It would be unfair to compare Sate H. Romli and Sate Khas Senayan – it would be like drawing analogy between two completely different fruits. On one corner, Sate H. Romli has been around for about 50 years now and has become the go-to satay joint for those residing in South Jakarta. Despite its slightly uncomfortable setting, its loyal guests would still make their way there and wait in line for hours just to have a taste of its signature dish. Meanwhile, Sate Khas Senayan’s popularity among Jakartans is undoubtable. Serving modern-style Sate Ayam, it has numerous branches scattered across the capital city. Despite being poles apart, we unfortunately still have to try and weigh up the two satay powerhouses. Here’s what we found after eating both at the same time.
Sate Khas Senayan
You’re guaranteed a smoke-free environment that is contemporary in style. The smooth texture of its light brown-coloured peanut sauce has become a trademark of Sate Khas Senayan, setting the brand apart from its counterparts and leading us to assume that it’s made from cashew nuts. Guests are also given the freedom to choose whether to have their satay with or without chicken skin. They could also have a portion of satay that is all skin and no meat.
The meat here tends to not be marinated properly as it has a similarity in taste to grilled chicken breast. Moreover, its slightly salty peanut sauce may not be to everybody’s liking.
Sate H. Romli (RSPP)
Sate H. Romli serves traditional Sate Ayam, where each stick contains a mix of chicken meat and skin. The size of the meat is relatively huge compared to other traditional satay vendors, while broken-down peanuts are used to deliver the unique texture of its sauce. A dollop of sweet soy sauce enhances the sweet-and-savoury flavour of the chicken.
The restaurant’s environment is spartan at best, with smoke from the satay grill covering the whole stall. The meat tends to be served burnt, while its taste may be a bit too sweet for some.