Soto has been a well-renowned Indonesian traditional dish of immense variety as each city has its own version of it. Even so, what brings them together is the power of the soup and its colorful toppings. Some uses coconut milk as the base, some use chicken chunks, some use beef, some use bean sprouts, some use radish and so on. Soto also incorporates its heartiness with quick serving as you don’t need to wait long in hawkers or even restaurants. Simply you can pour down the soup upon warm rice or just separate it. Have it your own way.
One of the most unique version of all these soto came from Bandung. Usually, we found the broth thickened with coconut milk or possess yellow color but this one came plain and translucent, but many people prefer to kick it with Indonesian sweet soy sauce in the end. Different from the soto we found almost anywhere, the one from Bandung uses diced or sliced beef. To make it even more distinctive, Indonesian radish and fried peanuts are also a must add. The rest is pretty much the same, you squeeze a bit of lemon to give it a sour taste which blends well with its savory taste. It’s light, refreshing, and enjoyable.
I visited Soto Bandung Ojolali during my culinary ‘excavation’ in Bandung and much to my amazement, this particular establishment has been existed since 1950s or even before. Another thing about soto Bandung is that even though it is one of Bandung’s notable dishes such as mie kocok, kupat tahu, or lotek, this particular dish is sometimes tricky to be found even in the native city. Truly, some hawkers may patrol your neighborhood but I have to admit that it’s easier to find bubur ayam or kue putu in most cases. Even permanent hawkers may not be that easy to found.
By the way, although came in Javanese name (ojo lali means don’t / never forget), well it serves a native Bandungnese / Sundanese cuisine which of course very delicious. My wife actually didn’t like the version back at home, even though it’s quite good, but for this one, she’s willing to make an exception. The soto Bandung from Ojolali may be a bit pricey but it’s totally worth it as the meat was plentiful and of good quality. The soup itself has a commendable original taste but you might want to do the lemon squeeze a bit or add it with sweet soy sauce and shower it with emping crackers. No sweat.
The place itself was okay although the streets outside may be very busy especially during daytime as Jalan Cibadak has been a commercial area since perhaps colonial era. So, you really need to plan well before coming this way or try other alternatives such as Ojolali’s other branches, which I haven’t been able to list for now, or even other place to dine. But anyway, I dare you to come and enjoy all the hustle bustle just get yourself into this small haven and taste its legendary soto Bandung. Come and see me there, mate?
Must eat: Soto Bandung
Price: IDR 22,000
Address: Jalan Cibadak no 79 – Bandung, Indonesia (other branches are also available, address TBA)
Opening hours: Everyday, hours TBA