Author: Chic Eater
Jamu, an Indonesian herbal traditional drink made from natural ingredients, sounds like an old school type of drinks for some but never stops to intrigue my interest. I still occasionally get a glass or two, whenever I saw a lady, having a basket of Jamu bottles held by a piece of batik-patterned cloth on her back, walking by my house. Some of the sellers nowadays chose to modernise themselves by using a bike instead. I would however choose to buy from the former type of seller, since I believe in a more traditional way of making and selling Jamu.
Having a grandma born and raised in Surabaya of East Java province is probably the main reason for me being introduced to drinking jamu since my early years. Since then, I have seen Jamu slowly sliding down in popularity in the big city over the years, judging from how easy you can find an Mbok Jamu to concoct one for you.
On one of my culinary trips to Jakarta, I got a wind about the availability of Jamu stall called Suwe Ora Jamu, where you can order one and spend time there to enjoy it. It didn’t take much time for me to find one of its location. Since I was in South of Jakarta at the time, I decided to visit the one at Jalan Warung Jati Barat. I believe the name Suwe Ora Jamu was derived from an old song from Central Java, with the meaning of the words itself “long time no drink jamu”.
The front side of this small herbal kiosk is decorated with a wooden man dressed in Javanese traditional attire by the entrance door as a form of welcome. They have several tables both inside for non-smokers and outside the room for the smokers.
The most common ones I know are Kunyit Asem and Beras Kencur. Kunyit Asem or turmeric tamarind is popular for its detoxification benefit and facilitate a more regular menstrual cycle. Beras Kencur or galanga rice serves as booster for eating appetite as well as vitality and stamina enhancer. I got myself two of each to stock up my Jamu ration at home.
Since I could not make up my mind on which one to try, the waitress there offered me to order their Jamu sampler, Sapta Sari (IDR 45,000), which provides us with seven types of Jamu in a small glasses to try. The price for each herbal drinks in a regular portion is between IDR 21,000 to IDR 38,000.
The one in green is Green Tamarind. This concoction of mustard and turmeric tamarind tasted a bit sour.
The red one is Rosella, known for its antioxidant benefit.
The yellow one is Alang-alang.
The white one is Beras Kencur.
The darker yellow one is Kunyit Asem.
The dark brown color is Sari Jamu Sehat. I was told that it could boost stamina as well.
The lighter brown color is Wedang Jahe.
I applaud the owner for bringing this herbal drinks tradition to the current times by revamping and repackaging it in a more contemporary form that most people can relate. The mix of jamu drinks menu with snack and coffee seems to blend nicely and work to serve the needs of many herbal drinks lover.
Just a quick note, the jamu drinks here are mostly made from premix powder sachets. The only herbal house blends that they made the hard way is Kunyit Asem and Beras Kencur. I am hoping they will add more and more house blends in the times ahead.
SUWE ORA JAMU
Jl. Warung Jati Barat No. 2
Pasar Minggu, Jakarta Selatan