Spicy, Savory Sensation That Leads To Addiction

Jalan Kolonel Sugiono 74, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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Soup is commonly served in clear savory broth, but Mrs. Asih's soup is different. The red soup broth obtained by mixing chili paste makes its customers addicted to its perfect blend of savory and spicy taste.

Updated on 17 September 2018

See 6 photos of Sop Merah Bu Asih

Open daily
5 pm - 9 pm

The simple food stall on the corner of Lampu Tungkak Traffic Light T-junction began to look crowded since it opened at around 5 pm. Several staffs in green uniforms were serving the customers with a high level of agility, moving around here and there delivering orders to a number of not-so-large tables. There were not even a single nameplate mounted anywhere in the restaurant. The customers used to call the restaurant "Warung Sop Merah Bu Asih" or "Warung Sop Merah Tungkak" according to the name of the owner and the location of the restaurant.

Not intending to waste our time, YogYES team immediately joined the customers queuing-most of them were university students. An employee promptly wrote down the customer's orders from behind the counter. In front of the counter was a line of basins containing slices of chicken meat, ready to be added into the bowls. When it was our turn, the middle-aged staff gave us queue number along with a plastic plate. The plate was used to pick various pieces of chicken meat to be added according to our taste.

While choosing pieces of chicken meat to be added to the soup, YogYES asked about the history of the food stall that has been operating since 1993. While tearing off the chicken meat for another customer's order, Mrs. Asih told us the history of her self-owned food stall, "In the past, we also sold other dishes other than soup. There were fried rice, fried noodles, and boiled noodles. But the soup was the best-selling one."

After ordering, we headed straight to unoccupied seats inside the food stall. It turned out that we came at the right time, when the food stall wasn't very crowded yet, since the restaurant would usually reach its busiest hour at 6 pm. When the number of customers overloads, even the 10 staffs helping Mrs. Asih would be overwhelmed. It's unsurprising that the motto "Please queue patiently" is addressed to the restaurant's customers. The high number of customers and buyers is also the reason Mrs. Asih wouldn't want to take orders made by phone.

"We never had a telephone here. It's so crowded here; we don't have time to answer phone calls. We feel bad for those coming in person if we take orders by telephone," said Mrs. Asih explaining to YogYES about orders by phone.

Soon after, our soup arrived along with a plate of rice and hot tea. The distinct aroma of soup broth was smelt along with the thin vapor steaming from the soup bowls served on our table, inviting us to promptly taste them. The chicken meat sheets and chicken legs that we've ordered earlier were filling up our bowls, along with boiled eggs, slices of cabbage, carrot, celery, and scallion in red soup broth. As the name implies, Mrs. Asih's soup has a distinct feature in that the broth is red in color, obtained by mixing chili paste into the soup. That's why the soup tastes not only savory, like common soups, but also spicy. Aside from soup in red-colored broth, Mrs. Asih also offers clear-broth soup without chili paste for those who prefer non-spicy soup.

In addition to the red broth, the soup's fillings that can be chosen according to your liking also create a distinguished impression to the customers, making them happily come over again and again though they would have to wait in a long queue. Agil, a UGM graduate, admitted to us that he's addicted to the soup and has countlessly returned to the restaurant to enjoy the Red Soup. "It's delicious, hot and refreshing, and also spicy. There're so many filling you can choose according to your liking," he said.

The light rain falling outside the restaurant added to the delightful sensation as we took spoonful by spoonful of warm soup. It's undeniable that soup is best enjoyed warm in cold weather as one during rainy season. This culinary is believed to be one of the meals that can prevent the side effects of flu, such as nasal congestion and sore throat, because of its anti-inflammation feature. On top of that, the combination of vegetables and broth in the soup can also improve rehydration and nutrition in the body. Awesome, right?

How to get there:
from Km 0 - Jalan Panembahan Senopati - turn right at Gondomanan intersection to Jalan Brigadir Jenderal Katamso - turn left at Pojok Benteng Timur intersection to Jalan Kolonel Sugiono - Sop Merah Tungkak is on the south side of Tungkak traffic light T-junction.