“The beef was tender, while the paru was still crunchy despite having already been splashed with the broth, which I must mention was very rich in flavour.”
If you’re hankering for a spot of Peranakan cuisine, then Gang Gloria is where you should be. Inside this bustling alley are various vendors selling glorious Peranakan dishes by the busload, including Mie Kangkung, Sekba, and many others. One peculiar stall stands out, though, specialising in Soto Betawi (beef/chicken soup in coconut milk), and it is well known for being the best in town.
When I first heard of the name Soto Betawi Afung, I thought that they had nicked the name from the renowned Bakso restaurant franchise. Unbeknownst to yours truly, it was actually derived from its founder’s name, which is Ho Tjiang Fung or Mrs. Afung to you and I. Established in 1982, Soto Betawi Afung first set up shop in Glodok, but after a number of relocations, it finally found a permanent home in Gang Gloria in 2005.
Its reputation for being the cream of the Soto Betawi crop is certainly no exaggeration, and I would be glad to explain why. I went to visit the eatery just after the Eid al-Fitr holidays had ended. They were understaffed at the time, but they still managed to consistently cook up bowl after bowl of its signature dish.
You have three choices of meat to go with your Soto Betawi: chicken, beef, and offal. You could also mix them up if you like. I went with beef and paru (lung), and it was a match made in heaven. The beef was tender, while the paru was still crunchy despite having already been splashed with the broth, which I must mention was very rich in flavour. I didn’t even feel the need to add any additional condiments for the soup. I was dying to find out what was behind its ravishing zest, until I saw Mrs. Afung dumping huge beef bones into the coconut milk soup. Mystery solved.
It’s a shame I couldn’t dig up more details about Soto Betawi Afung. The eatery was packed, and both of the owners – the aforementioned Mrs. Afung and her partner Mr. Asen – turned down my request for an interview due to the deluge of customers that they had to cater to. Nevertheless, I’d recommend both locals and visitors who would like a taste of authentic Soto Betawi to drop by Soto Betawi Afung and treat your palates to its delectable Soto Betawi. You won’t regret it.
By Jessicha Valentina
Jl. Gang Gloria No. 12,
T: 021 690 1496
Open daily from 6am-5pm
Rp.33,000/US$2.50 (for a combination of beef and paru)