The Indonesians have their own version with a lighter broth of mutton ribs, bones and vegetables such as tomatoes, leeks, celery and carrots. But the version popular in Malaysia and Singapore comes in a rich, stew-like consistency soup filled with chunks of goat. The soup too sports a layer of yellow-green oil – a colour that comes from coriander, we're told – that it wears proudly as a badge of honour.
Here are five stalls specialising in the hearty, stew-like dish that will help you stay warm during the upcoming monsoon season.
Blk 503 West Coast Drive, Stall 58, Ayer Rajah Food Centre
Opening hours: 8.30am to 1am
Rumour has it that when they shut down the old Shenton Way carpark (during the days of pushcarts and kerosene lamps), many Indian hawkers found their way to Ayer Rajah Food Centre, resulting the centre's high concentration of Indian stalls. And A Rashid Khan is one of them. Order the mutton soup with the brains for it is one of their specialties.
2. Subhaini Family Stall
Blk 353 Clementi Ave 2, #01-107
Opening hours: 11am to midnight
It's run by a second-generation hawker who learnt the recipe from her father back in India. The result is a flavourful broth that is both rich and light at the same time; just enough fat to give the soup ample flavour without coming across unctuous.
17 Upper Boon Keng Road, Boon Keng Market and Food Centre, #01-03
Opening hours: 11am to 11pm
Pay them a visit and you'll see proudly emblazoned on their sign "Best and Famous Mutton Soup in Singapore (Since 1955)". It's a bold claim to make but a bowl of soup in, you'll understand their courage. And if you're feeling adventurous, there's their organ soup kambing ($8) that comes chock full with goat innards.
4. Bahrakath Mutton Soup King
2 Adam Road
Opening hours: 1pm to 3am
The one's for the real night owls and we're not talking 11pm. If you're a craving a bowl of steaming hot mutton soup at 2am in the morning, Bahrakath Mutton Soup King has you covered. They've also got the soup with creamy brains, tulang (bone marrow), an assortment of innards and tongue. We believe the word you are looking for is sedap (read: delicious).
5. Md Ghani Mutton Soup Specialist
17 Upper Boon Keng Road, Boon Keng Market and Food Centre, #01-05
Opening hours: 11am to 11pm
Two stalls down from Haji M Abdul Razack at Boon Keng Market and Food Centre, is Md Ghani's mutton soup. They don't claim to be the best or most famous, but they do call themselves a mutton soup specialist. The portions are generous and the prices, affordable (bowls go for $5 to $7 per portion). The tendons have been cooked down to a delicious jelly-like texture and the amount of spice in the soup just right. But we'll let you determine the winner on your own.