Bakso is essentially a meatball. This recipe originally came from Chinese cuisine from those who migrated to Indonesia some centuries ago. When the Chinese arrived in Indonesia, they adapted their dishes to the local cuisine and spices. While Chinese meatballs usually contain pork or fish, Indonesian meatballs use beef as the main ingredient.
There are two places in Indonesia which are famous for being the home of the most delicious bakso dishes: Solo in Central Java and Malang in East Java. Bakso Solo offers a delicious original taste to their meatballs while Bakso Malang usually offers more varied ingredients such as fried bakso balls, square bakso balls, big pangsit, etc.
Where can you find these delicious treats? Besides the local restaurants and street food places, you can find mobile sellers with bicycles or motorcycles who drive around your neighborhood, especially if you are on Java island. If you are visiting my hometown, Solo, there are some famous Warung bakso that you shouldn’t miss such as: Bakso Remaja, Bakso Titoti, Bakso Kadipolo, Bakso Alex, Bakso Rusuk Palur. If you are in the Netherlands you still can try delicious Bakso Malang in the Indonesian Restaurant Si-Des.
Tips for Eating Bakso:
- Indonesians usually use a fork and spoon to eat bakso. While the fork is important to help us eat the noodles, the spoon is important to help us eat the soup and the other ingredients.
- In the bowl you usually will have: bakso balls, yellow noodles, white noodles, white/yellow tofu, fried/boiled pangsit, sawi hijau, tetelan (beef tendon). Which one you should taste first? The answer is the soup! Taste your soup first, and if you think you need more salt or pepper just add it. The seller usually will serve you other spices in your table while serving your bakso as well. These spices are: sambal, tomato sauce, chili sauce, vinegar, kecap manis, a cut of lime. I like sweet, fresh and a little bit spicy taste in my bakso soup, so I usually will add kecap manis, a tiny amount of sambal, squeeze the lime and mix it before eating.
- If you have bigger bakso balls, you will need to cut it with your spoon and fork into small pieces before you can enjoy it. But if your bakso balls are small, you can just pick it with your fork and eat it in one or two bites.
- If you are adventurous enough to try more tastes, you can prepare a small plate and fill it with tomato sauce, spicy tomato sauce, kecap manis, sambal or whatever spices you prefer. Stick your bakso to your fork and dip your it in your prefered sauce before you eat it. This style of eating can also apply for siomay and tofu.
- There are two ways for eating pangsit. First is eating it directly as dry and cruncy pangsit. Second, dip it down into the soup until its soft, then eat it.
- You can eat the other ingredients such as noodles, tetelan and sawi together with the soup.
Last but not least, enjoy your meal!