Batagor is a true Bandung invention and one of the most popular ones as well. The basis for the recipe is a ‘golden oldie' called baso tahu and siomay fish/tahu meatballs in a tasty broth. The innovation of Indonesians spurred them to modify this dish by boiling the balls instead of frying them. This marked the birth of ba-ta-gor: baso tahu goreng , literally ‘fried tahu meatballs'.
The fried baso consist of snapper fillet mixed with tahu and tapioca flour. It is then coated in kulit pangsit which is equivalent to spring roll sheets. They come in two different varieties. It can either be served dry or in a broth. The dry version is prepared with a bowl of spicy peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce and a sprinkle of lime juice. The broth version is drenched in a thick sambal and soy sauce soup. Both versions are equally yummy and both constrasting as well. The tasty broth and peanut sauce is so addictive that you'll find yourself craving for more.
The most famous batagor institution is Batagor RiRi which was established in 1985. Their place on Jalan Burangrang is invaded by batagor lovers from all over Bandung . The place is designed in a fast-food style fashion with a counter displaying everything that's on the menu accompanied by life-size pictures. You wouldn't say this is a traditional establishment judging from the modern décor. The walls however are adorned by signed pictures of Indonesian celebrities who took the pain of getting out of their mansions to taste the real thing.
Since it is probably the most prevalent of Bandung specialties, you would have no trouble finding batagor. Batagor Riri is not without reason the most popular spot. Second generation owner Chris explains: ‘Our batagor is a family recipe and we use fresh snapper fish and fresh tahu everyday'. That is probably the key to Batagor Riri's success and the key to the fresh and crispy taste. In an attempt to minimize cost, some of the street vendors use fish paste rather than real fish to mimic the taste.
Chris still eats batagor everyday as a quality control check. To the question if he ever gets tired of it he smiles: ‘No, me and my family still enjoy eating it. I was born in a world of food: Bandung '. When the word 'batagor' is uttered, Bandung is the first place that comes to mind. Give it a try and I assure you, you'll get hooked.
Jalan Burangrang No.41
Paskal Hypersquare a21