Surabaya by Ojek

My oldest friend in the world lives in Surabaya, Indonesia. I try to see her as much as possible. Now that I live ten thousand miles away, it’s a little harder, but if I’m back in Singapore I try to head that way: it’s easy and cheap to get there from Singapore.

Surabaya will always have a soft spot in my heart. Not only is it home to my favorite Indonesian cuisines (East Javanese and Madura food are the best), it’s also a chill little city. I know enough people and I’ve spent so much time there, I have a bucket list of things to do every time I go. Instead of going to Surabaya five times a year like I used to, back when I lived in this part of the world, I’ll be lucky to get there five times in this decade. Which makes me sad.

So I made the most of my trip in September. When my friend was at work, I traipsed around the city the only way I know how: at the back of a motorbike taxi, called an ojek.

I wanted to get to a wet market just before my flight to Singapore. I had noodles to eat, and spices to bring back with me. I also managed to buy a few blocks of deliciously fresh tempeh that Indonesian friends in Singapore said was some of the best tempeh they’d ever had. Because Surabaya has the best food!

Here are some photos from the back of a bike, and from a market.

a scan of a black and white photo of traffic in surabaya from the back of a motorbike, pillion. in front, several motorbikes and their passengers stopped at traffic

If you’ve lived in Indonesia like I have, the first word you’ll learn is ‘macet’: traffic jam.

a scan of a black and white photo of street signs in surabaya

Street signs.

a scan of a black and white photo of a door and skylight windows from inside a wet market. it says Pintu D, which is Indonesian for Door D

‘Pak sy sdh sampe Pintu Day ya. bpk di mn?’ (“I’m at the pickup point, door D. Where are you?” Text messages to ojek drivers)

a scan of a black and white photo of the interior of a wet market in indonesia, showing many shops with indonesian signs

Wet markets have such a delicious mix of fresh foods and cooked foods.

a scan of a black and white photo of a person's feet, hovering near where there are noodles and soup being prepared on a tray

The halal food in Indonesia is delicious of course, but the not-halal food in Indonesian cities with a large Chinese community like Surabaya, Medan, etc is also top tier. I went there to get me some noodles from Mie Cong Sim.

a scan of a black and white photo of dozens of motorbikes parked on the street

Banyak motor dimana-mana.

(Photos on Nikon FE, Kodak 5222)

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Adrianna Tan @skinnylatte
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