Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Chicken Sotanghon Soup at Jollibee - Irvine

I once had an office mate who'd make a face when he saw me eating cold pizza for breakfast. For him, the first meal of the day couldn't be more complicated than cereal. Anything possessing flavor or was the least bit savory was disagreeable to him. "It's too early!" he'd say.

I thought about him as I slurped this sotanghon chicken soup for breakfast at Jollibee. I'm not sure how often it is eaten for breakfast in the Philippines, which is the country from which Jollibee hails; but I know that soto, one of my favorite Indonesian breakfast dishes, is a soup of similar constitution.

In fact, the components of Jollibee's dish is almost identical to soto. You've got bits of boiled chicken, translucent bean thread noodle, and a hot, mildly-spiced broth that ties it all together. You're even supposed to squeeze a lemon into it, which is also what you do to soto. The only thing missing is the rice.

More than anything, eating this soup brought me back to the last time I was in Semarang, Indonesia. We'd get up at the crack of dawn while the early morning air around us was still cold and dewy. We'd walk to our family's favorite soto stand, a roadside shack covered in tarp.

Inside this ramshackle structure, the soto man would construct his bowls, scooping rice from a pot, ladling the soup from a bubbling cauldron, topping it with all matter of herbs. He'd hand it to us while it was still steaming hot.

We'd slurp and slurp as the warmth and sustenance from the bowl woke us up and sustained our bodies for the day ahead. Cereal ain't got nothing on this.

2180 Barranca Pkwy #120
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 660-1586

Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen - Irvine


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