Our neighbourhood mobile grocer



One of the most endearing sounds that I have become familiar with since moving to Jakarta is the call of our mobile green-grocer, Ibu Norhayati, as she pushes her cart up our street (at 10am each day). It wasn’t until I actually spoke to her, using my ‘best Bahasa’ and with the assistance of our lovely pembantu Ibu Tuti acting as translator, that I realised that her call of ‘sayur’, actually means, ‘vegetables’. I have since realised that many of the vendors have easily identifiable calls (such as the man who sells cleaning items, who sings, ‘yapu’, meaning ‘to sweep’). This allows anyone busy in the house to know exactly what is on offer and if necessary, to meet the vendor on the street to make a purchase.

CustomersSince getting to know Ibu Norhayati, we have become regular customers, enjoying the variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that she brings to our neighbourhood. We also regularly source our ingredients for Jamu from Ibu Norhayati. It’s wonderful to share her warmth and indulge in her fresh produce all whilst supporting a local small business owner.

Kenalkan* Ibu Norhayati

Where are you originally from?
The city of Solo, Central Java.

For how long have you been selling provisions in this area?
(At least) 35 years, serving Kemang during all of this time.

What sort of items do you sell?
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are currently in season, herbs and spices as well as fresh chicken pieces. I also sell coffee sachets as well as other items.

Where do you source your produce?
Each morning at 4.30am I go to the traditional pasar in Blok A to purchase items to stock up my cart.

What are your best selling items?
Herbs, spices, vegetables and mangos.

Why do you like your work?
Because I get to talk to lots of people and get to know them.


*Kenalkan: let me introduce
Pasar : market
Ibu: madam (respectful address for a woman)

Words: Jo  Photography: a journey bespoke


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