Woodfire sparks, loud chatters, clouds of smoke and the alluring aroma of spices fill the scene at Sate Kambing & Tengkleng Rica-Rica Pak Manto on Veteran Raya in Bintaro. Like Sate Kambing Pak H. Bejo, the eatery is yet another familiar name brought over from the culinary scene of Solo, having pioneered its namesake fusion dish, tengkleng rica-rica, where the traditional goat bones stew meets a Manadonese mix of spicy seasoning.
It all started with a happy accident; an unorthodox experiment on blending traditional recipes that used up to 20 types of local spices in the process, including ginger, lemongrass and turmeric. The resulting dish has since attracted streams of culinary pilgrims to Solo, and with Pak Manto’s passing in 2019, the exact blueprint of the tengkleng rica-rica is now closely guarded by his partner in marriage as well as business, Ibu Tuti. So in keeping the authenticity of the flavours at its satellite locations, spices are mixed, packed and sent straight from the establishment’s central kitchen in Solo.
When ordering Pak Manto’s tengkleng rica-rica, be sure to adjust the level of spiciness for maximum enjoyment, as its original form can be bitingly hot. Cooked over wood-fired stoves in the eatery’s open kitchen, the dish has a darker-hued and richer stew than the typical yellow-brown tengkleng, boasting a stack of goat bones covered in chunks of meat and accompanied by slices of cabbage and tomato.
But that’s not all they have at the eatery. Pak Manto’s sate buntel (diced goat meat wrapped in fat) and sate kambing (goat meat skewers) also come highly recommended; coated in sweet soy sauce and spices, they bring a strong burst of flavours, while the meat is soft and succulent, sourced from selected goats aged less than a year. Whichever the pick, portions are designed to be shared, and several choices of jamu (traditional drinks made of local herbs) like wedang uwuh are on the menu to refresh the appetite.
As one historian said in an obituary for the late Pak Manto, eating at his establishment is like joining an adrowino, a dinner party hosted by a generous king. It’s no wonder then that the once humble warung in Solo has now become a sprawling attraction, one that has pulled in regulars and new faces to pine and return for a bite (or a feast) of Pak Manto’s memorable dishes.