I noticed an interesting street culture in Yogyakarta and I really liked it, the culture of outdoor dinner in large groups of friends and family. From the first day I landed at Jogja, I noticed many road side makeshift shops made of plastic roofs and walls with large images of crabs, prawns, fish and other traditional food items. People would sit on the floor in these eating joints and the only furniture are the wooden benches on which they serve the food. They would take their shoes off outside the eating area, which I thought was very similar to Indian culture. I was very intrigued by these eateries and wanted to try the food here but didn’t get the chance.
These were makeshift shops which were already eateries, then there were places which suddenly turned into dining areas at night. As soon as the clock would struck 8 in the evening, all the makeshift street side shops would be folded and packed away, soon the streets would turn into open air on the floor eating places. Plastic sheets would be spread across and families of these shopkeepers would join them with food cooked from home and the entire family would sit on the floor and have dinner together. As I was coming back from the Malioboro Street to my hotel I saw pavements after pavements turned into these evening addas or eateries.
Here a family – man, woman, kids, old parents having their dinner together on the floor or small wooden stools, there a group of youngsters sitting on the floor having done with their dinner now strumming a guitar or two, on another pavement a bunch of middle aged men playing cards…It was a beautiful scene all around. Even though by 8.30 to 9 pm the shops had all shut down, the city still thrived with people’s energy. There were almost equal number of men and women in these open addas.
The other amazing thing about Jogja’s street culture are the famous Calung Funk band which regularly plays at the Malioboro Street. They play amazing traditional music on the street.
I have never seen this kind of street music in India, I wish we had more spontaneous creativity and street culture in India. Sadly, there are more violence on our streets than creativity.