There are two well-known anecdotes about the city of Semarang. One, you haven’t visited Semarang unless you’ve been to Kota Lama. Two, you have never been to Semarang unless you eat at Warung Kepala Ikan Manyung Bu Fat, one of the winners of Bango Penerus Warisan Kuliner 2018.
A fair amount of the restaurant’s legendary status comes from the fact that it has been around since 1969. Founded by Mr. Suyoso and his wife, Mrs. Fatimah, it is now in the capable hands of second-generation owners Bekti Mulyani and her sister, Sri Rejeki.
The most famous of the restaurant’s dishes is the smoked manyung (saltwater catfish) fish head. While the restaurant can cook up to a hundred kilograms of manyung a day, it is not the only menu offering. Other lip-smacking dishes include grilled fish, ayam bacem, tongseng (Javanese stew), and many more. According to Bekti, one of the secrets of her restaurant is the consistent use of Bango Sweet Soy Sauce.
As of now, there are two branches of Kepala Ikan Manyung Bu Fat, in Erlangga and Banyumanik, attracting customers from Semarang and nearby areas. According to Bekti, many customers also come from further afield, such as Bandung, Jakarta, and even as far as Aceh.
Bekti’s 4 tips for restaurant owners
In running a culinary business, there are several things an owner needs to keep an eye on. Read on for 4 useful tips given by Bekti.
1. Serving standard
One of reasons for the fantastic success of Warung Bu Fat is the standardisation of the manyung fish head size. All fish heads served are large, meaty and relatively the same in size.
2. Listen to the customer
Bekti always listens to her customers’ feedback for ideas on how to grow her business and keep diners happy. For instance, selecting larger sized fish heads was a suggestion from one of her diners.
3. Customers must eat
This does not mean that a customer is not allowed to leave unless they order something. Rather, this means that every customer’s order must be fulfilled. That’s why Warung Bu Fat has a generous variety to offer its diners, including a separate menu for adults and children.
4. Quality supplier
Manyung fish heads are not as readily available as chicken or beef. That’s why Bekti had to find reliable suppliers who could guarantee a steady supply of fish. The stock of manyung in her restaurant comes not only from Semarang, but also from Demak, Indramayu and Cirebon. Her principle is not to disappoint her customers just because she runs out of fish.
After winning PWK 2018 along with the funding from Bango, Bekti wishes to expand Warung Ikan Kepala Manyung Bu Fat by opening a branch outside of Semarang.