Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adventures in Eating: "Bakso" Street Noodles in Indonesia

Every once in a while I stumble on an old photo that reminds me of a magical time in my life – a celebration, holiday, fancy meal with friends. Today, as I was "cleaning," I found a picture we took a few years ago while visiting family in Indonesia.

We shot these pictures at Daniel's Grandfather's house in Bandung, a bustling city just 3 hours Southeast of Jakarta. These noodles were one thing Daniel was adamant that I try – it's his total comfort food. This is what he compares every other bowl to – a taste of his childhood.

They come from a street vendor named Amit. When Daniel and his cousins were just boys – building blanket forts and dressing as Power Rangers – Amit pushed his cart through his Grandfather's rag tag neighborhood. Back then, mid-sized family homes lined the streets. Today it's primarily an ally of motorcycle repair shacks, a scattering of old houses, and a pristine new Mosque that towers over everything – and, ironically sits across the street from his Catholic Grandfather's house.

With his noodles, Daniel says that Amit put four kids in school. "Isn't that amazing?" he exclaims. "The idea that you can take care of a whole family just by selling noodles." The boy in Daniel, that reminisces about his carefree childhood, wishes that he could build a life around noodles too.

Bakso style? Bakso is an Indonesian meatball made from ground beef and tapioca flour. 
It's very chewy – with a texture similar to a fish ball
Pictured Above: Dry and soupy noodles with bakso meatballs, scallions, chili sauce, and Gai Lan, aka Chinese broccoli. The soup (in the plastic bags) is sipped on the side or used as a dipping sauce.

Gotta love the Snoopy and Tom & Jerry bowls. And, the soup comes in plastic bags!
Tip: When eating noodles from an Indonesian street vendor, bring your own bowl. (It's more sanitary.)

Happy Eating!



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