What is Baso Tahu?

Baso Tahu is a dish made up of individual steamed delicacies dressed with sweet savoury a bit spicy peanut sauce. The term "baso tahu" itself refers to the main delicacy made with stuffing tahu with meaty mixture similar with baso; hence the term baso tahu is used.

The other significant ingredients in the dish is the siomay (shumay/chinese dumpling) which are made from mixture of meat (usually sea fishes sometimes other kind of meat, including pork) and flour. Since siomay are better common than baso tahu, that's why outside of Jawa Barat area "Siomay Bandung" is the popular name of this dish.

Other companying ingredients usually consisted of boiled egg, potatoes, cabbage, and sometimes stuffed paria (pare/bitter melon).

Baso Tahu alias Siomay Bandung

Seeing the steaming process and the kind of delicacies used, there is a strong resemblance with Dim sum made popular by the Chinese culture. Hence in a way, Baso Tahu/Siomay Bandung is the Indonesian version of Dim sum, minus the varieties and missing key ingredients like the stuffed bun (bakpau) or the translucent shrimp hakau.

Beside of the original form, variants of Baso Tahu available in Bandung metro are "Baso Tahu kuah" (baso tahu in soup) and "Batagor". The first are gigantic enlargement of the regular Baso Tahu, only that instead served with peanut sauce it is served in soup made with chicken broth; the later is a newer invention derived from Baso Tahu, as the name itself explains: "Baso Tahu Goreng" (fried baso tahu). Consisting usually only the two major ingredients: baso tahu and siomay, the dish offers different sensation with its crumbly crunchy skin texture made by deep frying. Frying also intensify the savouriness contained in the meal.

Different with Gado-gado, peanut sauce used in Baso Tahu are usually coarser and saltier. After seasoned with the peanut sauce, the dish is then dressed with sweet soy ketchup, and sprinkled with keffir lime juice. Sometimes sellers also provide sambal to go with it, while outside Parahyangan the dish also seasoned with spicy chilli sauce, and served with spoon instead of fork -- while originally it is served the other way around.

Baso Tahu are closely associated with street foods, hence it is usually sold at traditional markets, around or at the street side food carts, semi permanent establishments, and rarely sold at at upper class premises. Best Baso Tahu in Bandung are also sold in street side food carts or food huts, with the exception of Batagor Kingsley; who cleverly switches from selling Baso Tahu to include also Batagor and now is most famous for it.

For the past few years, the SRP of this dish sold on bicycle carts and mobile carts are about IDR 5-8K per complete portion (minus eggs), and a bit higher at Pujasera or Food Courts. As for Batagor, the most famous sellers in Bandung are Batagor Kingsley and Batagor Riri.

Find out more about Bandung's interesting culinary destination at Bandung's Legendary Eateries list on Foursquare. (bay)