The Legendary Botok Setan

The sweetness was immediately replaced by the spicy kick that took over after the first bite. Yes, Botok Setan’s faint spiciness on its first mouthful is known to have a shocking effect, as well as making us addicted to it. A sweet taste that ends in such spiciness. Herein, lies the pleasure of enjoying a serving of this legendary Botok Setan in Pekalongan.

The sound of burning wood accompanied Adji as he stirred his botok mixture. In this kitchen, every day, 200 servings of Botok Setan are produced.

“Mbah Isah is my grandmother…” said Adji, pointing to the figure of an elderly woman sitting across the kitchen. Mbah Isah, who is now more than 100 years old, can no longer hear clearly but is still able to smile sweetly. Botok Setan in Comal village is indeed a family legacy that started by Mbah Isah. Now, this business is run by Adji, the grandson of Mbah Isah, and his mother, Ibu Masria.

“Botok means vegetable,” said Adji, the grandson of Mbah Isah, a botok setan seller in Pekalongan. Botok contains tofu, grated coconut, and bongkrek (fermentation of coconut press cake). The name ‘setan’ or ‘satan’ behind this botok refers to its level of spiciness. Imagine, Mbah Isah’s botok setan requires 10 kilograms of green chilis every day!

Botok Setan Mbah Isah already has its fan base. Early in the morning, when the fresh botok pots and pans are arranged next to Mbah Isah’s humble abode, the foodies had come in crowds. Yes, sometimes, 200 servings of botok setan can be sold out even before noon.

When we asked if they received special orders, Adji laughed and jokingly answered, “Just enjoy life. Only 200 servings per day are enough. Maybe we are not ready to be rich…” This also what makes Botok Setan Mbah Isah can’t be found anywhere else, simply because they do not open branches.

A plate of Botok Setan Mbah Isah can be savored for Rp. 7,000,- only, and most suitable to be accompanied by sand-fried crackers. Savory and spicy, watch out, you may get addicted!