“The grilled meatballs impressed me the most – it had perfect texture, and struck a fine balance between the tapioca starch and the meat.“
Back in 2013, I was lucky enough to have gone on a media trip to Malang with a number of culinary journalists. Along the way, they kept raving about the prospect of eating at Bakso Bakar Pak Man. As luck would have it, I was struck by a fever during our stay there, which meant me missing out on the much-anticipated Bakso Bakar (grilled meatballs) session. With my curiosity still burning three years after, I made it an obligation to visit the joint the next time I was in town. Fortunately, I had to make a visit to the region not too long ago, and I finally sampled Pak Man’s signature dish.
First established in 1965, Bakso Bakar Pak Man only began selling the delicacy that made the place a household name in Malang back in 1991. At first, Pak Man only served meatball soup, but after he began grilling meatballs, Bakso Bakar Pak Man’s stock skyrocketed. Nowadays, the 80-year-old man operates two outlets.
With both meatball soup and grilled meatballs available here, I sampled both. The grilled meatballs impressed me the most – it had perfect texture, and struck a fine balance between the tapioca starch and the meat. Its exterior was slightly charred, which stemmed from the soya sauce that it was given prior to grilling. With the addition of chillies, my palate was more than satisfied.
Despite not scoring as highly as the Bakso Bakar on my report card, the meatball soup was quite all right, actually. The light green noodles made a bit wary of eating it at first, but after being drenching it in the garlicky soup provided, it became a formidable treat on its own.
The hype was well justified, with Bakso Bakar Pak Man leaving a lasting impression on all of my senses. So delighted I was with my first experience, I dropped by for second round before I left town.
Jl. Diponegoro No. 19,
Malang, East Java
T: 0818 388 193
Open daily from 9am-8pm
Price: Rp.25,000/US$1.90 per person