“To come across one as good as the Soto that is offered by RM Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf is something that is few and far between.”
Soto Betawi is a dish that one can easily find almost anywhere in town – which is obvious considering that it’s part of the traditional cuisine of the Betawi people. However, to come across one as good as the Soto that is offered by RM Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf is something that is few and far between.
There are four RM Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf located across the city, and what the joint is famous for is its originality and richness in taste. I reckon it’s due to their cooking method, which involves the use of pure coconut oil to enhance its flavour without a trace of MSG to be found.
H. Ma’ruf began peddling his now-famous Soto Betawi at the old Gondangdia Train Station, which is located nearby his house, in the 1960s. He used to lug around a wooden basket to carry all of his cooking equipment. In the 1980s, he opened up a warung at the Cikini Train Station, before further success led him to moving to a proper shop inside the Taman Ismail Marzuki complex in the year 1990. Sadly, he passed away in 2000, leaving the business to be taken over by his son H. Mukhlis.
Nasrudin, one of the employees at RM Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf, said that in early 2015, a notice by the local government was handed out to all the vendors in the Taman Ismail Marzuki complex regarding a massive renovation that was to be applied to the complex. It required all of the shops to relocate. H. Mukhlis then opened a new shop on Jalan Soeroso, opposite Trio Restaurant, as a precautionary measure. However, up until today, the renovation has yet to begin, strangely enough.
I made my way to its brand new branch and ordered its signature Soto Betawi, along with a serving of its Sate Daging Betawi (Beef Satay Betawi). As I stuffing myself with the rich and creamy Soto and the juicy satay, I noticed a sign over at the cashier counter that displayed a picture of the latest addition to its menu: Laksa Betawi. “We only started offering it about three months ago to provide more options for our loyal customers,” Nasrudin replies after I asked him about it.
Jl. Gondangdia Lama, No. 36A
(next to Hotel Godila)
Open daily from 10am-9pm
Rp. 30,000/ US$ 2.20 per person