Bakso, less often basso (indonesia. Bakso, ba'so) - a dish of Indonesian cuisine. It is a special type of meatballs made from almost any kind of meat, fish and seafood. Served, as a rule, in broth or soup, often with the addition of noodles or vegetables, sometimes fried. The dish is popular in various regions of the country, primarily in Java and Sumatra. It has some distribution outside Indonesia.

The meatballs are generally made from a mixture of beef milled and starch, but there are meatballs made from meat chicken, fish, or shrimp even meat buffalo. In its presentation, meatballs are generally served hot with clear beef broth, mixed with noodles, vermicelli, bean sprouts, tofu, sometimes eggs and sprinkled with fried onions and celery. Meatballs are very popular and can be found throughout Indonesia, from street vendor carts to large restaurants. Various types of meatballs are now offered in the form of frozen foods sold in supermarkets or malls. Meatball slices can also be used as a complement to other types of food such as fried noodles, fried rice, or cai stamp.

Origin and distribution

Bakso is not, in the strict sense, a traditional Indonesian dish. It recipe was borrowed from Chinese cuisine and spread to Indonesia as Chinese immigrants settled there. Actually, the name "Bucks" comes from the Chinese "ba-by" (whale. 肉酥, pinyin: ròusū, Pall.: Zhousu, pevedzi: bah-so, literally - "crumbly meat"). However, in the XX century it has gained so wide popularity in various Indonesian regions - primarily in Java and Sumatra, which is currently perceived both in the country itself and abroad as one of the main dishes of Indonesian cuisine. In particular, US President Barack Obama, who spent his childhood in Jakarta, in a telephone conversation with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Udoiono in November 2008, admitted that he misses Indonesian food, in particular, bakso.

In the second half of the XX century, bakso gained some distribution outside Indonesia, primarily in neighboring countries - Malaysia, Singapore, as well as in the Netherlands, the former metropolis of Indonesia.

Meatballs have roots in Chinese-Indonesian culinary arts. This is shown from the term 'meatballs' derived from the word Bak-So, in Hokkien which literally means 'ground meat'. Because most Indonesians are Muslims, meatballs are more commonly made from halal meat such as beef, fish or chicken. Now, most meatball sellers are Javanese from Wonogiri and Malang. The place that is famous as the center of meatballs is Soloand Malang called Malang Meatballs. Malang meatballs and Solo meatballs are meatballs and are served with Javanese specialties. Meatballs come from China but different from Malang and Solo meatballs. Chinese meatballs are usually made from pork or seafood and the color is rather brown and the shape is not very round. Whereas Malang and Solo meatballs are made of beef, gray in color and very round in shape. Chinese meatballs are usually not served with abundant soup different from Malang and Solo meatballs which are served with abundant soup.

Bakso Solo is a hereditary effort from Bakso Wonogiri, because many children and grandchildren who settled and opened a meatball business in the city of Solo and surrounding areas, especially urban areas that are so strategically located on the edge of the highway.

Cooking and Varieties

Bakso can be prepared from almost any protein product: all types of meat, including offal, fish, seafood and, less commonly, tofu, tempeh or some types of vegetables. The most popular are beef, chicken, shrimp bacso and beef offal bacso. There are recipes for mixing minced meat from various products - for example, from several varieties of meat or from meat and vegetables. The production of pork bakso is widely practiced among ethnic Chinese, but given the majority of Indonesians belonging to the Muslim faith its distribution is quite limited. There are known cases of criminal cases involving the sale by wholesalers to bazaar producers of pork under the guise of beef - for example, in Jakarta in 2012.

Products intended for bakso are carefully beaten and processed into very small viscous minced meat (in the fish version it is almost identical to Japanese surimi). Traditionally, special metal hatchets are used for these purposes, however, nowadays, manual and electric meat grinders and food processors are increasingly being used.

A small amount of flour is added to the minced meat - usually tapioca or saga, less often corn, salt and ground red pepper to taste. Round meatballs with a diameter of usually 3-5 centimeters are formed from it. Sometimes inside a meatball is placed some filling, for example, a boiled quail egg or a slice of tofu.

Due to the special viscosity of the minced meat, the meatballs are exceptionally dense and tight. It is this consistency that distinguishes bakso from most other chopped culinary products, in particular from a slightly less common dish in Indonesia - pempec - meatballs made from fairly loose, exclusively minced fish with the addition of much more saga flour.

Bakso is most often boiled in large quantities of water. However, the fried version, which is cooked in a pan or wok in a small amount of vegetable oil, is quite popular. Sometimes already cooked meatballs are fried.

Bakso is made not only at home or at home, but also industrially. In industrial production, various preservatives, food colors, artificial flavors and flavor enhancers, as well as food thickeners and stabilizers that enhance the viscosity of the meat, in particular sodium triphosphate and borax, can be added to the stuffing. Recently, Indonesian media have voiced concerns about the possible negative impact of consumer bursa on the health of consumers.


  • Meatballs veins: stuffed meatballs sliced tendon or tendons and flesh rough tetelan.
  • Tennis ball or meatball balls: tennis ball-sized meatballs containing boiled chicken eggs.
  • Flat meatballs: flat-shaped meatballs.
  • Fish meatballs: meatballs made from fish meat.
  • Shrimp meatballs: meatballs made from shrimp.
  • Malang Meatballs: meatballs from Malang, East Java, complete with yellow noodles, tofu, dumplings, and fried dumplings. The famous Malang meatballs trader is Henky Eko Sriyantono, the owner of Malang Meatballs, Cak Eko City.
  • Karimunjawa Meatballs or better known as Yellow Tail Fish Meatballs are meatballs whose ingredients come from yellow tail fish.
  • Solo and Wonogiri Meatballs: meatball dishes originating from Solo and Wonogiri, are smaller than Malang meatballs and are not as complete as Malang meatballs. But Solo and Wonogiri meatballs have a strong characteristic beef. Meatballs Solo and Wonogiri there is a mixture of sliced beef or tetelan. The famous Wonogiri meatball trader is Ki Ageng Widyanto Suryo, owner of the Senayan Shoot Field Meatballs.
  • Cheese meatballs: new meatball recipe containing cheese.
  • Grilled meatballs: meatballs smeared with special spices and grilled directly (without charcoal) and provided with pieces of rhomb and warm broth and peanut sauce. Usually topping before burning is one that determines whether or not grilled meatballs.
  • Pebble meatballs: meat ingredients are relatively the same as meatballs in general, but the size of these meatballs is smaller to be called pebble meatballs.
  • Balungan meatballs: basic ingredients of bone.
  • Unyil Meatballs: the basic ingredients are ground beef but the size of the sphere is the size of a marble.
  • Ba kso ta hu gor eng (abbreviated as Batagor): basic ingredients of beef, presentation combined/mixed with fried tofu. This type of meatballs are often found in the city of Bandung, West Java.

Sale and use

Bakso of various kinds is widely sold in Indonesia in food stores of all levels. It goes on sale both ready-made and raw, being one of the most popular processed foods. Bakso and dishes with it, as a rule, are present in the menu of public catering enterprises specializing in national cuisine, and are also sold everywhere by street peddlers. Meatballs, broth and various additives are usually stored in different containers in trolleys and mixed in a bowl at the request of the buyer.

Cooked meatballs are usually served in broth or in noodles, as well as put into various soups. Fried foods are most often served with rice or noodles. Different regions specialize in certain varieties of bakso. Meatballs of fish and seafood are traditionally found in coastal areas, meat and chicken - everywhere. Some varieties, considered to be the "specialty" of certain cities or localities, have gained national popularity under the corresponding names - for example, Bako-Malangese: boiled meatballs in a broth with noodles, tofu and dumplings. Since the late 1980s in West Java Bakso variety made from tofu and served fried is very popular, which received the notable acronym name batagor (English) Russian. (from ba kso ta hu gor eng - fried bakso from tofu).


In the manufacturing process, there are meatballs that are mixed with borax or canister to make the flour become more resilient like meat and more durable. This makes meatballs considered to be less safe food by BPOM. BPOM warns that consuming foods high in borax levels for 5-10 years can increase the risk of liver cancer. So meatballs sold in various traditional markets and supermarkets are required to be borax free.

Because meatballs are made from meat, it should be stored frozen before boiling for consumption. For this reason, meatballs are sold in supermarkets in freezing conditions to maintain the temperature so that the meatballs can be maintained and their quality is not polluted by bacteria. Consumers need to be careful in choosing meatballs sold by mobile meatball traders. Meatballs that are sold but displayed in a display case at room temperature are prone to bacterial contamination, for example bacteria that cause diarrhea or salmonella which cause typhus. Choose meatballs that are boiled.

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