Flooded roadside eatery in viral photo gets swamped with customers

PHOTO: Twitter.com/TMCPoldaMetro

The owner of a simple eatery that remained open amid half a meter of floodwater in East Jakarta on Tuesday was surprised to find his warung teeming with patrons.

Hendrik said he had no idea that a photo of his pecel lele (fried catfish and rice served with chili) stall had gone viral on social media.

"I didn't know [the photo] was widely spread on Facebook. No wonder many [customers] flocked to our place afterward," he told KompasTravel on Wednesday.

His stall, named Kedai Pecel Lele Cak Hendrix, is located at an intersection of Jl. Jatinegara Barat and Jl. Bukit Duri Tongtek, right in front of Bukit Duri Plaza.

One day after widespread flooding on Tuesday, his business was unusually crowded. He even had to close early, as he had run out of ingredients by 11pm.

"Perhaps many people were curious to see a flooded pecel lele warung; well, thank God," he said, laughing.

Hendrik said that, despite his modest place being inundated, people still came to eat, one after another, suggesting that it continued to be a popular option for those feeling hungry during the flood.

Thousands evacuated in Jakarta flood

  • Thousands of residents in Indonesia’s capital have been evacuated due to flooding, Jakarta’s governor said on Tuesday, though the level of rivers swollen by the release of water from a reservoir upstream was dropping for now.
  • The torrential rain had also caused landslides in satellite cities around Jakarta, with eight people missing after two landslides around the city of Bogor, police said.
  • TV footage on Tuesday showed people wading through murky brown water in some neighbourhoods of the capital.
  • But the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency has called on residents in Jakarta to prepare for additional floods.
  • A woman cleans up her shop in flood hit Jatinegara district in Jakarta
  • Workers clean up a dentist clinic in flood hit Jatinegara district in Jakarta
  • This general view shows the scene after landslide in Bogor in West Java on February 6, 2018.
  • An Indonesian soldier carries a body of a child killed in a landslide in Bogor in West Java on February 6, 2018.

Annual flooding is nothing new for Hendrik. In February, the pecel lele stall is frequently flooded. Sometimes he decides to take the rest of the day off when the flood comes in the afternoon, but if the water is not too high, it’s business as usual at Kedai Pecel Lele Cak Hendrix.

"It's been like this ever since I started here in 2006. The flood will come every year. That's why I have secured all the equipment," he said, while preparing some extra hot chili.

According to kompas.com, Hendrik placed the stove, grill, display cabinet, rice and other equipment high up on the sidewalk.

The vendor added that he had many frequent customers, hence he tried to stay open even during floods.

"Many of our customers still come here despite the flood. Among the favorite dishes are pecel lele, chicken, chicken skin satay, and maybe the chili."

Winarti, 56, who lives at Jl. Tongtek, said she frequently visited the stall due to its delicious lele bakar (grilled catfish).

"When [our home] got flooded, I became too lazy to cook, so I just came here. I love the grilled food; but the chili should be spicier," she said.