Last Updated: May 29, 2019
Nestled in the quiet estate of Upper Boon Kheng Market & Food Centre sits Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak. This is no ordinary stall, as Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak serves quite possibly the best kambing soup (mutton soup) I’ve ever had.
For those who are unfamiliar with kambing soup, this is a rich broth that uses various parts of the lamb and is brewed for hours till they are oh-so-tender. The broth is then usually seasoned with coriander, fennel, cumin, star anise and cinnamon which gives it its trademark greenish-yellowish hue.
When you arrive at the stall, you will be greeted by a giant vat of kambing soup bubbling away. As I stood in line, I could get a whiff of all those spices and herbs mingling with the strong flavours of mutton.
From the little chat with the gentlemen manning the stall, I learnt that this is a family business. There was the unmistakable rapport from the very start, beginning with the friendly guy busy fishing for tenderest ribs to the kindly Uncle handing me the soup.
Their namesake was the man that brought this kambing soup to Singapore from India, selling mutton soup from a pushcart in 1955 to their present location in Upper Boon Kheng Market & Food Centre. Here at Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak, they make sure the animal doesn’t go to waste. You can find soup with tender chunks of the meat, ribs, organs and even brain.
To start myself off, I ordered one of their best sellers, Sup Isi Meat Soup (S$6/Small, S$8/Medium, S$10/Large). Each order also comes with a generous portion of fluffy white bread to soak up the hearty and delicious broth.
The soup was rich and hearty; there was a strong mutton taste, sans the gaminess. I caught a whiff of fresh herby notes from the coriander that was in the soup and sprinkled on top, as well as the warm and spicy notes from the cumin. Not to mention, the soup was so thick it was almost like a stew.
The best part of eating kambing soup has to be dipping the bread into the flavoursome broth. There is no better feeling sinking your teeth into a chunky piece of kambing soup-soaked bread.
Mutton gets a bad rep for having a strong smell but here, the meat was soft and fell apart easily. There wasn’t any unpleasant smell normally associated with mutton. If this is your first time having kambing soup, this is a great bowl to start you off — nothing too intimidating or overwhelming for greenhorns.
But if you want to get the most of your kambing soup, I would recommend the Sup Campur Mixed Soup (S$8/Small, S$10/Medium, S$12/Large). This bowl comes with every cut of mutton that Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak prepares. I’m talking the ribs, tendon, tongue, various innards, shank and yes, brain.
I’m usually good with most innards or organs since I do have kway chap every now and then. I went for the tripe first, which is the stomach walls. It was cleaned well and had a chewy, bouncy texture to it. This was quite pleasant if I do say so myself.
As the intrepid foodie I proclaim to be, I can’t leave without giving the brain a try. You have to excuse the rather tiny piece, I was nervous about the texture about how the brain would taste, so of course, baby steps.
To gear myself up for the brain, I sat there rapidly googling how brain would taste and what the texture was like. Apparently, people like it with their scrambled eggs too. What I gathered from the interwebs was that brain is soft, rich and curd-like.
When I eventually psyched myself for it, I popped it into my mouth. I would say it has the richness of the yolk of the century egg and the texture of semi-firm tofu. I would say I rather enjoyed brain; I get why the stall owners were so adamant on letting me try it. The brain is a true delicacy when prepared properly.
I was rather impressed with how skilful Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak handles their meat and parts. Everything was cleaned and prepared with finesse. As much as I love it, I do think this dish is still very much an acquired taste. However, I do urge you to try it if you’re up for it.
Expected damage: S$6 – S$12 per pax
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Soup Kambing Haji M. Abdul Razak
17 Upper Boon Keng Road, Singapore 380017
17 Upper Boon Keng Road, Singapore 380017