Sate Klatak Pak Pong has become a must-visit place for any tourist who comes to Yogyakarta not only for its reputation but also for the enticing signature flavour of its satay. The importance of Gudeg (unripe jackfruit stew) to Yogyakarta’s culinary world can only be rivalled by this mutton satay. We were fortunate enough to secure a one-to-one with its founder Pak Pong:
Could you divulge the beginnings of this warung?
My grandfather first sold Sate Klatak (mutton satay) back in the 1960s. He would be moving between night markets, wayang shows and around the village with a yoke to sell his satay. As time went by, he ended up setting up a proper shop. I became interested in continuing his business because of the countless times I followed him around and helped him – especially when my dad had already got a car repair workshop to look after. I began my tenure in 1997 at a small location, and I have had this warung since 2007.
Where did the recipe to Sate Klatak Pak Pong come from?
From my grandfather. Sate Klatak actually started out as a side dish to Gulai (curry) and Tongseng (meat stew in curry-like soup) before it gained traction after many people ordered the satay with just the soup of Gulai and Tongseng. It is now a main course along with Tengkleng (mutton soup).
Sate Klatak is famous for its preparation method – has it always been made using bicycle spokes?
Yes, since the days of my grandfather. The heat can be transmitted to its fullest and the heat would spread evenly using bicycle spokes. Although it has been copied by others, my grandfather pioneered the idea.
Many people from across the country have visited Sate Klatak Pak Pong due to its reputation. Who, however, has left quite a mark on you?
We’ve had government officials and artistes coming to sample our Sate Klatak, including Ahmad Dhani, Muhaemi Iskandar, Hidayat Nur Wahid, Tukul, Anang and many others. They tend to be very curious regarding the taste of our satay.
What is the secret behind Sate Klatak Pak Pong that keeps customers coming back?
It has to be its meat. I always opt for lamb as its meat is softer. Customers could also request to discard the fat and have it meat-only. Before being grilled, the satays are topped with a concoction of candlenut, garlic, and salt that is grinded and then mixed with water to enhance its taste.
How many customers do you get per day?
We get more visitors from out of town on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, while the locals would crowd the place during weekdays. Our capacious space could hold up to a hundred people.