Warong H.J. Sukarjo: $3.50 soto ayam so elusive that it’s only available 3 days a week

Good and cheap hawker food is so rare these days that stumbling upon one feels like you’ve just struck 4D. That was how I felt when I came across Warong H.J. Sukarjo, a hidden Muslim hawker stall that sells soto ayam.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - storefront

Located within The Marketplace @ 58, which is the name for the hawker centre located at Block 58 Upper Changi Road, Warong H.J. Sukarjo is only open for three days a week and usually for only three to four hours at a time.

The stall only offers four dishes: Mee Rebus, Mee Soto, Soto Ayam and Gado Gado, all of which are priced affordably at S$3.50. It’s no wonder then that folks of all ages and races queue up for a taste of their elusive offerings!

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - storefront

When I arrived at 10am, I was stunned to see a queue so long that it extended past the opposite hawker stall. I looked around and noticed that this stall easily garnered one of the longest queues in the entire hawker centre.

There were about 10 people in front of me, and I proceeded to wait for my turn. The queue moved infuriatingly slow and it took around 25 minutes or so before it was finally my turn to order.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - storefront

Warong H.J. Sukarjo is run by two makciks, who are in fact sisters! According to several online reviews, the stall has been running for 43 years.

Both sisters were friendly when taking my order. My food was prepared fresh on the spot, so it’s no wonder that the queue moved painstakingly slow. 

What I tried at Warong H.J. Sukarjo

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - soto ayam

I started off with the Soto Ayam, which came with large pieces of ketupat, shredded chicken, beansprouts, fried shallots, and spring onions.

I also appreciated that the bowl had been served on top of a small plate, making it much easier to hold without worrying about the broth spilling out.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - soto ayam broth

I assumed it’d taste like chicken broth, like those served in mee soto, but I was so wrong. 

This was the richest and earthiest bowl of Soto Ayam that I’ve ever had. The complex broth was full-bodied and savoury, which mellowed out to a smoky sweetness with a hint of freshness from the herbs. I could taste hints of kaffir lime, lemongrass and ginger, which complemented its earthy notes. As for its texture, it was thicker and grittier than expected, but still very drinkable. 

My taste buds went on such a delightful journey with each sip— from full-bodied savouriness to mellow smoky sweetness, and then finished off with a bright herb-like freshness— to the point that I must’ve just sat there sipping on the broth for a good two to three minutes or so before touching the rest of the ingredients.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - chicken

While the shredded chicken wasn’t the most tender (after all, it is just shredded chicken), it did a good job at soaking up all that fabulous savoury goodness from the broth. 

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - ketupat

The large square blocks of ketupat acted as a nice textural contrast to the rest of the savoury notes in this bowl of Soto Ayam

What I loved about the ketupat was how it came in such big pieces, allowing for the outer layer of rice to soak up the broth. Yet, biting into it revealed untouched layers of rice, which was fragrant and mildly sweet. Though the ketupat became slightly mushy after some time, I still enjoyed pairing it with the delicious gravy for an all-rounded bite.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - chilli

If you’re up for a challenge, ask Warong H.J. Sukarjo for a saucer of chilli to accompany your Soto Ayam, but be warned— it’s really spicy.

The minute the chilli hit my tongue, the bright and sour spice hit me in an instant. There was a strong taste of lime and herbs, which accentuated the chilli’s spice and made it all the more fiery. I’m not kidding when I say that I was in actual pain. My tongue remained on fire for a good amount of time, so add with caution!

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - mee rebus

I moved on to Warong H.J. Sukarjo’s Mee Rebus, which came with the regular suspects: yellow noodles, beansprouts, a hard boiled egg, chopped green chillies and a lime. It was topped off with cubes of tofu, fried shallots and spring onions.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - mee rebus noodles

This was your classic bowl of mee rebus. The sauce was perfectly done— it was nutty and creamy, and had just the right amounts of sweet and salty notes. Texture wise, it was sufficiently thick and coated the yellow noodles in a shiny and glossy manner.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - mee rebus tofu

I loved how generous Warong H.J. Sukarjo was with the rest of the ingredients, such that each bite was littered with bright, herb-like notes from biting into the occasional green chilli, tofu, spring onion or fried shallots. It added a well-needed freshness to each heavy bite.

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - mee rebus sweet sauce

Upon Warong H.J. Sukarjo’s advice, I took a saucer of sweet sauce with me. While it resembled dark soy sauce in terms of texture, its taste blew me away. It was savoury and filled with umami notes, and reminded me of fish sauce and kecap manis, so be sure to add this into your mee rebus for an added salty kick!

Final thoughts

Warong H.J. Sukarjo - soto ayam and mee rebus

For just S$3.50 per bowl, this was such a real steal. I enjoyed every single bit of my meal at Warong H.J. Sukarjo. In particular, the Soto Ayam impressed me with its robust, umami-filled broth, and I can see why people would queue for close to half an hour for it.

If you’re in the Bedok area on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning, I’d say that this stall is most definitely worth a visit. Be ready to brave the queue though, and come early to avoid being disappointed by potentially sold-out ingredients!

Expected damage: S$3.50 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Warong H.J. Sukarjo

58 New Upper Changi Road, #01-183, Singapore 461058

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Warong H.J. Sukarjo

58 New Upper Changi Road, #01-183, Singapore 461058

Operating Hours: 9.15am - 2.30pm (Fri to Sun), Closed on Mon to Thu

Operating Hours: 9.15am - 2.30pm (Fri to Sun), Closed on Mon to Thu

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