Semarang: Soto Ayam Selan


“With a few sprinkle of salt, though – along with a dollop of sambal and a few squeezes of kaffir lime – it transformed into a powerhouse of a dish packing a flavourful punch.

During a recent visit to Semarang, I took the opportunity to become a tourist and explored one of the city’s most renowned landmarks: Lawang Sewu. Once the headquarters of the Dutch-Indies Railway Company during the colonial era, it was a glorious sight to behold and an experience that is once unique and educational. However, my mind and taste buds were wandering elsewhere whilst there as I was still transfixed by Soto Ayam Selan – a local popular Soto Ayam (chicken soup) joint that I stopped by for my brunch before that.

Located on Jalan Depok, Soto Ayam Selan was founded in 1955 and is housed in a shoplot with a capacity of about 30 pax. Obviously, I ordered a bowl of its much-loved signature dish whilst there. The kitchen staff looked like they had their hands full, what with the eatery packed to the brim, so it was a surprise that they managed to get my food ready in a jiffy. As with any other Soto Ayam, it is served with Ati Ampela (chicken liver and gizzard),Perkedel (fried potato patty), and tempe. The most significant differences are the inclusion of Tahu Isi (fried tofu stuffed with vegetables) and some chicken wings.

The Soto Ayam itself comprises rice, slices of fried chicken, bean sprouts, shredded celery, and fried garlic, all either floating or immersed in a zesty chicken broth. At first, the concoction tasted a bit bland, with just tiny hint of sweetness tickling my palate. With a few sprinkle of salt, though – along with a dollop of sambal and a few squeezes of kaffir lime – it transformed into a powerhouse of a dish packing a flavourful punch. I still can’t take my mind off it even though I’m already back in Jakarta as I’m writing this.

Jl. Depok No. 360
Semarang, Central Java
Telp: 024 352 0842
Open daily from 6.30am-2.30pm
Rp.25,000/US$1.80 per person


A die-hard fan of authentic Indonesian delights who loves the idea of travelling to the cradle of those enticing local treats. Yet, you might often find this young lad busy with his guitar – be it alone in his room or, sometimes, on stage.

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