Other than Bakso (meatballs) and Mie Ayam (chicken noodles), another soupy variant of Bakso that is quite popular amongst Indonesians is Bakwan Malang (mixed dumpling soup). However, you may be surprised by the fact that you won’t find any Bakwan (vegetable fritters) inside a bowl of Bakwan Malang. This is due to the misnomer of the word “Bakwan” by most people, which is actually another saying for “Bakso”, where “bak” means “beef” and “wan” is “round”. No wonder, then, that a 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 joint 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 their lunch, while a long snaking queue had already formed in front of the counter where customers could choose their various fritters and steamed treats. This warung has adopted a buffet-esque system so that its customers do not have to wait for a waiter or waitress to come around and take their order.
The lengthy queue over at Bakso Bakwan Malang Cak Su Kumis (Image: Good Indonesian Food)
Founded in 1990, the business already 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 frequent haunt for local celebrities such as Inul Daratista, Farhan, and Bondan Winarno.
Also read: Jakarta: Bakso Gepeng Rawamangun
I had a tough time controlling myself as my eyes scanned through the various fritters and steamed dishes on show. It would not feel right if I did not have a go at all of them. Among those present include Bakso Urat (tendon meatballs), Bakso Halus (smooth and soft meatballs), Tim Goreng (fried rounded dough), Kekkian Goreng (fried floured shrimp), Siomay Goreng (fried wonton), Tahu Cokelat (brown-coloured tofu), and Tahu Putih (white tofu). The tofu here is stuffed with meatball beef to lend a more savoury feel to them. When they are doused with the soup, the aroma that emanates from it is heavenly, while its taste will delight your palate. Each of these treats is quite large in size so a few of them would 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 lunchtime or dinner time to avoid a long wait. Or perhaps during a holiday, as my online ojek driver informed me that the queues here during working days tend to be of considerable length.
You can also read this article on Queuing for a bowl of hot ‘bakwan Malang’ in East Jakarta
Jl. Rawamangun Muka Barat, No. 14, RT 9/RW 12,
Rawamangun, East Jakarta
T: 021 9269 6256
Open daily from 9am-9pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.20 per person