A FOOD-LOVER’S TOUR OF JAKARTA’S ELITE MARKETS
PART 2 – STARTING DOWN-MARKET: TOTAL BUAH SEGAR
A relative newcomer to the elite fresh-fruit retail business, Total first opened in 2003 in Kelapa Gading, serving an ethnic Chinese-Indonesian clientele which would appreciate the quality and variety of imported goods, as local producers began to raise their own standards as well. Today there are Total outlets in Angke, Rawamangun, Sunter, two in Kelapa Gading, Fatmawati, Kali Malang, Cibubur, Jababeka, Lippo Cikarang and the above market on Jl. Ampera in South Jakarta.
It’s a rather compact space but with a full selection of fresh produce from just about everywhere. In recent weeks this writer has spotted mandarin oranges from Pakistan, Australia and – surprisingly – Argentina. Staff is friendly and helpful but don’t expect much English to be spoken.
Take along your cook and buy some of the unique Indonesian delicacies which Total has in abundance. Even if you don’t like them your house staff will probably finish it off. Note several kinds of tofu, including the softer, silkier Japanese variety.
Shoppers will appreciate a wide range of fruit juices, including unsweetened ones (always best – why in the hell add sugar to a fruit juice? Crazy). There are famed brands from South Africa and Europe.
A full array of sports drinks and cold juices is available in the cooler, along with a modest variety of cheeses, including Yummy, one of the greatest bargains around, available in Feta, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and others. Yummy was actually originally started by expats studying religion in Subud, some years back.
You will also note that prices are considerably more subdued than in some of the other elite markets we cover – Total offers bargains galore. In recent years enterprising local farmers have begun to grow tasty fruits and vegetables formerly only available as imports. Why spend all that money on not-so-fresh imported goods when you can get similar textures and flavors from Puncak?
Twofers and threefers are prominently displayed at Total Buah Segar, and the alert shopper can stock up on both packaged goods and household items at a discount. The more luxurious of our selection of fruit stores don’t feature such bargain offerings, you will note. Rich people are assumed not to care about this. (Don’t believe it – the rich can be the meanest, tightest, most penny-pinching sons-of-bitches of all, even when they pretend to enjoy luxury.)
One fine aspect is the ‘Withered Section’ of discounted fruits and vegetables past their prime – if you have vegetarian animals this is an inexpensive way to treat them (this writer carries the awful burden of feeding six demanding monkeys, and they demand the best).
Table grapes are in this writer’s opinion the finest fresh fruit in the world, as well as being extremely healthy, and Total offers a very fresh selection of Red Globe, Thompson, Calmeria, Crimson, Autumn and Midnight Beauty table grapes from Australia, the USA, Africa (not too expensive, considering) and if you can stand the sticker shock you can even buy Kyoho from Japan (tasty but OUCH).
Their motto is cute:
…and they have a nice website at http://totalbuah.id/, but only in Bahasa Indonesia, alas. Also note that there is nary a beer nor cider nor bottle of wine to be seen, which is unfortunate because some people like to drink, and should be allowed to…
On the other hand, if it’s fine meals of expertly-prepared European, Chinese and Indonesian food you hanker for, then aim that four-wheeled rocketship of yours to one of our two Ya Udah Bistro locations, in Serpong and Menteng.
You get the best fried foods available – and they are crunchy, elegant Euro / Asian fare prepared properly.
Our fried onion rings are divine.
Our French fries are perfect: crunchy on the exterior / creamy within. Fried chicken? Best in the city.
All washed down with our special variety of grog. Hey, where else in the city can you have a 400ml glass of table wine for Rp. 80,000?? Nowhere, that’s where.
Finished shopping at Total Buah Segar, roar around to see us at Ya Udah Bistro, y’hear?