It wouldn’t be right to spend time in Makassar and not have a taste of its most renowned of local delicacies: Coto Makassar (Makassar beef soup). One joint that you could put on your list is Aroma Coto Gagak. Its moniker may lead you to think that it specialises in Coto using crow meat – in the English language, the word “gagak” means “crow” – which would be outrageous if that were true. Worry not, folks, as the name refers to its location on Jalan Gagak.
Aroma Coto Gagak has become the number one choice to dine in for people who get off from work late at night as it is open 24/7 – along with the local youths who come out after the sun comes down. According to one of the employees there, besides seeing a lot of customers during breakfast and lunchtime, the shop is always crowded during the night-time as well.
The place was the first Coto joint that was recommended by my local driver while I was in town. Its reputation was confirmed when President Joko Widodo himself took time to drop by Aroma Coto Gagak during an official visit to Makassar.
It was 2pm local time, and lunchtime had already passed. The eatery was almost void of customers at that stage. I went and asked for a portion of Coto with a mixture of beef and paru (cow lung) from an assortment of choices that included beef heart and liver. It didn’t take long for my order to arrive on my table, which was only possible due to the sparseness of visitors at the time.
Its dark brown-coloured broth differentiated it from your usual Coto Makassar, and a quick sip gave off a slightly sweet taste on my palate. As someone who is well versed in Coto since I was a child, it was a very unfamiliar flavour. Perhaps this is the reason why Aroma Coto Gagak receives so much love from its regulars.
Salt and sambal tauco (fermented soy bean sambal) are placed on every table for diners to add to their Coto as they wish. The sambal tauco here features a rather dry texture, which lends a delightfully spicy sensation that built up my appetite even further. Unfortunately, it was too zesty for its own good and it ended up overpowering the taste of the Coto.
On the plus side, the beef and cow lung were immaculately cooked as shown by their excellent texture and delectability. They more than made up for its disappointing broth, which was way below my expectations.
Jl. Gagak No. 27,
T: 0411 870 800
Open 24 hours
Rp.20,000/US$1.50 per portion