It’s no secret that Indonesian food is known for its bold flavors and unique ingredients. What many people don’t know, though, is the rich and delicious dessert tradition spread across the country–and there’s no better place to experience them than Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia!
Jakarta is home to a wide variety of restaurants and street vendors that sell Indonesian desserts. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, the city’s dessert scene offers a delightful journey through the flavors and traditions of Indonesia. From classic favorites like klepon and es campur to more legendary options like selendang mayang and dodol Betawi, there is something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
So, if you’re planning a visit to Jakarta, here’s a list of mouthwatering Indonesian desserts to try!
Klepon is a traditional Indonesian dessert made from glutinous rice flour and filled with palm sugar. Klepon gets its vibrant green hue from the natural goodness of pandan or suji leaves, so don’t worry! The chewy green balls are then coated in grated coconut, adding a unique texture to the dish.
Klepon is a staple among Indonesian street food, often found in a set as “jajanan pasar” (traditional market snacks) with getuk and cenil. You can find them easily at street vendors, traditional markets, and even some bakeries in Jakarta.
2. Es Campur
Es campur, which literally translates to “mixed ice”, is your ticket to a tropical ice party in a bowl! This classic Indonesian dessert is made with a variety of ingredients, including shaved ice, grass jelly, avocado, coconut, jackfruit, and a generous drizzle of sweet syrup.
The beauty of es campur lies in its endless variations. From humble street vendors to dessert cafes in Jakarta, each rendition has its own unique twist on this refreshing treat. So, no matter where you grab your es campur, you’re in for a surprise-filled adventure.
But the real magic happens during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. As the sun sets and the fast is broken, es campur becomes a symbol of celebration and indulgence, a sweet reward for a day of abstinence.
3. Kue Ape
Kue ape is a Betawi traditional snack that has been widely popular among children, so you will easily find this Indonesian pancake around schools. It has a unique shape, round like a UFO with a crispy layer around and soft chewy cake in the middle.
Kue ape, often called as kue tete or serabi Jakarta, is made from a simple batter of flour, milk, and pandan extract. The pandan extract gives the kue ape its characteristic green color and delicious aroma. Kue ape can be eaten plain, but many vendors also offer toppings like chocolate sprinkles, cheese, or crushed peanuts.
4. Selendang Mayang
The first thing you’ll notice about selendang mayang is its stunning appearance. This traditional Betawi dessert is made with layers of sweet, soft jelly-like cake in white, pink, and green, all drizzled with palm sugar, rich coconut milk, and shaved ice. The combination of sweet, salty, and sour is truly unique.
This traditional Betawi dessert is a true gem, with a history that dates back to the Dutch colonial era. In fact, the creation of Selendang Mayang is often linked to a romantic tale of Betawi folk from long ago.
It’s a shame that selendang mayang is becoming increasingly difficult to find since not many Betawi people sell it on the streets. But if you’re lucky, you might just stumble upon a rare selendang mayang vendor while exploring the city. You might even spot it on the menu at some dessert cafes in Jakarta.
5. Kue Leker
Kue leker may look like crepes, but they’ve got their own unique charm. They’re made on a small, round skillet that’s placed over an open fire. The skillet is then spun around using a lever, which creates a thin, crispy pancake which is served folded and filled with sweet toppings like chocolate, cheese, or banana.
Here’s a fun fact: The name “kue leker” comes from the Dutch word “lekker,” which means “tasty.” So, you know you’re in for a treat. Fortunately, finding Kue Leker in Jakarta is a piece of cake! Look around schools and you’re sure to spot a vendor since it’s the kids’ favorite.
6. Es Pisang Ijo
When the weather is hot and sticky, there’s nothing like a cool, sweet, and refreshing treat to cool you down. And if you’re looking for something that’s both delicious and filling, es pisang ijo is the perfect choice. This dessert originated in Makassar, South Sulawesi, but it’s now a popular treat all over Indonesia, including Jakarta.
Es pisang ijo is made with bananas wrapped in a green batter and served with shaved ice, sweet syrup, condensed milk, bubur sumsum (rice flour pudding), and sometimes nuts and red beans. It’s a delightful medley of flavors and textures that’s sure to hit the spot on a hot day.
7. Kue Cucur
Kue cucur is a traditional Indonesian fritter made of rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. It’s crispy on the outside, yet sweet and chewy on the inside. No one really knows where it came from, since almost every region in Indonesia have their own name for kue cucur like pinyaram in West Sumatera, dumpi in West Sulawesi, or kucur in Madura.
One thing for sure, kue cucur is typically served at special occasions such as weddings and festivals. But if you’re craving this delicious dessert, you don’t have to wait for a celebration. You can also find it easily at street vendors and some bakeries in Jakarta now.
8. Dodol Betawi
Almost similar to kue cucur, dodol Betawi is a traditional Indonesian candy that is also made of sticky rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. The candy is cooked for 8 hours over a wood stove until it’s thick, chewy, and got this strong sweet and savory aroma.
Back then, dodol Betawi used to be served only on certain occasions like Idul Fitri (a Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadhan). However, now you can easily find dodol Betawi in some Betawi communities around Jakarta, such as in Condet, East Jakarta.
9. Es Goyang
Es Goyang, often called Indonesian ice cream, used to be the most popular among the ’90s kids. But unfortunately, it’s not as easy to find as it used to be. So if you’re lucky enough to spot a vendor selling it on the side of the road, don’t hesitate to stop!
Es Goyang is a bit different from the modern ice cream we know today, this traditional ice cream is made from green beans, corn flour, sugar and coconut milk. As a finishing touch, the ice cream is then dipped in melted chocolate for an indulgent experience.
It seems like there’s no Indonesian who doesn’t love pukis. This snack is truly special, with a texture and flavor that’s similar to waffle but much more fluffy. Pukis is simple, made with a batter of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, yeast, and coconut milk, then baked in a half-moon shaped mold until cooked.
It’s delicious on its own, but now many sellers are getting creative by adding toppings like peanuts, cheese, sprinkles, or fruit jam to make pukis even more festive. If you find this traditional Javanese cake on the side of the road or in bakeries in Jakarta, don’t hesitate to give it a try!
Believe it or not, these 10 desserts in the list barely even cover the endless number of sweet delicacies Indonesia has to offer. Now, be sure to make the most out of your Jakarta trip by trying out these yummy snacks yourself!
Bobobox Jakarta for a Comfy Stay
For a comfortable and convenient stay, consider Bobobox Jakarta area as the perfect accommodation option to accompany your dessert escapades.
Bobobox is a futuristic pod hotel that offers state-of-the-art features, like the Mood Lamp that you can control to your heart’s desire, or the QR door lock system that ensures your safety during your stay. But don’t worry, your comfort is still our top priority!
There are 6 Bobobox locations in Jakarta that you can check out: Bobobox Kebayoran Baru, Bobobox Pancoran, Bobobox ITC Kuningan, Bobobox Tanah Abang, Bobobox Juanda, and Bobobox Kota Tua. You can choose the location that’s closest to your destination.
To get the best prices and deals, book your pod by downloading the Bobobox App now. Happy indulging and safe travel!
Writer: Syifa Nuri Khairunnisa
Header image by: travellingindonesia.com