“As the Soto Daging was passed on to me, I caught a whiff of its rich aroma. It got me excited and my appetite grew even larger.“
As I prepared myself for what turned out to be a very enjoyable sojourn in Malang, I went online to brush myself up on what to expect. What I encountered were plenty of websites raving about Soto Daging Pak Markeso, which led me to position the joint on the top of my list to visit. It should have been a straightforward affair: go to the place, eat, and then leave with a smile on my face – as I always do during assignments such as this. What happened instead was that I had to wait until the third trip to finally sample its Soto Daging Madura (Madura beef soup). The first two ended up with me going back to my hotel empty-handed as I found out that the popular delicacy tends to sell out by 9am.
Hidden inside a residential area on Jalan Sindoro, no signboard or furniture were present when I got there – just a wooden cart surrounded by a handful of plastic chairs. A crowd was already present, so I joined in and ordered a bowl of its Soto Daging but without the customary offals. In less than five minutes, 52-year-old Pak Markeso handed me my Soto. As it was passed on to me, I caught a whiff of its rich aroma. It got me excited and my appetite grew even larger. I added a few spurts of lime and a dollop of sambal to add some spice and a hint of sourness to the proceedings. I took up my spoon, scooped up a bit of the broth, and shoved it in my mouth. What followed was a refreshing savoury taste that boogied on my palate. I forewent rice for my meal, yet it still managed to deliver a sensational pleasure to my taste buds with its complex flavour that comes from its mixture of candlenut, pepper, and turmeric.
As I was tucking into the Soto, Pak Markeso kick-started a conversation with me by guessing that I was from Jakarta. Having being in the business of selling Soto for more than 35 years, he said that the residents of Malang prefer having his Soto with offal instead of meat. “If I had stuck with just meat, I don’t think my Soto would be as well received as it has been,” he quips. I then cheekily suggested that he opens a shop in Jakarta, as I’m quite certain Jakartans would fall head over heels for his zesty masterpiece, which was sadly met with him dismissing the idea as he prefers not to expand his trade. Jakarta’s loss is Malang’s gain then.
Jl. Sindoro, Malang,
Open daily from 7am-9am
Rp.12,000/US$0.90 per portion