The city of Jakarta is full of stories, and the stories of the informal here cannot be separated from the story of Jakarta itself, or from the story of the Indonesian state. Pak Yanto sells nasi Padang from a cart in East Tebet. His business began with the changes in the city of Jakarta during the reformation period and continues to this day.
How long have you been selling here, Pak?
Wow, I've been here since the reform era.
Wow, that's quite a while. Are you originally from here?
Nope, I’m originally Javanese, from Solo, but I live here now and I only really go home if there’s a big family event or something like that.
Oh, so can I ask why you chose to sell Padang food if you’re Javanese?
Well, I used to work at a Padang restaurant from the age of 20 to 40. Then when Suharto came down, what year was it? Yes, in the 2000s, I just started a small cart business like this until now.
What do you mean about Suharto?
Well, during the reformation, all prices went up. The restaurant's shop rent was tripled. Those who own the restaurant choose not to continue. So I used the knowledge to open my own business. That's the restaurant that I used to work at, it’s a Circle K now.
Oh, so you never moved from Tebet, Pak. So, what time do you start selling? It’s only midday and already almost everything is sold?
Ooo I'm here at 6 o'clock every day, but I might take the day off if I have some urgent business elsewhere.
Ah right, Pak. So how much will my meal end up with?
Well let’s see. You’ve ordered rice, beans, cassava leaves, 4 pieces of tempe, a bakwan goreng, and fried egg, so... that’s gonna be 14 thousand.
Wow, that's great, thank you sir.
Yes you're welcome.