For generations, Indonesians have bought their food at traditional markets, pasar. The term pasar can refer to a gathering of tukang sayur (vendors who sell off carts which go through residential areas), to a rough, temporary structure where sellers gather in the morning, to the large, multistory buildings run by PD Pasar Jaya, Jakarta's market authority. Throughout Jakarta, the items sold in pasar are basically the same - fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, spices, dry goods and household items. Selection may vary slightly to better serve the needs of the ethnic groups which live in the area. For example, if the pasar is located near an area where there are many ethnic Indians, they may have more Indian spices or, if there are a lot of Minangkabau people living nearby, more Padang spices will be available.
Daily Trip to the Pasar
Going to the pasar is a daily activity for Indonesian women or their household help. Since refrigerators are too expensive for the poor and Indonesians like their vegetables and meat fresh, this necessitates a trip to the pasar each day to buy ingredients for that day's meals. While shopping in supermarkets is popular amongst the middle and upper classes, supermarket prices are generally too expensive for the poor. Shopping is not all that's done at the pasar. It's also a chance to get out of the house and catch up on all the latest news and gossip with neighbors and friends.
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