Bakso Gondhol started off in 1970 as Bakso Gundul – a very popular Indonesian-Chinese meatball spot. The restaurant got its current name through a series of mis-spelling by the signboard painter when it moved into its current premises, and a surprisingly tolerant restaurant owner (son of the founder) who didn’t insist that the spelling errors were rectified. Business remained as good as always, so I guess no “feng shui” elements were disturbed by the accidental name change.
Indonesian-Chinese “bakso” meatballs are usually made from a mixture of minced pork, with an unusually high percentage of tapioca flour or corn flour, plus various additives & seasonings. No, it’s not healthy food.
The various steamed & deep-fried morsels are put in a bowl, steeped in a clear, light consommé, topped with finely-chopped spring onions. The soup, like many other dishes in Indonesia, is usually served lukewarm, and not piping hot as I’d have preferred.
A typical bakso lunch at Gondhol will consist of, amongst others:
- “Tahu isi”, tofu puffs stuffed with minced pork;
- ”Siomay basah”, Indonesian-Chinese version of the Cantonese siu-mai (燒賣), though the Indonesian dumpling was much larger, coarser and bore more resemblance to an Aussie dim sim than a delicate HK siu-mai;
- “Siomay goreng”, deep-fried version of the siomay – now THIS one looked & tasted 90% like an Aussie dim sim, except that the Indonesian one has a lighter “cleaner” taste, as compared to the fetid, cloying greaseball that’s a dim sim;
- “Ca yen”/”Bakso goreng”, boiled and also deep-fried meatballs – the sort with the springy texture that I didn’t quite take to.
Two types of sauces are served with the bakso: a hot-as-hell chilli sauce which can be used as a dip, or else drizzled over the meatballs & soup – giving your soup a cloudy reddish hue, or a tomato-based Indonesian-Chinese version of the Chinese hoi-sin (海鮮醬).
Jl. Letjen Sunandar Priyosudarmo No. 31/35
Kav. 10, Malang
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