I have the pleasure of eating at “Meatbowl” in South Melbourne for the second time. Located at 95 York Street, this place is always packed with Indonesians. The food is authentic and flavoursome. It reminded me of “Yong Tau Fu” in Malaysia with the fried meatballs and wonton, serve either dry or in soup with or without noodles, which is traditional to “Hakka Yan“.
I have walked past this shop several times, which is near South Melbourne Market. The shop front is nothing special to yell out at me to come in and eat.
But, one Sunday evening I was wondering around the area looking for something to eat. Most places were shut. Meatbowl was not in my mind at the time. It was a spontaneous decision that I ended up at York Street. Saw that it was opened and with a few customers – all Indonesians, I decided to walk in. It was a Gem! An authentic, Indonesian with Hakka influence style cafe, ranging from deep fried meat balls, wonton, tofu serve in a rich peanut sauce, or in a clear noodle soup, or light creamy rich coconut soup – “curry laksa” or rice. The main ingredients that made this cafe stands out have to be their homemade deep fried snacks – “Bakwan Goreng” (fried pork ball), “Bakwan Goreng Awam” (fried chicken ball), “Pangsit Goreng” (fried pork wonton), “Tahu Bakso” (stuffed beef tofu) and many more. Meatbowl offers great value for money from $1 for a meat ball to the most expensive noodle soup, “Jumbo Noodle” for $14 with ingredients – ox tongue, ox tripe, Chinese barbeque pork, chicken slices, fish cakes, fried wonton. Everything under $15!
I had a bowl of “Bakso Special” – a bowl of vermicelli noodle, a deep fried beef ball with stuffed quail egg, stuffed deep fried tofu, “bakwan goreng ayam”, wonton and smaller size beef balls. Each of the ingredients were sensational. Each bite had its own flavour and texture. The clear soup was tasty and sweet. All for $8.10. It was one of the cheapest Sunday meal I ever had in Melbourne! It was unexpected, which was the best part of the whole experience. I walked away vowing to go back for something different the next time.
The second time I went there was today, for lunch. This time, it was not a spontaneous decision. I went there specifically to eat at Meatbowl. I have decided to try their curry laksa. It was a different laksa from a Malaysian curry laksa. It was sweet and rich with coconut milk. A bit on the lighter side. Not as thick and pungent as a Malaysian curry laksa. It was served with a large deep fried chicken ball, deep fried wonton, barbeque pork and a couple of fish cake slices, which can be left out. This was their “Combination Curry Laksa” for $11.