Jakarta: Gado-gado Direksi


“Combining fresh vegetables and a delicious dollop of peanut sauce, the latter packs a rainbow of flavours ranging from sweet and salty to sour and spicy – the result of palm sugar, lime, salt, and chilli.”

When you count former presidents such as the late Gus Dur and Megawati among your legion of fans, you know that you’re selling something pretty special. Established in 1967, Gado-Gado Direksi is indeed one of the most renowned Gado-Gado sellers in Jakarta. It got its name when after becoming popular among many direksi (boards of directors), a former director of Bank Ekspor Impor (EXIM) – now known as Bank Mandiri – gave it the moniker Gado-Gado Direksi.

Nestling at one corner of Gang Gloria, Gado-Gado Direksi is a small blue-coloured warung that fits four people tops. Initially, I was a tad hesitant after seeing the place already occupied by three customers inside, while the lady behind the counter looked a bit intimidating. Once I entered, however, my reluctance vanished into thin air.

Giok Li, daughter to the founder of Gado-Gado Direksi, asked me if I wanted to have the spicy Gado-Gado, to which I responded with a nod. “Are you sure? I can give you the super-spicy Gado-Gado, you know,” she jokes. At one corner of the shop, Giok Li’s aunt was busy frying up a chicken as she prepared my order, which was served not long after.

Combining fresh vegetables and a delicious dollop of peanut sauce, the latter packs a rainbow of flavours ranging from sweet and salty to sour and spicy – the result of palm sugar, lime, salt, and chilli. The peanut sauce is made by hand using a pestle by Giok Li herself, while Gado-Gado Direksi only uses the freshest of ingredients, hence the fresh vegetables.

The small space at Gado-Gado Direksi provided a different eating experience as I was able to get more intimate with both Giok Li and her aunt. They were friendly and willing to have a chinwag with me. Before I bid my farewell, I ask Giok Lie for her name card. “Don’t forget to give me a ring the next time you want to drop by,” she says.

Jl. Pintu Besar Selatan II – Pancoran Kita (behind Gloria)
Central Jakarta
T: 021 9253 1495/0812 940 8926
Open daily from 9.30am-4.30pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.30 (without lontong)


Started her career as a food writer in 2012, Jessicha Valentina is the online editor of Good Indonesian Food. Jessicha has loved Sayur Asem since she was a wee kid and spends her free time trying to cook it.

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