Where do you go for live seafood at the seaside and at affordable prices in Jakarta?
Yes, you could have the best seafood at a 5-star restaurant for all money can buy, but to eat live seafood at the seaside, and at affordable prices, you got to head down to Bandar Djakarta at Ancol, North Jakarta, located inside the Ancol Theme Park.
It has a huge neon sign board and a huge car park. The place is usually packed during weekends, so do come very early or very late to avoid the crowd.
The seafood market greets you at the entrance. Rows of glass tanks with bubbling icy water keep the sea creatures within alive and like a second home. Prices are clearly indicated on the glass tanks.
See something you like, just tell the “abang” (translated as brother) and he will fish it out for you.
“Swimming” mud grouper at IDR 24,000 per 100g (or IDR 240,000/ kg ) that’s really cheap, from where I come from!
For patrons who do not prefer the premium selection, there’s a section where patrons can still pick and choose from a wide selection of fresh seafood, though not “swimming”, but no doubt still very fresh!
After you have completed your shopping, the abang will bring what you have selected to the service counter, where the staff will weigh the seafood and bill you accordingly. There you can tell the staff how you want the food to be prepared or you can ask them for recommendations.
After that’s done, the waiting staff will find you a table, literally, out of a few hundred tables in the main dining area, alfresco style, with some in huts and gazebos. I couldn’t take any photo because it was very crowded like a market. We got our table next to the seaside but too bad we couldn’t see anything because its pitch dark.
Fresh vegetable salad and sambal chilli sauce, found on every table.
We picked 2 giant mussels, each bigger than my palm and quite heavy, but when it arrived at our table, there wasn’t much meat but the presentation was not bad and what’s left of the mussel meat was full of goodness.
The tiger snails were something uncommon for me and I was intrigued by its pattern. You need to use a tooth-pick to pick-out the meat, a good dish if you have lots of time or lots of things to chat.
Next the fried oyster egg omelette. The oysters were a tad too tiny. I was expecting something a lot bigger. Other than that the omelette was very well done; very delicate, shaped like a wallet, with juices oozing out from the inside.
The steamed red grouper was fresh without the fishy smell but unfortunately overcooked for a tad too long. A simple dish that is a testament to the freshness of the ingredients and, the discipline and management of the kitchen.
Finally, the steamed prawns, perfect as it is, juicy and succulent.
So would I go back again?
Yes I would, definitely earlier, in the evening so I can see the sea and may be catch the sun set! And on a less crowded weekday to give the kitchen a second chance on that steamed red grouper!
Dishes we ordered:
- Stir-fried giant mussels with garlic
- Stir-fried tiger-snails
- Fried oyster egg omelette
- Steamed red grouper
- Steamed fresh prawns
(Sorry, I forgot to take down the prices as it was a treat from a friend.)
Address: Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, Jalan Pantai Indah, North Jakarta 14430, Indonesia