Food trucks attract city’s young and hip

Food trucks offering unique foods with a different dining atmosphere are attracting consumers, mostly the young and trendy, who are curious about the trend that has risen in popularity in the US.

Jakartans can now find several food trucks, where they can eat western and oriental food in an open space.

The Jakarta Food Truck, parked in the office area near the Wisma Bakrie building in Kuningan, South Jakarta, for example, serves customers from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and in Kemang, also in South Jakarta, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekends.

Ari Galih Gumilang started the Jakarta Food Truck with best friend Anglia Gordyna last December. The truck sells western foods such as fried and grilled chicken and beef because the owners want to maintain the original concept of the food truck business in the US and Europe.

“I [for example] offer sloppy joes because it is characteristically associated with the food truck concept,” said Ari, who used to be a chef at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Jakarta.

Besides western foods, his food truck also offers rice to fulfill the needs of Indonesians at large.

Targeting office workers on weekdays and families on weekends, the Jakarta Food Truck’s offerings range from Rp 15,000 (US$1.33) to Rp 65,000 per portion, he said.

jak food truck“At first I wanted to park my truck at the SCBD [Sudirman Central Business District] area [in South Jakarta] but it was forbidden,” he said. “Then I decided to open the business in Kuningan.”

He said as there was an increasing presence of food trucks in the city, he planned to establish a food truck community in the future to prevent unhealthy competition.

“We’d [probably] gather unique food trucks and make a bazaar to attract consumers,” he said.

Another food truck in the city, Taco Truck Indonesia, offers street Mexican tacos as its main menu item with prices ranging from Rp 20,000 to Rp 35,000. It started operation last September.

Andre Tenardi, the truck’s owner, said that he wanted to jump into a culinary business that had yet to exist in the city.

“When I visited Manila, [the Philippines] last year, I saw that the food truck business had become a trend there,” said Andre.

He said that he chose to sell tacos because Mexican food, which was trendy abroad, was hard to find in Jakarta.

Unlike Ari’s food truck, which is stationed at particular spots, the taco truck moves from one place to another at random times, depending on market demands, according to Andre.

He said he initially served customers in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, in Menteng, Central Jakarta, and in Kemang, South Jakarta. Now, he serves customers in Pluit, North Jakarta, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

jak food truck 2Andre said customers could track the truck’s location via its Twitter account.

He said that although he targeted buyers of all ages, most of his customers were teenagers.

Another food truck in the city, Street Ramyun, serves Korean noodles or ramyun, accompanied by K-Pop musical videos on a flat screen TV.

The owner of Street Ramyun, Ferry Lee, said that he saw a business opportunity to sell street-style Korean food.

“[I have seen] Japanese and other kinds of street food, but I haven’t seen any Korean street food,” he said.

He said that he originally planned to park the truck in an office area at noon and in hangout areas at night. “But for now we are open in Tebet, South Jakarta, everyday from 6 p.m. until midnight because there is a good market there,” said Ferry, who has been operating his food truck for four months.

In the future, he said, he planned to employ people to sell ramyun on motorcycles, like “food bikes” to reach housing complexes with small roads and alleys that could not be reached by trucks.

Shifa Fauzia, 21, a customer of Taco Truck Indonesia, said that she had traveled from Kalibata in South Jakarta to Pluit just to try the truck’s tacos.

“I’m interested in the food truck concept and Mexican food. If the truck sold Padang food, I would not travel this far,” she said.

Melisa, 19, a college student buying a sloppy joe from the Jakarta Food Truck, also expressed a similar opinion. “I usually see food trucks in America on TV. So I want to try similar foods in Jakarta,” she said, adding that she learned about the food truck from Instagram. (nai)

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