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Soto Betawi is an Indonesian soup dish that originates right in Jakarta. Soto is a term that can refer to many varieties of different soups originating from across the Indonesian archipelago. The Betawis are the group of people who are originally from the area where modern day Jakarta is located. So the English name for Soto Betawi would be Jakarta soup, or Jakarta beef soup. There are many restaurants in Jakarta that serves soto Betawi, but I chose to go to Soto Betawi Haji Husein (it’s also sometimes spelled H. Husen).
I arrived at the restaurant, and it was already packed with customers. They were doing all the food assembling and some of the cooking at the front of the restaurant, and they had some bar counter seating, but it was so full and busy, that I decided to just grab a communal table seat in the middle of the restaurant. Ying and I both ordered soto Betawi, and they first brought us some black tea. Next they brought us each a plate of rice topped with crispy shallots, and in a few minutes they delivered us our bowls of soto. The soto was milky looking and yellow in color. On my first bite, I thought it tasted similar to Thai tom kha gai – a coconut milk soup.
The soto Betawi was milky, but not too rich – I think it was a combination of perhaps coconut milk or mostly regular fresh milk to give it a creaminess, but it wasn’t too rich to the point where it was hard to drink the soup. Additionally, there were lots of aromatic herbs and spices within the soup, I could taste the kaffir lime leaves and the galangal. The main bulk of the soup was beef, and there were bite sized pieces of beef in the bottom of the bowl. The meat tasted like it had been slightly dehydrated, like half to beef jerky, so it had a little bit of a smoky flavor. But at the same time the beef in the soto was very tender.
Soto Betawi is an amazing dish and one of the Indonesian foods you have to eat when you’re in Jakarta, because that’s where it originates. There are many places where you can try soto Betawi, and Soto Betawi Haji Husein is one of the most legendary spots in Jakarta.
Soto Betawi Haji Husein (H. Husen)
Address: Jalan Padang Panjang No. 6C, Kel. Pasar Manggis, Kec. Setiabudi, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
7 am – 2 pm from Saturday – Thursday (closed on Friday)
Total price – 110,000 IDR ($8.34) for 4 bowls of soto and rice
Soto Betawi review on my blog: https://migrationology.com/soto-betawi-haji-husein/
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►You might also be interested in my Jakarta Travel Guide for Food Lovers: https://migrationology.com/travel-guides/jakarta-indonesia/