A Bowl of Beef Soto: Sensationally Enjoyable, Near Sambisari Temple

Jalan Candi Sambisari, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
0813 9214 4526 0813 9214 4526

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Cooked by Mbah Katro, the fresh saoto served in a bowl made of bathok is a good option to enjoy in a fresh, green rural atmosphere after enjoying the beautiful architecture of Sambisari Temple.

Updated on 18 November 2019

See 7 photos of Saoto Bathok Mbah Katro

IDR 6.000 / serving

Open daily
6 am - sold out

Walking along the cement paved road next to Sambisari Temple to the north, you'll find bamboo huts in a neat line along the edge of the rice field. A sign explains what those bamboo huts really are. As the sign read "Saoto Bathok Mbah Katro", the first thing that came to my mind was a portion of soto served in a bowl made of bathok (the hard shell of a coconut). Still, why would they write it "saoto" instead of "soto"? I thought it might have been a typo.

Looking a bit closer to the history of soto, the name saoto is actually another term used to refer to this particular food in Solo; it's not a typo, really. The different names for this food are actually the result of the diverse dialects in our society-we used to utter terms according to our own accents. Established by Mbah Katro since the end of last year, the cuisine follows the trope of Solo-style soto, and as such it was referred to by its Solonese name.

Before stepping into the bamboo hut compound, YogYES stopped at the main bamboo hut to order beef soto, the one and only menu offered by Mbah Katro. However, there are many different side dishes you can choose from-fried tempeh, chicken intestine satay, or quail egg satay.

Arriving at the line of bamboo huts, you can choose whether to sit lesehan (seating arrangement without chairs) on a pandan mat or on bamboo benches. From where YogYES team sat, the top of Sambisari Temple was seen peeking (Sambisari Temple was built 6.54 m below ground surface, making only the top of it visible even from close distance). In the bamboo hut compound, you can find an artificial swamp and a simple bamboo swing and teeter. They're a complement that matches the view of rice field in the background. If you're lucky, you'd find cranes flying low around the fields. This uncommon view is what makes Saoto Bathok interesting.

As if scheduled, our orders were served after we're satisfied with the view. Thin steam puffed from the bathok bowls containing beef soto and rice. The sambal, makrut lime slices, and tempeh that we've ordered were served in small clay plates. The serving of Saoto Bathok is indeed traditional and unique. This matches greatly with the place and rural atmosphere.

When first trying the clear broth of Saoto Bathok, the first sensation that will come to your taste bud is fresh and non-fatty. It is Solonese soto's distinct characteristic; it emphasizes on the fresh taste produced by the combination of clear broth and bean sprout instead of the dominant taste of spices as what's commonly found in most soto. The soto will taste even better with makrut lime juice and fried tempeh. Or, you can add sambal and ketchup into it.

Done finishing a bowl of saoto, I casually asked a middle-aged man who was preparing soto. Who would have guessed that this man was Mbah Katro himself? He looked far too young to be referred to as a "mbah" (Javanese term to refer to a grandfather). Formerly a staff at a hotel, Mbah Katro decide to resign early and transformed his property into a soto restaurant. It turned out that the decision was a good one. It has proven to be capable of attracting many fans despite the fact that there have been many legendary soto culinary spots in Jogja.