"The green one is melon, the pink one is young coconut, and the yellow one is, -?" The vendor lifts the cup and squints. Suspended within a pale mucus are clusters of seeds. Lobster spawn?
"Hey! Mum! What's this?" he yells across a table of croquettes studded with green chilies.
"Blewah!" she hollers back. Melon.
"Oh, that's just the packaging," he says dismissively. "They are Rp 5,000 per cup." The vendor holds his hand out, fingers splayed. "One, two, three four, five."
"Silahkan! Boleh!" the vendors call, encouraging customers to their wares. There’s a camaraderie here, vendors banter as they persuade. Several wave short-handled mops over the food, swishing at flies.
"Fasting gives your stomach a break," interrupts another. "It’s like looking after your motorbike. You service your bike: you give your stomach a rest." His wife tugs his sleeve, smiling an apology as she leads him away.
"Mister!" someone calls.
"She’s not mister," someone counters.
"The most popular food at my stall is asinan betawi," says Upi. "It’s salty, spicy, and delicious." She points to a tray of clear plastic bags knotted and bound with elastic bands. Inside are bubblegum-pink crackers (krupuk), beansprouts, chilies, and peanut sauce. "It'll keep for three days in the fridge."
"Hello!" sings a voice high above a wall of grilled gurame. The lady waves a hand, gesturing to the fish pressed between blackened mesh. "Tastes great with green chili!"
He glares through the window, sucking at his teeth. "This open bazaar will make people break their fast early.They shouldn't open until evening."
"What's more difficult? Abstaining from drinking, eating, or smoking?"
"They're all the same."
"How do you break your fast?"
"First I'll have a drink. Then eat something sweet to regain my strength. Then have a smoke."
"What's the best food to break a fast with?"
"Padang food. It's delicious."
This is surprising: Padang food, from west Sumatra, can be intensely spiced.
"Where are you from?"
"Padang, of course!" Zulkifli grins and toots his horn.