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Solo Diner: Do-It-Yourself Ramen Treat at K3 Mart

Solo Diner: Do-It-Yourself Ramen Treat at K3 Mart

Danti Tarigan
02 March 2023


For those who seek a different scene, the Korean minimart, K3 Mart, now offers a new exciting experience with do-it-yourself instant ramen.


Who doesn’t like instant noodles? They are so simple (an eight-year-old-can-do-it-simple), yet you get the flavor punch, and the warm comfort they give. As an Asian kid, I surely have a weird love affair with the beloved noodle blocks and flavor pockets. 

The comfort of slurping chicken-flavored instant noodles while watching the rain pour down outside is one of my cherished memories, and I’m sure I share it with many other Indonesians as well. It used to be a good friend of mine on gloomy days, on nights I struggled to fall asleep, or when I was too lazy to put in more effort than boiling water. But as I grew older, the friend became something I frequented less and less, realizing it isn’t the healthiest thing you can eat daily. So I didn’t. Now I only have it every now and then, making it sort of a “self-reward” thing for special occasions. 

Growing up eating the local brand (so well-known I don’t have to mention it), in recent years, my taste has expanded a little bit, and there’s a little space in my heart for Korean brands now. Maybe it’s because the flavor is more unfamiliar, so it’s exciting, or maybe I was just one of many Indonesian youngsters that unwittingly got infected by Korean fever. 

Especially here in Jakarta, the passion for Korean culture doesn’t seem to be fading (at least not in the near future), and of course, the food is one of the easiest ways to access it. On the flip side of Korean BBQ and fancy bibimbap coin, Korean convenience stores are now popping up, inviting the curiosity of K-drama connoisseurs to try to relive the lifestyle depicted on screen for themselves.

One of the stores that has been buzzing around social media, especially TikTok, is K3Mart. First opened in Pantai Indah Kapuk, my hesitation to go had no justification anymore when they finally opened a second outpost in the South. So I finally gave them a visit. 

K3 Mart is located within the Hob Nob; a collective space snuck in one of Kemang’s narrow lanes. When entering the building, a clothing store greeted you first, dressed in a y2k-style ambiance (a style which has recently been on the rise again) with bright neon colors and chrome accents in every corner. Go a little further inside, and you’ll arrive at the market, still decored with the same spirit. 

Like any convenience store, the mart sells snacks and drinks, mainly imported from Korea. They also feature a station for hot foods like odeng or tteok; but what got people’s attention is the wall of ‘Ramen Heaven,’ a rack with a huge collection of imported instant noodle brands covering about one-third of the store’s wall. After choosing the preferred ramen, an additional IDR 14,000 will buy you a pan and an egg to cook with. A row of stoves and hot water machines are available too on the side to boil the ramen at the touch of a button. They also provide a sink and finger guard to protect you from the hot pan if you need to drain the water. 

There are several tall chairs facing the window inside the room, but what’s behind the window intrigued me far more. As I went through the back door, the visual of eating in a tiny minimarket while watching the bustle of people passing by (like actors in K-dramas) suddenly changed to a semi-open scene with comfortable chairs lined up, green plants, and wooden floors. 

The experience of eating spicy noodles no longer felt suffocating, as the breeze outside eased my sweat—courtesy of the spicy noodles. For the rest of the evening, the steamy bowl accompanied me in peace, while I was amused by the sight of people ordering coffee, chatting enthusiastically, or squealing with excitement inside a little photo booth in the corner. 

Eating noodles at home may be an experience in itself that I will always cherish, a comfort and shelter that’s admittedly difficult to replicate elsewhere. But going to a self-serving place like  K3 Mart now became a thrilling option too, for the “self-rewarding” pleasure of eating instant noodles alone can now be experienced in a different, and arguably livelier atmosphere than the previous ritual.

K3 Mart Kemang

HOB NOB Collective Space,  Jl. Kemang Timur No.48, RT.9/RW.4, Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta, Jakarta

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