“Every spoonful raised my appetite, and within ten minutes, everything inside that bowl had already made their way into my delighted tummy.“
East Jakarta residents have long recognised Jalan Balai Pustaka Timur as a culinary heaven – unbeknownst to the rest of us. From Bakso (meatballs), Mie Ayam (chicken noodles) and Nasi Goreng (fried rice) to Gorengan (assorted fritters) and Es Duren (durian ice cream), it has got all the street food that you could ever imagine.
Amongst them all, however, is Bakso Gepeng Rawamangun, a must-visit stall for any roadside treat hunter. Affectionately known by its faithful patrons as Bakso Apotik Rini – because it used to be located opposite Apotik Rini – it has been serving its magical Bakso since 1989 and its popularity has remained untarnished even until now. At the time of my visit, Apotik Rini was undergoing a refurbishment, so Bakso Gepeng Rawamangun’s stall had to move to the parking area of nearby Holland Bakery. With tarpaulin acting as its roof, those who can’t stand eating in the sweltering heat of Jakarta should consider having their Bakso to go. Otherwise, your taste buds will be in good hands.
I went with a bowl of its special Bakso and added bihun (rice noodles) and mee (yellow noodles). A portion includes bakso gepeng (thin meatball), bakso urat (tendon meatball), and bakso tahu (fried tofu filled with meatball). After a good few chews, I could understand why so many people rave about this joint. The chewy texture of the Bakso, together with the beef broth, resulted in a savoury flavour that got me shaking with excitement. Every spoonful raised my appetite, and within ten minutes, everything inside that bowl had already made their way into my delighted tummy. I felt slightly guilty after what one could only describe as reckless eating, but who cares when the Bakso was that good?
Jl. Balai Pustaka Timur
Rawamangun, East Jakarta
Open daily from 9am-5pm
Rp.17,000/ US$1.25 per portion