Robert Sietsema, reporting last week on slashfood.com, explained how President Obama had the opportunity to taste his favorite soup, bakso, during his recent visit to Indonesia. Bakso, it turns out, is a meatball-laden soup (the meatballs are also called bakso) that can be prepared with beef, chicken, fish or shrimp balls.
It sounds delicious. Where can I find it in Kansas City?
Nowhere that I could find, unfortunately. The Malay Cafe north of the river serves some Indonesian dishes, but the employees I spoke with on the phone had never heard of bakso. Nor had Richard Ng, the owner of the Bo Lings restaurants, but he has experimented with Indonesian dishes in the past and was intrigued when I asked if he'd make a bowl for us here in Fat City.
"Let me do a little research first," he said. "And I'll make you some."
Ng is Chinese, which should give him a little insight into bakso. Siesema writes that the soup "is considered Chinese in origin, but the Indonesians have mutated the hell out of it."
The traditional preperation calls for the meatballs to be made with tapioca flour (it makes them light and bouyant) and added to the broth, says Sietsema, "egg or rice noodles, fried wontons, bean sprouts, various greens, crisp shallots, and marinated mushrooms."
If I've overlooked a local restaurant that serves some variation on this soup, let me know. It's soup weather.
(Image via Flickr: avlxyz)