It’s through our shared experiences from which we build memories from.
I really have to credit Khai, my JC friend for introducing me to the wonderful world of bakso. Basically, bakso are Indonesian beef balls derived from beef surimi. Technically, there are little differences between bakso and other Asian surimi foods like Chinese fishballs, Japanese kamaboko or imitation crab meat. But, the beef broth in which bakso is served in is literally out of this world! I mean, the broth is just homemade beef stock, garlic cloves, celery, sugar, pepper and salt, but it’s perfect. It’s comfort food, just like chicken soup. That, plus a generous portion of Indonesian kecap manis and chili sauce.
Since then, I’ve made it my life’s mission to have bakso as and when I come across it. There seems to be a certain standard taste, or perhaps I’m just not well acquainted with bakso. I don’t know, but when it comes to bakso, you don’t need much to make me happy.
It has been a mostly fruitful weekend in Jakarta. Though it has been pretty much touch-and-go, I’ve managed to experience the hospitality and charm of the Indonesian people, I’ve also managed to acquire the knowledge I need to make my next steps to start my fashion line. All I was missing, besides, well, him, was bakmie and bakso. I was in Jakarta, and either way, I was going to have my fix.
I can’t recall where I saw it, but it mentioned that the airport had a bakso restaurant at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal 2, so I was somewhat relieved that I’d at least, get my chance at tasting it.
Baso Malang Oasis is as classic as real Indonesian dining goes. It’s not air-conditioned, and it’s exposed to the traffic outside along the departing passengers drop-off points (which is surprisingly busy I might add). If you smoke, great – the entire restaurants is a defacto smoking area. If you don’t, you’re relegated furthest away from the smokers’ tables, which is, well, in the middle of the restaurant. Thankfully, the diner is well ventilated, and the cigarette smell isn’t as strong as you’d think it’d be.
Typical of Southeast Asian cuisine, the sauces and condiments are at your disposal. So, if you want something that’s safe and plain, just have it without. Otherwise, there is the usual pepper and salt, as well as the ubiquitous Indonesian kecap manis, which is a sweet sauce, as well as chili sauce. To have it as Indonesians do, squeeze both kecap manis and chili sauce over your noodles and inside the soup, then dig in!
It was just pure heaven, I tell you.