Bakmi babi in Jakarta

bakmi pork indonesia

Bakmi literally means meat noodles and despite the Muslim majority capital of Indonesia, there are shops which caters for people who wants a dose of porcine goodness. One of these is located in Mangga Besar – a quirky name which means “big mango” (a tropical variant of the Big Apple ;)).

Bakmi Ahau claims to have been around since 1962 – that’s a good 50 years (!!!) of operation. It’s still situated in a dingy stall right by the roadside but that’s part of the appeal. If the claims are true (or if the date is based on the Muslim calendar, which produces its peculiar brand of irony) it means that they must serve a really good bowl of bakmi babi (pork noodles)…

bakmi ahau 1962

…and I can attest to that!

It has been around for a couple of years at least, a friend of mine brought me here to eat a very late supper when I was in Jakarta. The place was packed even though it was way past midnight.

bakmi jakarta

The bakso (that’s meatballs) accompanying the bakmi here is made with pork and it’s deep fried before being served, producing a crunchiness that goes very well with the juicy pork meatballs. They don’t skimp on the meat – there’s just a thin coating of batter on top. I reckon it’s the deep fried bakso that makes this stall stand out.

bakmi mangga besar

The noodles are also tossed with lard and there’s bit of char siew (barbecued pork) and deep fried pork skin to go with it. It’s also not fully “dry” – almost a quarter of the dish is filled with the seasoning gravy (or bumbu) which is a mixture of lard, soy sauce, and other things the workers are reluctant to divulge.

pork bakmi

However, it is 100% goodness! I have had a lot of pork noodle dishes and this is one of the times where it stood out in my mind. The bakmi in Mangga Besar is just one stall in a long chain but you can find it from the distinctive t-shirts that they wear.

bakmi jakarta me

A large bowl of pork bakmi with extra bakso with a glass of iced jeruk (local Mandarin orange juice) from the stall beside just cost under 20,000 rupiah (about RM 6) – a nice break if you want something other than chicken in Jakarta. A mean and delicious dish of authentic roadside bakmi at a price that’s hard to beat.

Bakso in Bali

bakso beef

Bakso is a dish of noodles, meatballs and other assorted stuff served in a soup. It’s usually found on the streets – this particular variant comes with a *huge* fist sized beef ball. It’s homemade and the meat is slightly pink and tender on the inside. IDR 7,000 which is about RM 2.40 – it’s worth it for the gigantic homemade beef ball alone. :)

bakso

However, the best bakso that we had was outside the Legian beach – it’s one of those portable stalls that allows the vendor to carry his wares behind his motorcycle and literally set up shop there. Nothing beats a hot bowl of this on a rainy evening by the beach.

bakso bali

We just had a very chill afternoon of swimming and lounging on the beach before it suddenly started raining. I really wanted to try the bakso and the guy who owns the stall was quite pleased to have our business and took several photos of us with his stall. He insisted. smirk

bakso stall

The setup is pretty similar but the stall had run out of noodles and egg so it’s just plain bakso (meatballs).

bakso meatball

The meatballs are held in a side area which is constantly heated but surprisingly retains the tender and juiciness of the meatballs.

bakso spicy

You can choose whether you want it spicy or regular (highly recommend the spicy) and it comes to you in a piping hot steaming bowl of goodness.

bakso locals

We sat down on a little nook right on the sidewalk just like the locals – it was that and the cold, wet and drizzling weather offset with a nice bowl of heartwarming spicy bakso that made this the best one we had in Bali. IDR 5,000 (RM 1.70).

bakso motorbike

Fresh raised a very good question though – where does the guy wash the bowls? :)

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