Soto Ayam. The young and old loves a piping hot bowl of soft rice cakes in a wonderfully concocted chicken broth. Top it up with bergedil or fried potato patties and spicy sambal, Soto Ayam will surely re-set your body for a productive day at work!
Though everyone loves the Soto Ayam, little is known about it. It may surprise you that the Soto Ayam carries cultural references from both the Chinese and Indonesia cuisine. Some say that the Soto Ayam also have influences from the Indian cuisine.
In Indonesia, the Madurese migrant ethnic group who resides in the Indonesian city of Surabaya in East Java initially whip up a kind of soup using spices only. The dish became popular with the locals and so they decided to improve further on the recipe. Chicken as well as other meats were added to the broth to enhance the taste.
Others say that the Soto Ayam broth could also have originated from a Chinese soup, caudo, which was popular in Semarang among the Indonesians and Chinese immigrants. Noodles, evidently traced back to the Chinese cuisine, was added to their version of the recip . Bihun (rice vermicelli) or notably the Hokkein yellow noodles, was popularized in the archipelago as Chinese settlers who came from China’s Fujian and Teochew regions where clans made their home in the Indonesia archipelago since the colonial era. In some Soto, turmeric is used, indicating an influence of the Indian cuisine.
In Singapore and Malaysia, Mee Soto, Bihun Soto and Soto Ayam tend to have blanched taugeh or bean sprouts, sliced hard boiled egg and of course, bergedil. This is said to be quite similar to the East Javanese Soto Lamongan or Soto Madura.
In Indonesia, many other variations exist, having developed its own distinctive soto recipes.
Which variation(s) of Soto have you tried and where do you think is the best? Share with us!