“It was clear with a hint of yellow and packed with bihun (rice vermicelli), sliced boiled potatoes, and fried beef chunks with a hint of cardamom. It blindsided me, and proved to be a pleasant surprise.”
When one mentions “Padang”, it’s normal to have graphic mental images of the mouth-watering dishes from that region popping up in your mind. With countless Padang restaurants around, it’s so easy to get one’s hands on some Ayam Pop and Rendang. However, one dish that tends to get overlooked – including by yours truly – is Soto Padang (Padang beef soup), which I’ve finally tried for the first time quite recently.
One eatery that specialises in Soto Padang is Soto Padang H. ST Mangkuto, which is found on Jalan Pintu Air Raya in Pasar Baru. I must warn you that with its inadequate parking space, it’d be better if you head for its branches in Kelapa Gading and Radio Dalam. Established in 1966, its menu only offers Soto Padang and Nasi Goreng Rendang (Rendang fried rice) for your pleasure. Since I’ve never had a bowl of Soto Padang before, I decided to pop my Soto Padang cherry here.
Most Padang delicacies use extensive coconut milk in its cooking process, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to find its broth all thick and creamy in texture. But what I found dumbfounded me – it was clear with a hint of yellow and packed with bihun (rice vermicelli), sliced boiled potatoes, and fried beef chunks with a hint of cardamom. It blindsided me, and proved to be a pleasant surprise. The fried beef was thinly sliced and topped with herbs before being thrown into the frying pan, which made it rich and zesty.
As someone who has been a Soto Padang virgin all his life, Soto Padang H. ST Mangkuto has introduced me to my new favourite dish. No more shall I ignore Soto Padang when I see it on a menu at a restaurant.
Jl. Pintu Air Raya No.26
T: 021 385 7357
Open daily from 9am-9pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.20 per person