“Moments after I made short work of my first spoonful, the spiciness kicked in, ravaging through my mouth and tummy as if I had just ingested a string of firecrackers.“
To my ignorance, I have been pigeonholing that all Javanese dishes – including those that originate from Yogyakarta – taste sweet for most of my life. That is until I went on a short trip to Yogyakarta not too long ago. It took me a bite of Oseng-Oseng Mercon (spicy fried cow’s feet) to prove that I was wrong this whole time and that there are authentic hot-and-spicy dishes in the city.
There are plenty of hawkers along Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan that specialise in Oseng-Oseng Mercon. I made my way to a stall in a green-coloured tent called Lesehan Bu Narti, which is renowned for being the innovator behind this delicacy. It was still closed when I got there, so I had to wait until it opened at around 5.15pm. By the time I was placing my order at the counter, a queue of four customers had already formed behind me. It looks like this is one very popular joint.
Its menu contains various selections of dishes – ranging from duck, chicken and pigeon to quail and catfish – which customers can choose either to have their selection fried or grilled. Since the main reason why I was there was to give its famous Oseng-Oseng Mercona try, I turned a blind eye to the rest of the victuals on the list. After being handed my food, I sat down on a mat underneath the tent.
Besides the chewy cow’s feet – or kikil, as we Indonesians call it – I found tender slices oftetelan (beef parts that stick to the bone) in the concoction. Moments after I made short work of my first spoonful, the spiciness kicked in, ravaging through my mouth and tummy as if I had just ingested a string of firecrackers. I could only down a couple more bites before I had to call it quits. It was just too much even for a lover of spicy food like me.
On my way back to the hotel, my local driver Pak Roni cheekily tried to entice me into having a go at another stall he reckoned serves an even spicier Oseng-Oseng Mercon that the one I just had. After experiencing first-hand the damage that it can do, I told him to shove it.
Jl. KH Ahmad Dahlan,
T: 0819 1555 4472
Open daily from 5pm to 12am
Rp.15,000/US$1.10 per person