Cheap & Good

Soto, so good

Aishah Lee's mee soto has many layers of flavours and a perfect balance of spices.
Aishah Lee's mee soto has many layers of flavours and a perfect balance of spices.ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

I had one of those nights last week. You know, the kind where you dream about eating a particular dish that arouses your senses so much that you can almost taste the flavours in your mouth.

Then, you wake up with a craving.

In this case, the dish in question was a homemade Indonesian soto ayam thickened with bread crumbs, made by a friend of my parents.

I could try, but I think it would take too long to cook soto ayam from scratch. So, on a soto hunt I go, for a cheap and convenient equivalent.

Perhaps it is because I was craving soto ayam, but the mee soto ($3 for yellow noodles in chicken soup) I order from Aishah Lee Muslim Food at Block 353 Clementi Avenue 2's Market & Food Centre is better than I remember when I first had it earlier this year.


    Where: Block 353 Clementi Avenue 2, Market & Food Centre, 01-60

    Open: 9am to about 4pm daily

    Rating: 3.5/5

In fact, I think this version is even better than the delicate Indonesian-style soto in my very elaborate dream.

The hot soup has many layers of flavours and a perfect balance of spices - not one outshines the others. It is strong, rich and robust, unlike the many versions out there that are weak and lack depth of flavour.

The dollop of piquant chilli also makes the broth a joy to slurp up. The chilli complements the flavourful broth very well.

I also like that the noodles here are blanched before boiling soup is added to it, which ensures it is as hot as it can be.

The lontong ($3) here is delicious too. Each serving is a generous portion of savoury stewed vegetables in coconut gravy with rice cakes, topped with dry-fried shredded coconut and sambal.

The stall also sells mee siam, nasi lemak, nasi padang, kueh such as kueh dadar (fried coconut in pandan pancakes), and lupis and pulut udang (glutinous rice rolls filled with dried shrimp).

I would eat Aishah Lee's mee soto again in a heartbeat.

No need for another dream to whet the appetite.

•Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'Soto, so good'. Print Edition | Subscribe