Bulk shopping at a local pasar in Yogyakarta

With a little bit of effort, anyone can bulk shop in Yogyakarta, locally known as Jogja. Jojga is full of traditional pasars (traditional markets) that sell produce and groceries in bulk. In addition, as an artsy city full of bike lanes and a new generation of eco-conscious urbanites, there are at least five bulk shops and counting specifically committed to package-free shopping. As a foreigner, we just have to work up the courage to venture out of Superindo our comfort zone.

Supermarkets = plastic, plastic, plastic

At the start of the pandemic, I always shopped at Superindo, a local big brand supermarket because it was close and convenient. Everything was marked with a price which makes it easy for someone who couldn’t speak bahasa Indonesia. Every visit pained me though because almost everything was wrapped in some form of plastic. A bunch of cabbage was saran-wrapped. Fruits must be placed in a plastic bag first so that the staff can weigh and label them with a sticker. Even eggs that I was so accustomed to seeing packaged in cardboard cartons back home were sold in plastic bags.

Making the switch

When I finally moved out of walking distance from Superindo, I decided to give the local pasars a shot. As a tourist, I’ve always loved visiting the pasars because all the ibus selling colorful produce looked great in photos. But I rarely bought much besides the occasional exotic fruits. I knew the groceries would be significantly cheaper if I could only manage to communicate with the sellers.

Armed with some basic shopping phrases, the ability to count to ten in bahasa, and my own set of reusable shopping bags, I braced myself for my first solo pasar trip. I was not disappointed.

My umpteenth eco-friendly shopping trip.

Pasar vs Superindo – Price Comparison (circa 2020)

Just to give you an idea of how much you can save, here’s a price comparison of some items I’ve bought…

Local Mandarins 🍊15-20k IDR/g12-15k IDR/g
1 Large Imported Pear 🍐10.5k IDR6-7k IDR depending on weight
Papaya9.9 IDR/g6-7 IDR/g
Tomatoes 🍅22 IDR/g6-7 IDR/gr
Eggs* 🥚19.9k IDR, 10 eggs in plastic container9k IDR, 5 eggs, ranges from 22-24 IDR/g
Chicken 🐓Ground: 60-67 IDR/g
Drumsticks: 45 IDR/g
Wings: 40 IDR/g
All parts: 40 IDR/g June ’20 pricing
Drumsticks: 30 IDR/g Sept ’20 pricing
Wings: 30 IDR/g
Mushrooms 🍄60 IDR/g for button mushrooms31 IDR/g for oyster mushrooms
Bokchoy150g for 3450 IDR = 23 IDR/g250g for 2k IDR = 8 IDR/g
Napa Cabbage 🥬17.5 IDR/g6-10 IDR/g
Parsley 1 small bunch3950 IDR (100g)1000 IDR
Wonton skins / pangsit7-9k IDR depending on brand for 1 pack of 15-20 sheets4k IDR 1 pack of approx 25 sheets
Coconut milk 🥥1 box of 65ml Sun Kara brand: 2790IDRbuy freshly ground pulp 500g for 10k IDR (20 IDR/g) which makes >1L of DIY coconut milk
*Eggs are tricky because there’s no expiration date stamped on the eggs and no packaging. I often do the egg test to make sure the eggs aren’t spoiled (submerge in water and see if they float).

How I Learned Pricing

I keep an itemized Google spreadsheet of how much items cost by weight. Call me crazy or obsessive, but by painstakingly recording every item I had purchased, I quickly learned the average pricing for all the fruits and veg I frequently buy. Haggling is fun for me. It can be challenging but it makes me feel more like a local. It’s not news to anyone that the pasar is cheaper than Superindo. But after a month of recording prices, I can even compare which pasars or specific sellers are cheaper. I became so informed that I knew the percentage in price hikes around big holidays like Idul Fitri.

Items you can find while bulk shopping in Yogyakarta pasars

Fun fact: Almost all the things you can buy in bulk at the pasar are represented by emojis! 🍏🍎🍐🍊🍋🍌🍉🥭🍍🍈🥥🍅🍆🥑🥦🥬🥒🌶🌽🥕🧄🧅🥔🍠🍄🍚🥚🍗🥜🦐🦑

  • Rice: assorted variety and quality
  • Eggs: from both chickens and ducks
  • Fruits: from normal (papaya, pineapple, lime, mandarin, watermelon) to exotic (jackfruit, mangosteen, snakefruit)
  • Veggies: water spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, bokchoy, cabbage, eggplant, carrot, etc.
  • Exotic ingredients/spices like ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, cloves, candlenut, coriander, bay leaf
  • Freshly ground coconut pulp – one of my absolute faves. It eliminates the hard work from enjoying this superfood. If you bring a bottle, the sellers at Pasar Gading can even give you the coconut water for free!
  • Tofu
  • Poultry, Seafood – this was tricky at first but after several trips. I started bringing my own container for raw meat to avoid the plastic bag
Bring your own container for raw foods.

Note: All sellers will enthusiastically offer you multiple plastic bags for every single item you buy. You just have to politely tell them not to use plastic: Jangan pakai plastik.

Bulk Shops in Yogyakarta

Besides the traditional pasars, I was surprised to learn that Jogja has a growing community of eco-conscious dwellers. My friend Atha taught me how to compost easily and efficiently.

Atha buying limes with a resuable shopping bag at Pasar Beringharjo.
Atha buying limes with a resuable shopping bag at Pasar Beringharjo.

She was the first to introduce me to the bulk shops of Jogja. Below is only a short list of the ones I know of and there are constantly more popping up. That’s because bulk shopping is the trend – bulk shopping itu keren!

Peony Ecohouse – Sleman

Peony is my absolute favorite bulk shop. In my experience, out of all the stores, it offers some of the cheapest ingredients in bulk. (Contact me if you’d like me to share my detailed price comparison chart.) Many of their items are locally sourced directly from regional farmers.* They do the leg work and offer the discount to their customers. I’ve even accompanied Uwi the owner to source sea salt from Central Java and tea from Kulon Progo.
*Possible future post on why we should buy locally.

Ranah Bhumi – Prawirotaman area

(edited 2024 – shop converted to an experience called “Bhumi Bhuvana” uncertain of operating hours)

Ranah Bhumi has put so much thought into the design of their interior. Shelves are made from upcycled wooden crates. I never could have imagined a broom can look so beautiful. The small interior is so attractive, it’s even inspired an artist to feature it on a wall of photographs at this year’s ArtJog exhibition. Shop there to nourish your soul and boost your social media feed. In addition to bulk food ingredients, they have an extensive offering of eco-conscious household products. The line of locally-made coconut husk brushes by Sudi Organic might not always be tried and tested, but they have the right idea in mind. Handmade wooden spoons by Mas Fendi of Somah Wooden Cutlery is both art and functional.

Peppermint Organics – Tugu area, Central Jogja

I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually bought anything in this shop. But what I loved about them is how they’ve labeled everything in English and even included short descriptions on each ingredient detailing the benefits. What also sets this shop apart is their array of internationally imported brands. I noticed they carry Dr. Bronner’s products. Wow, talk about nostalgia. I haven’t seen this American brand in a long time. Personally, I prefer to support local. But if you’re jonesing for that familiar brand of organic peanut butter or Japanese cake mix, chances are you’ll find it at Peppermint. They even have Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers to satisfy your kid’s cravings.

Samara Ecostore – Dagaran, sort of south east (?)

I visited Samara at the height of the pandemic so their stock wasn’t quite complete. But from their IG feed, it looks like things are picking back up. They’re currently the only shop that I know of which carries locally made menstrual underwear. I’m excited to try these! You can also pre-order weekly fresh produce and seafood.

Takir Kios Bulk – Kasongan, south west (permanently closed)

I haven’t visited but including this for people who live in Kasongan or south west area. Will update with a short summary once I’ve paid a visit.


Via Via Bakery
Aromatics Bakery
These bakeries both carry an assortment of spices, nuts, dried fruits. Not my first option as they’re kinda pricey. However, they are both great options to buy fresh bread and pastries in non-plastic packaging. 🍞🥖🥐🍪

R&B grill Meatshop & Grocery
Quite expensive, but still an option.

Panen apa Hari Ini (Today’s Harvest) – Delivery around Jogja vicinity
I recently started buying local produce directly from Mas Anang who started this IG business in partnership with local farmers to help each other during the pandemic. I was in search of local garlic and shallots and he was my answer. Prices are quite competitive. Buying from Mas Anang is almost equivalent to joining your local CSA.
Sad Fact: Most garlic and shallots sold in traditional pasars are imported from China even though there are plenty of local farmers with an abundance of crop.

Say ‘yes’ to bulk shopping!

Hope this post can encourage Jojga residents to bulk shop in Yogyakarta. If anyone knows of any more stores or has any great ideas to shop in bulk, please let me know 🙂 Also, if you’re from New York, I’d love to know your experience on shopping sustainably. Happy bulk shopping!

Leave a Reply