Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
Bakwan Malang (mixed dumpling soup) is pictured at Bakso Bakwan Malang Cak Su Kumis Rawamangun, Jakarta. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
Other than bakso (meatballs) and mie ayam (chicken noodles), another soupy dish that is quite popular among Indonesians is bakwan Malang (mixed dumpling soup).
However, you may be surprised by the fact that you won’t find any bakwan (vegetable fritters) in a bowl of bakwan Malang. This is due to the misnomer bakwan, which is actually another way of saying bakso, as “bak” means “beef” and “wan” is “round”. No wonder, then, that bakwan Malang may also contain bakso to accompany its concoction of siomay rebus (steamed wonton), siomay goreng (fried wonton), tahu (tofu) and pangsit (dumplings).
One of the most famous bakwan Malang joints in Jakarta is Bakso Bakwan Malang Cak Su Kumis Rawamangun. When I popped by on a Sunday afternoon, the place was crammed with punters having lunch, while a long snaking queue had formed in front of the counter where customers could choose their fritters and steamed treats. The warung has adopted a buffet-esque system so that customers do not have to wait for staff to come and take their order.
Founded in 1990, the business has quite a few branches across East and West Jakarta, including shops in Pondok Kelapa, Pekayon, Cempaka Putih, Galaxy Bekasi, Pondok Kopi and Percetakan Negara. It has also become a haunt for local celebrities such as Inul Daratista, Farhan and Bondan Winarno.
I had a tough time controlling myself as my eyes scanned the various fritters and steamed dishes on show. It would not have felt right if I had not tried all of them. Among those present were bakso urat (tendon meatballs), bakso halus (soft meatballs), tim goreng (fried dough), kekkian goreng (fried floured shrimp), siomay goreng (fried wonton), tahu coklat (brown tofu) and tahu putih (white tofu).
The tofu is stuffed with beef to lend a more savory feel. When they are doused with the soup, the aroma that emanates is heavenly, while the taste will delight your palate. Each of these treats is quite large in size so just a few will be enough to fill you up. It still did not stop some of my fellow customers from queuing up again and again to get more.
My advice is to drop by when it is not lunch or dinnertime to avoid a long wait. Or perhaps during a holiday, as my online ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver informed me that the queues on working days tend to be of considerable length.
Explore more Indonesian cuisine here.
Jl. Rawamangun Muka Barat, No. 14, RT 9/RW 12, Rawamangun, East Jakarta
Contact: 021 9269 6256
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Rp 30,000 (US$2.20) per person
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.