Jakarta. One could argue that the Chinese cuisine in
West Jakarta’s famous Petak Sembilan Glodok — from turtle soup and
turtle eggs to chicken blood soup with pig innards — is like none other
across the capital.
In the first alley just across from the old
Gloria building, both locals and tourists can be seen browsing through
food stalls and tasting delicacies offered by vendors up and down Gloria
The most famous of all the stalls and cafes is Tak Kie,
an old coffeehouse.
“My grandfather started the business in the
1920s,” owner Latif Yulus, 60, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.
only had a small stall back then. Ten years later he managed to buy
himself one shop in this alley. Business was good. He then managed to
buy the shop next to it and expanded the coffee house.”
is famous for its coffee, but it received a little unwanted attention
recently after it was featured in the video “Perfect Day in Jakarta,”
produced by Trip Films, a small US-based travel Web site. In the video,
the presenter, Atiqah Hasilohan, is seen eating turtle soup at the
This caused a few raised eyebrows, because turtles
are protected species in Indonesia.
Latif admits that tortoise
soup, or Pie Tim, is a specialty of Tak Kie. Although not listed on the
menu, people flock to the cafe for the soup, which normally sells out in
a matter of hours.
“The soup was an addition from the ’60s,” he
“My sister-in-law wanted to join the business, and we gave
her a corner in the shop for her to prepare the soup. She was able to
sell 50 kilograms of tortoise soup in a week.”
The soup costs Rp
36,000 ($4) a bowl.
Irma Hermawati, coordinator of the Wildlife
Advocacy Institution, said there were only two protected turtle species
in the country — the Papuan freshwater turtle and the long-neck turtle,
neither of which is served at Tak Kie.
But if the turtle soup at
Tak Kie is fine with conservationists, the sea turtle eggs sold in
front of Gloria Alley are not.
On most days you can find Kara in
front of the alley hawking her sea turtle eggs.
“I sell the eggs
for Rp 7,000 each. I can sell as many as 100 of them on a good day,” he
He carries the eggs in a bucket, with a plastic tray on
top to display them. He said he received his supply of eggs from
Sukabumi, West Java.
“They are sent in a cardboard box. But not
every day,” he said.
His eggs, Kara added, can be boiled or eaten
Irma said that everything about the sea turtle was
protected in Indonesia.
“From its shell, carcass, eggs, meat, it
is all protected and cannot be sold, consumed or exploited in any
form,” she said.
According to Article 21 of the 1990 Law on
Nature Conservation, those who violate the law can face up to five years
in prison or a maximum fine of Rp 100 million.
Irma said that
Pangumbahan Beach in Sukabumi was a center for the illegal trade in sea
“The area used to belong to some businessman who sold
off the turtles. It has since been taken over by the regional
government, but as we can see here, there are still a lot of gaps in the
captivity,” she said.
Controversy aside, Latif said turtles
were not the only thing Petak Sembilan had to offer. Most people, he
said, simply come for the coffee.