Santa Modern Market, a Cultural Anomaly in Jakarta

Santa Modern Market, a Cultural Anomaly in Jakarta

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Jakarta, a city where people go to malls for everything. Not just shopping. Anything you can think of in Jakarta you can find it in a mall, from photo studios to auto repair shops. malls in this city are so attractive as it provides shelter and safety from the outside world. people can wear pretty clothes, eat good food and shop without having to suffer the hot humid conditions of weather or the sprawling beggars and shady cigarette peddlers shuffling in the smog.

This is where it’s getting interesting. amidst all the glam of the megamalls in the capital city, a simple wet market is rising from the ashes. those traditional wet markets are associated with unruly vendors cutting fish head off with a cleaver while flies swirl around him like a disease bearing tornado or a chicken peddlers plucking the feathers off a chicken who died yesterday. But not Santa market. It is hot, sure as it is not air conditioned. But there is something there that makes people feel alive. Something that makes me tolerated the hot humid conditions. I wrack my brain to think of what it is.

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I found it. it is a sense of disbelief.

I did not belief that a traditional market such as this, could become a phenomenon that has never happened in the country. Yet, it did. the “traditional market” blew my expectation. It all started because a bunch of friends decided to open some store there. ABCD with their coffee, Substore with the curated vintage vinyl and Sepotong kue with their snacks. though after its initial hype they renamed it to Santa modern market.

Enough rambling, so let me go into the good stuff. the food. its artisanal food to say the least. The ice durian dessert, the hotdogs from DOG (pronounced dee-yo-jee), The classical Indonesian snacks from Sepotong kue, the creme brulee from Labruletory,Coffee from ABCD ( a bunch of caffeine dealers) and of course the quesadilla from papricano mexican cantina. And a lot more. So much more.

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Other than the food the stores there are assorted of epic stores there, the vintage stores are filled with original stuff from decades ago, from clothing to knick knacks and even erotic books. there are also second hand shop peddling stuff from lamps to rare obscure toys.

On the other spectrum, there is also a high tech custom phone case store, which can print your own design onto a phone case for your exact phone.

another epic store is a stall with 90s primary school canteen as a theme. providing old school snacks so people could reminisce their childhood.

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Santa market is also a must see for shoe enthusiast. as the vintage and second hand store sells shoes there is not one, but two specialized shoe  cleaners in the building. Sneaklin and Shoebible. there is also a store in the ground floor called rockickz where you can repaint your sneakers and do other custom works on it.

All in all the market is a new territory. A humble wet market, risen and able to cater the city’s curious and hungry youth. all this is in just two months, and I am for sure looking forward to my next visit.

/// Written by Yurie Simanjuntak, Indonesia