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Soto and cendol

April 7, 2008

My cendol with coconut milk topping and shaved ice\"The Soto!\"
It was a very hot day and a quick check to the weather site said that the temperature was 32° C. During lunch break, I was longing for a local dish and my friend brought me to a Malay food court.

Without further ado, I ordered my all-time-quick-dish-when-I-am-really-hungry fav, the humble Soto and at just $3. Soto is a soup akin to Thai’s infamous Tom Yam Kong except that it is milder though could be hotter if you wish for it.

And what did I find out about the difference? No noodle! In Brunei, we could order a white (bee hoon) or vermicelli soto. That one in the picture has a bowl full of bean-sprouts which I initially thought was noodle.

Now, I don’t want to start with from which country did soto originate from. Most countries in the Asean region do have their own variation of cendol and soto. I am now beginning to think that another local dish, laksa, is actually the child of soto, yes? [Laksa is also a type of soup but added in with coconut milk to make it thick and yummier].

In Brunei, you could order chicken, beef or seafood soto. Then you must decide if you would like soto putih (been hoon), soto kuning (vermicelli) or soto kawin (mix bee hoon and vermicelli). I am yet to declare which place is serving the best soto in Brunei. My fav place in Bandar has run out of business, maybe it’s because they were offering very cheap (at $1.50) soto.

The basic ingredients for soto are the soup (which determine the taste of the soto); bean sprouts, celery, hard-boiled egg and sometimes potato. In Indonesia, turmeric would be added in the soup to produce that yellow appearance.

So, as I like my food to be a bit hot, I added in the chili there by the bowl in the picture, and to my horror, it was darn hot. Maybe the vendor put tones of lada padi! To cool my burning throat down, I ordered another fav of mine, the cendol.  

Cendol is a type of dessert made up of shaved ice, coconut juice, pandan jelly, red beans, sweetened with gula melaka or brown sugar… mmmm….slurp! slurp.

Ok back to business now…

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