Each patron gets to choose what they want in their bowl before it gets drowned in soup. (JG Photo/Joy Muchtar)
This Is How Indonesians Stew It: Sop Kambing
BY :JOY MUCHTAR
AUGUST 24, 2018
Jakarta. Muslims around the world, including those in Indonesia – the country with the largest Muslim population in the world – celebrated Idul Adha, also known as the "Feast of the Sacrifice" on Wednesday (22/08). As part of the tradition in Indonesia, families slaughter animals – usually a goat or a cow – and give the meat to the poor.
"Sop Kambing" (goat stew) is a popular dish in Jakarta, and many would cook their sacrificial meat into this dish. There are many variations of sop kambing, but the following two, the milky and the clear, are the most common.
Sop Kambing Dudung Roxy
Ask any sop kambing-lover, and the name "Dudung Roxy" would be the first thing on their mind.
The large stall in Roxy, West Jakarta, first opened in 1975 and is now run by Dedy, the oldest of six children from the late Abdullah and his wife Hartati, who created the shop's secret recipe that has been a constant favorite of Jakarta foodies in the last four decades.
"We're very selective when it comes to selecting our ingredients," Dedy revealed one of his secrets. He insisted that the quality of the ingredients is as important as the tasty flavors imparted by the spices.
The humble makeshift tent stall is still in its original roadside location in Roxy. Patrons come here solely for the food, not for the atmosphere.
Metal trays containing various parts of the goat – bones, meat, skin, even testicles and eyes – greet you as you enter. Long-time customers strut in, fingers pointing frantically to choose what they want, with one woman requesting that her bowl be "flooded" with the soup.
Widodo, an elderly Chinese man, tells us that he loves eating here because of two reasons. First, the lighting is bright and the service friendly. Second, the goat feet they serve is completely clean.
"It's gross if you think about it, but here the legs don't even have a single hair on them," Widodo said.
Though the broth looks thick and milky, Dedy swears by his parents' recipe that they don't use even a drop of coconut milk.
If you've always wondered what the difference is between Sop Kambing and Soto Betawi (the word "sop" and "soto" in Indonesian both mean "soup"), two very popular dishes in Jakarta that are often sold in the same shop, Dedy said that "Soto Betawi" can refer to the style of the creamy milky soup.
The original Soto Betawi is made with beef but at Dudung Roxy, you get goat and all its trimmings. You can have bits of soft meat, chewy tendons and creamy offals floating in whitish milky soup, topped with chopped green onions, fried onions, tomatoes and emping (bitterish crackers made from crushed melinjo seeds).
The hearty soup is best enjoyed with a bowl of steaming hot rice, and an iced tea to cool you down.
Address: Loksem Biak No. 15-17, Jalan Biak, Roxy, West Jakarta.
Opening hours: 6 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Sop Kambing Kiu Sen
Owner Kiu Sen and his wife Ai Ling have recently upgraded their shop into a real storefront with high ceilings, but they first started selling their sop kambing on the roadside as well.
"We first started on Oct. 3, 1993," 50-year-old Ai Ling said.
Ai Ling and her husband had almost given up running their own business after a series of failures but they decided to give Sop Kambing a try one last time. Their recipe was a hit, and the rest is history.
The price might be a bit too steep for the supposedly humble sop kambing, starting from Rp 73,000 per bowl, but it makes up for it with its clean but flavor-laden taste.
The goat meat in the clear broth has little to no fat, and you get a lot of it. If you order the mixed option, you get goat ribs (meat), goat feet (tendon) and bone marrow all mixed together with soft potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, leeks and celery.
The soup, though clear, has hues of brown, green and yellow. It has the consistency of a watery goat curry. The smell and taste of the goat meat is strong on this one, overpowering the mildly seasoned vegetables.
A straw is also provided if you would like to suck out the bone marrow bits.
Address: Jalan Gajah Mada Raya No. 37, Gajah Mada, West Jakarta.
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.