“What followed was just magic – it felt like a savoury, flavourful flash flood swamping my palate. I never thought that a Soto Mie could be this good, not after my first harrowing experience with it. Its zesty broth and juicy chunks of beef were a delight for my tummy.”
The only experience that I’ve had of eating Soto Mie (beef soup served with a mix of egg noodles and rice noodles) was way back when I was still a young ’un. I remember ordering a bowl from one of the pedlar that would hang around my neighbourhood, and from what I can recall, my taste buds were not too pleased afterwards. Since then, I’ve always turned down offers from friends and family to join them for some Soto Mie. Life, however, has a tendency to come back and bite you in the arse, and it did just that when the name of this eatery was put forward for me to investigate. After a considerable amount of deliberation, I finally decided to forego my personal sentiments and just gave it a go.
It can be a bit difficult to find Soto Mie Bakso Sarodja, which is located over on Jalan Danau Tondano in the Bendungan Hilir area, as the row of shops that line up along that particular street all look alike. And then I finally found it – a small, unassuming joint that has a capacity of around ten to fifteen people max. There wasn’t much of a crowd when I reached the place – I spotted only two other fellow patrons, who already had their faces in their bowl of Soto Mie by the time I stepped inside.
After ordering a bowl of its Soto Mie with Bakso at the counter, I shuffled off to a seat at the front end of the shop and sat down. Not too long after, my long-time nemesis was served. I wrestled with my reluctant heart, and, with a gulp for good luck beforehand, proceeded to down a spoonful of the Soto Mie. What followed was just magic – it felt like a savoury, flavourful flash flood swamping my palate. I never thought that a Soto Mie could be this good, not after my first harrowing experience with it. Its zesty broth and juicy chunks of beef were a delight for my tummy. This isn’t something that you can find at a roadside stall, mind you.
A quick conversation with one of the shop’s employees revealed that Pak Sarodja began his Soto Mie adventure when he sold it on the streets using rattan baskets back in 1970. After he passed away, the business was handed down to his children. “There was another shop just in front of a primary school nearby here, actually, but it was shut down a few years ago,” the employee explains. Well, if a trip to BenHil isn’t to your liking, then fret ye not; you can find Soto Mie Bakso Sarodja in shopping malls such as Pacific Place, Senayan City, and Plaza Indonesia, as well as Bellagio Apartment and Sinar Mas Land Plaza.
Jl. Danau Tondano No. 27
Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta
Open daily (except Friday) from 7am-7pm
T: 021 571 9880
Rp.35,000/US$2.50 per person