There is a busker type feel to this carnival but underlying all the fun and commotion are deep running roots.
Crocodile bread? Swamp fish soup? Glow in the dark desserts? No? You'll have to make do with the transvestite soup then (yes, it is a thing). With wacky local Betawi food stealing this infamous festival's thunder, you'd be forgiven for thinking your were on an episode of 'I'm a Celebrity' at the Jalan Jaksa Street Festival.
Yet this quirky event isn't all about the weird and (sometimes) wonderful cuisine; walk the length of the backpacker-friendly Jalan Jaksa Street and you'll find a smattering of Indonesian tradition and culture. There are palang pintu masters performing acrobatic combat sequences and a selection of roaming dance crews who travel all the way from Kalimantan and Sumatra. Life sized puppets glare down at food and craft stalls while marching Tanjidor orchestras cleave through crowds. Plus, you can expect the celebrations to go on well into the night with a number of theatrical productions and Indonesian pop music lasting until the early hours.
Jalan Jaksa Street first became popular in the 1960s and quickly became the default hub in Jakarta for international backpackers. The mega city's cosmopolitan trend means that many Indonesian traditions are only maintained by way of this annual celebration. The variety of Indonesian cuisine that can be sampled is alone considered to be of significant cultural value.
As such, we can only suggest that the best way to get your Java cultural fix is to get stuck into the questionable cuisine. You never know - you might end up telling all your friends about how good the transvestite soup is. Then again, you could also be shouting 'get me out of here'. Good luck.
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*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!