Steam billows from her ladle as she poured hot broth over boiled innards; the smell of spices- forty of them to be exact- wafted in the air. The broth- or soup- in question was coto makassar, a specialty of my hometown, the city of Makassar. Usually consumed in the morning, coto makassar became a habit for many locals, and sensation for tourists. Two cups of coto, and four ketupat- rice cooked in packages of coconut leaves- would be my usual helping of coto. Like most traditional soups in Indonesia, coto makassar would be filled not only with meat, but also organs, such as heart, liver, and intestines- though all of these are optional.
With the numerous coto restaurants all over Makassar, some of them managed to gain a massive fanbase, such as this one, in Jalan Ranggong (Ranggong St.), or Coto Nusantara in Jalan Nusantara (Nusantara st.), or even Coto Gagak in Jalan Gagak (Gagak St.), which attracted even the higher ups in Jakarta. Despite many of the restaurant being in a small shop, or merely under a tent next to an open road, these restaurants are regarded highly- higher even than most hotels in Makassar. It is true what avid travelers say: the best of food can be found in the streets rather than in buildings.