Traditional market in the pulsating heart of Chinatown
The pulsating heart of Chinatown
This is a big traditional market with hawker stalls juggling for space to offer their goods. You can purchase live crabs, frogs and sea cucumbers here, as well as an array of colourful fruits, fresh fish, sweet honey and delicious dumplings. Also on offer are many items you can only find in Chinatown, such as enamel bowls, red packets, paper lanterns, flower tea, Chinese medicine, dried sweets and moon cakes.
The early years of Jakarta’s Chinatown were tumultuous, to say the least. In the 17th century, the colonial days, many Chinese workers came and settled in the fast-growing port city. At that time, the devide et impera (‘to divide and conquer’) political strategy was used to divide Chinese communities and locals. This triggered hostile sentiments toward Chinese communities.
When the Javanese sugarcane production took a blow in the 18th century, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) decided to ship Chinese workers to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to work on plantations there.
This obviously did not go down well with the local Chinese population, and riots broke out. On 9 October 1740, fights and fires took an estimated 10,000 lives and destroyed countless buildings. Since that day, the relationship between the Dutch and the Chinese worsened over the decades: Chinese residence permits within the city wall were no longer valid. They were forced to relocate to Petak Sembilan, an area outside the wall that later grew larger and became the Chinatown Glodok as we know it today.