Indonesia beef prices soar amid drive for self-sufficiency
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Mr Haji Hidayat makes his living selling one of Indonesia's most popular dishes: a tasty meatball soup known as bakso. Earlier this week, after 22 years, he decided to take a break and leave the capital for his village, no longer able to afford to keep ladling the brothy goodness customers had come to expect from him.
The price of beef, the main ingredient in bakso, has hit a record high while other essential ingredients - garlic, shallots and chillies - have also recently skyrocketed.
Beef now costs more than US$10 (S$12.5) a kg, up from around US$6 a kg nine months ago. Meanwhile in the past month alone, sellers at a traditional market in Jakarta report that the garlic price has leaped three and half times to US$7.20 a kg, while the price for shallots increased more than fourfold to US$4.60 and chilies more than tripled to US$5.15.
"This is insane!" said Mr Hidayat, who held out for as long as he could after hiking the cost of a bowl of his steaming soup last month from 30 US cents to US $1 to offset rising beef prices.