A favorite among students, this savory meatball noodle soup gained international fame when U.S. President Barack Obama remembered it as one of his favorites during a visit to Jakarta.
The meatballs — springy or rubbery, the size of golf balls or bigger — are made from chicken, beef, pork or some amorphous combination of them all. Sold mostly from pushcarts called kaki lima, bakso comes garnished with fried shallots, boiled egg and wontons.
Indonesia has developed numerous bakso variants, usually differing in shape, size, texture, ingredients, and fillings.
- Bakso aci: meatball with more tapioca content
- Bakso ayam: chicken bakso
- Bakso babi: pork meatball
- Bakso bakar: grilled and skewered bakso, prepared in a similar fashion to satay
- Bakso beranak: big meatball filled with small meatballs
- Bakso bola tenis tennis ball-sized bakso, either filled with hard boiled egg as bakso telur or filled with tetelan which includes pieces of spare beef meat and fat or urat (tendon).
- Bakso cuanki: a famous bakso in Bandung, West Java
- Bakso gepeng: flat beef bakso, it usually has finer and more homogenous texture
- Bakso goreng: fried bakso with a rather hard texture, usually consumed solely as a snack or mixed in one bowl as part of bakso Malang or bakso cuanki
- Bakso ikan: fish bakso (fish ball)
- Bakso keju: a modern variant of bakso, filled with either cheddar or mozarella cheese
- Bakso kotak: cube-shaped bakso
- Bakso Malang: bakso dish from the city of Malang in East Java; complete with noodles, tofu, siomay, and fried wontons
- Bakso mercon: lit. “fire cracker bakso”, refer to an extra hot and spicy bakso filled with sambal made of chilli pepper and birds eye chili pepper
- Bakso tahu: bakso meat dough filled into tofu
- Bakso telur: a tennis ball-sized bakso with hard boiled chicken egg wrapped inside
- Bakso udang: shrimp bakso with a slightly pink color
- Bakso urat: bakso filled with tendons and coarse meat