Enam for managing to retain the classic Peranakan vibe that’s been a hallmark of Glodok. The community space carries over the original architecture leftover from the old parking lot building, and the vintage feel continues throughout the decor with retro paraphernalia dotting the area.

glodok petak enam corridor
While there are no dedicated photo spots, the architecture provides plenty of fodder for great shots.

Image credit: @nita_pertiwi_novianti

They wisely have gone on a more eclectic route with the tenants though, with a selection considerably more varied than we’d expect in Glodok. Here, you’ll find classic Peranakan staple menu items sitting next to contemporary jamu mocktails and brown sugar bobas.

Peranakan comfort food meets contemporary jamu meets Taiwanese boba tea

char kway teow in petak enam
Holai’s Char Kway Teow has a slightly burnt smokiness that stands out from the competition.

Image credit: @onniemamam

If the Peranakan vibe of Petak Enam has left you hankering for quality laksa and kway teow, you need not look further than Holai. Their charred kway teow has a pleasant smokiness you rarely find in other places and since it’s served with chicken lapchiong instead of pork, Muslims get to enjoy the fun this time around.

samcan at petak enam
Sedap Wangi’s samcan is simultaneously crispy and juicy, just as it should be.

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Of course, it’s not a proper Peranakan joint without a plate of nasi campur, or rice with pork char siu, here duly provided by Sedap Wangi. For a change of pace, you can switch out the char siu with crispy roast pork belly, here known as samcan, and honestly, you can’t go wrong either way.

suwe ora jamu at petak enam
Suwe Ora Jamu, one of the progenitors of Indonesia’s jamu renaissance, offers bottled blends.

Image credit: @petak_enam

For drinks, try out the jamu blends of Suwe Ora Jamu, which brings a contemporary spin to this criminally overlooked Indonesian herbal drink. Instead of the usual bitter and overly strong taste we typically think of jamu, their concoctions and mocktails are just as sweet and refreshing as pina coladas.

pieces of peace at glodok petak enam
Amidst Indonesia’s coffee trend, the artisanal tea room Pieces of Peace provides an interesting alternative.

Image credit: @darisuduttaman

Taiwanese import Xing Fu Tang has also set up shop in Petak Enam so you won’t have to go without your boba fix here either. We also highly recommend hitting up the artisanal tea room Pieces of Peace where you can browse some of the local products on sale while tearistas prepare your drinks.

Petak Enam revitalizes Glodok Chinatown with a modern makeover

Together with the new Pancoran Chinatown Point shopping center, the Petak Enam community space is finally ushering Glodok Chinatown into the 21st century. It’s slightly hidden from the main road and accessible from the food court of the Chandra Building next door, or through a gate right across the Pancoran Chinatown Point.

The celebrations around Chinese New Year and Cap Go Meh might have been more muted this year thanks to COVID-19, but we’re glad that we still have an excuse to visit Glodok. If you’re still in a festive mood, the red lanterns hung up around Petak Enam are especially mesmerizing at night, making this a perfect time to visit as that’s when the crowds typically ease up as well.

Address: Jl. Pancoran No.43, RT.1/RW.6, Glodok, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11120
Opening hours: 10AM-8PM, Daily

For more spots to check out in Jakarta, check out these stories:

Cover image adapted from @r1nald1 and @onniemamam

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