Apart from the usual oleh-oleh you’ll see in Bandung like brownies or pisang molen, one must not forget also to have this most sought after specialty from the city. Yes there are fresh dishes that you do not want to wait until you get home to savor it like lotek or lomie, but batagor is surely something that you cannot wait to bring back home and enjoy it with the rest of the family!
In Jakarta, we may see many hawkers selling batagor and people do enjoy it. Although, these may not come close to the originals from Bandung, since Jakarta hawkers may use mackerel (batagor’s main ingredient) or even play around with the texture by using more flour or less flavor. In short, it never reaches the highest regard like pempek in Palembang or the batagor from its origin city.
Personally, I regard batagor usually more as a snack or occasional light lunch and I do see people treat it that way here. What I can’t get is perhaps the very scene of Jakartans who became fanatics whenever they come to seek batagor in Bandung!
Weekends are always crazy almost everywhere in Bandung and it has become harder and harder for everyone to move around freely without facing the traffic jams. Lucky for Batagor Kingsley, it’s never the case. Jalan Veteran is located in the older part of the town where access leading to this road are plenty and relatively far from the toll gates where they became so easily crowded alongside places of interest around the proximity.
It is advisable for anyone to do just the takeaways here as you might encounter difficulty in sealing a table for your family and enjoy the meal at ease. In case you’re wondering, batagor is an abbreviation of bakso tahu goreng or literally translated as fried meatballs (bakso) and tofu. But the thing is, it’s not the usual meatballs you’ll see in your favorite bakmi or bakwan Malang. It’s practically a fried fish dumplings wrapped together with tofu and bathed in spicy peanut sauce with kecap manis and a dash of lime juice. In case you don’t want to have any tofu, the fried fish dumplings or commonly known as siomay are also available.
What makes the difference between each stall is the ratio between the mackerel and the tapioca flour. So despite the medieval look, batagor is rich with flavor and textures. It’s crispy from the outside and you’ll find the tanginess from the fish but with a chewy texture from the interior. Imagine it combined with tofu and the powerful peanut sauce that still retain its crunchy consistency. Some people like it sweeter with more kecap manis but either way, it’s just divine.
Well, at IDR 10,000 for a piece of relatively huge batagor here, it may be considered a rather hefty price if compared to other places but you’ll see why it may be worth your while waiting for the table and for the staff to finally serve you with the treat. Don’t forget also to try the es sekoteng from Batagor Kingsley’s neighboring hawker for the dessert!
Unsuitable for vegetarians
Address: Jalan Veteran no. 25, Bandung – Indonesia
Opening hours: Everyday, 10am – 9pm
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2014 edition
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Photos by: Dennie Benedict