THE BAKSO VENDOR

Photo: By Agustinusraharjo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74000754

Bakso is a kind of meatball. People in Indonesia usually consume bakso with hot soup consisting of cabbage, celery and noodles. The soup is flavored with tasty cooking spices. It is the favorite food of most teenagers and adults. The delicious bakso is very sweet in smelling and the taste is so enjoyable. It will be more delicious if it is mixed with a small amount of chili sauce. Red or green pepper is also very helpful to improve digestion.

Consuming bakso can be a habit. Those who like to eat bakso at 9:00 pm will probably be the customers of the bakso vendors who regularly pass by or stay at the roadside waiting for buyers. The bakso in the city is somewhat different from the one sold at the village. At least, it is different from the bakso in my hometown.

We often see how people make bakso and noodles on TV. In my birthplace, the vendors make the noodles themselves because it is more profitable than buying the readymade one. They use fish or beef to make bakso (meatball).

Nobody uses formalin or other chemical substances for preservation. The vendors only sell a limited amount because the meatballs will be spoiled if they aren’t sold on the very same day. We feel tastier to eat the unpreserved meatballs and noodles because it’s more natural and fresh.

On my vacation, I like to go back to my hometown to eat bakso. Actually, I seldom buy a bowl of it in the city. It doesn’t mean that I’m afraid of the formalin preserved bakso. As a matter of fact, I really don’t have enough spare time to enjoy it. It is different whenever I’m back home for a vacation. I have plenty of time to go wherever I want.

For me, it isn’t so enjoyable to eat bakso in the daytime when the weather is hot. It feels more delicious to have such food in a cold and rainy evening.

There was an old bakso vendor who sold bakso at the roadside at night. He used the oil lamp while other vendors used the motorbike-battery light. Perhaps it was the reason that the old man’s bakso became so popular.

Some vendors often felt jealous to see a lot of teenagers waiting at the food-cart of their old rival. Most of the young girls liked to buy bakso from the old man rather than other vendors who didn’t have enough experience in making Bakso and noodles. Sometimes the old man sold all his meatballs and noodles in just an hour.

A bakso vendor usually clangs a spoon against a ceramic bowl when he passes the streets and alleys. Children rush out of their houses to purchase a bowl of steaming hot bakso soup.

Office employees are also fond of eating such inexpensive snack in the afternoon. Some say that it’ll be tastier to eat bakso after completing all their office work.

In Jakarta, children or teenagers usually call the bakso vendors Abang Bakso. Some Javanese are more likely to call them Mas Bakso.

A bakso vendor’s life is simple, but he is well liked by the inhabitants of a big city or town as well as the villagers in a little village. Nowadays, Tukang Bakso is quite familiar in the ears of some tourists because they have heard it from their relatives and friends.

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