5 best eateries for soto in Jakarta

Different areas in Indonesia have their own signature soto dishes, and many of them can be found in Jakarta.
Different areas in Indonesia have their own signature soto dishes, and many of them can be found in Jakarta.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

(JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Often dubbed the land of sate (satay) and soto, Indonesia has many restaurants or street food vendors offering these two types of dishes. Soto, a traditional soup dish composed of broth, meat and vegetables, is often served with rice, making a quick and complete meal for any time of the day.

Different areas in Indonesia have their own signature soto dishes, and many of them can be found in Jakarta. Here is a list of five restaurants serving recommended soto dishes you can enjoy.

1. Henis Bakery & Restaurant

Located in the Mangga Besar area in West Jakarta, which is commonly known as a food hub, Henis has four dishes on their special menu, including soto mie, a traditional noodle soup. Two popular versions of soto mie hail from Jakarta and Bogor, but they similarly consist of chopped beef, spring roll, noodles and cabbage.

Aside from being hearty, this type of soto also has a fresh factor coming from tomatoes and a few squeezes of kaffir lime. To make it extra savory, many people like to add fried shallots and melinjo crackers.

2. Soto Madura Juanda

The building that houses this East Javanese restaurant on Jalan Ir. H. Juanda, Central Jakarta, is easily recognizable by the rooster statue standing on its roof. A traditional food cart is placed at its entrance, wafting the aroma of grilled satay.

Diners at this restaurant usually order a bowl of soto madura, containing primary cuts of beef, cow innards, or shredded chicken. An additional boiled egg is also favorable, and a group of diners may also order a portion of chicken satay to share.

Soto Madura Juanda. PHOTO: JAKARTA POST

While eating here, one can see photos of local prominent figures or celebrities visiting the restaurant. Those photos decorate most of the wall.

Other East Javanese dishes such as rujak cingur (vegetable salad with slices of cow’s snout), rawon (beef soup cooked with keluak) and tahu telor (egg fried tofu salad) are also available in the restaurant.

3. Soto Banjar Kenaungan

Representing Borneo island, soto banjar consists of shredded chicken, fried potato cake or boiled potato, boiled egg, vermicelli and rice dumplings. Its chicken broth is aromatic, mixed with milk and seasoned with various herbs and spices including shallots, garlic and pepper.

The restaurant also serves chicken satay with two choices of sauce. One is the commonly known peanut sauce, while the other is a red tomato sauce said to be the typical pairing for Banjar satay.

If you are into spicy food, the sambal is a recommended condiment to go with the soto. If you are interested in trying but would rather not brave the traffic and difficult parking, Gojek’s Go-Food service could be considered. Soto Banjar Kenaungan is located in the Tanjung Duren area in West Jakarta.

4. Soto Bangkong

Recognised as the soto of Semarang, Central Java, soto bangkong features small slices of free range chicken with clear broth, tomato slices, rice noodles and beansprouts seasoned with shallots and garlic. The interesting part of this soto is its wide array of side dishes, namely clam satay, marinated quail egg satay, chicken innards satay, tempeh, tofu and potato cakes. Diners can opt for whatever they like among the sides.

Some Jakarta branches of Soto Bangkong are located in the Pakubuwono and Kelapa Gading areas, but it is also popular for its catering service. People may find the traditional soto bangkong carry-on cart at house parties, giving an authentic feel for casual dining.

5. Soto Betawi Sambung Nikmat

This native Jakartan style soto restaurant can be found in the Pondok Pinang area, South Jakarta. It is open around lunchtime and is usually sold out soon after lunchtime is over. The main ingredients are sliced beef tenderloin, this soto is a favorite among many no matter how warm the weather.

The beef is slow-boiled with herbs and then flash-fried until a little dry and brownish. Each portion is generous with the beef, well-balanced with the amount of its milky soup. Cow innards is also an option aside from the tenderloin.

Similar to other styles of soto, this soto betawi is also dressed with tomatoes, fried shallots, celery, kaffir lime and melinjo crackers. Ending this indulgence with strong black tea is a good idea.