Coto, soup with attitude

Service is everything in a business. Have you been in a restaurant where the food is good, but the waitress looks like she has just swallowed acid every time she comes to your table? How many times have you fallen ‘victim’ of poor service attitude? When business fails to take place because of a shop attendant’s stupid behavior, the business itself IS the real victim. Not all people in hospitality business are aware of the importance of positive service attitude, even in Bali where people smile easily and almost automatically when meeting other people. Needless to repeat it over and over that service is everything. Or… Is it?

I will get back to the theme of service attitude next time. Now, I’m going to say that in some culinary cases, ‘service’ does not lie in a waiter’s or restaurant owner’s attitude. The ‘service’ is in the food itself. This warung (small, simple-looking restaurant, with relatively cheap items) on By Pass Ngurah Rai, Jimbaran, Bali, does exactly that. When you enter the family-run Warung ‘Parakatte’, don’t expect warm greetings and big smiles from the waitresses/owners. But don’t let that discourage you. Just seat yourself and tell them what you’d like to order. These people are from Makassar, South Sulawesi, and they don’t have the ‘big smile culture’ as the Balinese. It doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate your business. They do. It’s in the dishes they present to you. In my case, it is their signature soup Coto that keeps me coming back every now and then.
Coto is not for you with cholesterol problems. It is not for you either, Picky Eaters! Coto is soup that uses beef and cow’s innards – intestine, liver, lungs, tripe – as fillings (if you’re a health freak or these stuffs scare you, forget it!) The beef and innards are slowly cooked with some other ingredients and spices to make mouth-watering thick soup to die for. This soup is the main course, so you eat it with white rice or rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves they call Buras or Burasa. Oh, and don’t forget to add a few drops of lime juice, sweet soy sauce, and hot chili paste into the Coto. Believe me, it’s heaven on earth!
A bowl of Coto with a plate of rice is priced IDR19,000 (roughly USD 2.00), quite pricey for a regular lunch for most Indonesians like myself. It’s a once-in-a-week kind of treat, but considering the cholesterol contained in it, that should be fair. A note on the location: far away from centers of business such as the strips of Kuta or Legian, Parakatte is quite easily overlooked. The sullen looking attendants/owners could be easily misunderstood amidst the growing service awareness. But I’m not a fool in the Coto’s case. If a food is capable in making me burp shamelessly and happily at the end of a course, it does all the justice. 

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