“The ox leg was chewy and complemented the coconut milk soup, while a dash of kaffir lime helped in giving its flavour an extra boost.”
It’s ironic to discover that despite Jakarta being the home of the Betawi people and their many cultural aspects, one of their delicacies has become one of the most difficult Betawi dishes to find in the city. While one can easily get a hold of Nasi Uduk or Soto Betawi, the same can’t be said of Soto Kaki Sapi or Kikil (ox leg soup). Featuring similar characteristics to its cousin Soto Betawi, the main difference between the two is the use of ox leg as its main ingredient.
Fortunately for you and I, we still have Soto Kaki Sapi Mencos H. Sarnadi in Jakarta. Specialising in – as the moniker suggests – Soto Kaki Sapi, the joint has been around for decades, although it has gone through a number of positive changes throughout the years. H. Sarnadi began his trade as a roadside hawker by way of a wooden cart, and he did this for 30 years with much success. This led to the opening of a proper brick-and-mortar outlet on Jalan Percetakan Negara in 1994. When H. Sarnadi passed away, the business was taken over by his son, who expanded it by opening up several branches across Jakarta. Lady Luck, however, was not on his side as some of them had to be shut down as they didn’t perform as expected. This did not dampen his spirit, though, as he recently unveiled a brand-new outlet over in Pulo Gadung in early January 2016.
For the sake of my investigation, I visited its flagship shop on Jalan Percetakan Negara. It was quite small in size, with a capacity of around ten to fifteen people. Service was lightning fast, though, as it took only a couple of minutes for me to be served my bowl of Soto. The ox leg was chewy and complemented the coconut milk soup, while a dash of kaffir lime helped in giving its flavour an extra boost.
If ox leg is not your jam, you will have a choice of replacing it with beef. Do remember to never come here during lunchtime, especially during weekdays, as it can get really crowded.
Jalan Percetakan Negara No. 2C,
Open daily from 10am-10pm
Rp.20,000/US$1.50 per person