Bakso is derived from Chinese meatballs, commonly made from finely ground beef with a small quantity of tapioca flour and salt, however bakso can also be made from other ingredients, such as chicken, pork, fish or shrimp. Unlike other meatball recipes, bakso has a consistent firm, dense, homogeneous texture due to the polymerization of myosin in the beef surimi.

The word ‘bakso’ may refer to a single meatball or the complete dish of meatball soup. ‘Mie bakso’ refers to bakso served with yellow noodles and rice vermicelli, while ‘bakso kuah’ refers to bakso soup served without noodles.

Bakso can be found all across Indonesia, from street vendors to high-class restaurants. Along with sotosatay, and siomaybakso is one of the most popular street foods in Indonesia. Today, various types of ready-to-cook bakso are also available as frozen foods sold in supermarkets in Indonesia. It is usually eaten with noodles.

According to a survey by, Bakso received a total star rating of 4.6 – the highest of all meatball dishes.

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