“It was light in texture and I could taste its gloriousness as the beef broth drifted from my tongue and passed down my throat.“
If you ask a Jakartan about where to get a good bowl of Soto Betawi (Betawi-style coconut milk beef soup), I’d reckon that most would tell you to go to Soto Betawi H. Husen, an outlet that has been in business since 1989 and is still run by Bang Husen himself.
A colleague of mine, aware that I was planning to give Soto Betawi H. Husen the once-over, suggested me to go there at around eight in the morning. “Most of the food there tends to be sold out by ten o’ clock,” he says. What he said astonished me. Who in their right mind would have Soto Betawi for breakfast? Don’t they care about their cholesterol levels?
So I came early, and he was right – there were only seven tables inside the shop and all the seats were fully occupied with customers. I could see Bang Husen and his staff all engrossed in preparing the meals of their patrons. Thankfully, one of them was available to take my order. I asked for a bowl of its Soto Betawi with beef and paru (fried lungs) and off I went to sit at one of the tables near the beverage counter. As I waited, my eyes pried around the joint. Everyone seemed so happy and immersed in their meal. When they’re enjoying their Soto this much, they probably don’t give a hoot about cholesterol levels and whatnot.
As the waiter placed my Soto Betawi on the table right in front me, I could see the yellow-coloured coconut milk soup sparkling under the light above. It was light in texture and I could taste its gloriousness as the beef broth drifted from my tongue and passed down my throat. They’re quite generous with the beef and paru, as the Soto was literally blanketed by them.
By the time I was already done with my rice and Soto, I still had to finish up both the beef and paru. I walked towards the cashier, where Bang Husen was occupied with answering questions aired by his staff. “We open every day from 7am until we’re out of food,” he jokes. This, folks, is where you’re able to sample one of the most authentic Soto Betawi and engage in a bit of small talk with the affable Bang Husen. However, just remember to come early.
Jl. Padang Panjang No. 6C,
Manggarai, South Jakarta
T: 021 8370 6476
Open daily from 7am to 1pm