Thursday, September 11, 2008

Istimewa Nasi Padang

Istimewa Nasi Padang
I finally got the chance to try the famed Istimewa Nasi Padang, at obscure-sounding Hoy Fatt Road (but really just a stone's throw from the ABC market at Bukit Merah). Thanks to D for recommending this.

My friends had just started their own PR agency, and I was thrilled to find that their new office was so near this place. Lunch here, of course, was a must.

There are over 20 dishes for you to choose from. Here's what we had:

Beef rendang
Beef rendang, soft and succulent, draped in spicy glory. A staple for nasi padang, in my books! This was quite good. Rich but so worth it.

Fried kangkong belachan
Some greens. Kangkong stirfried in sambal belachan. They got the texture and flavours right.

The famed crispy fried chicken
Many people like their crispy deep-fried chicken. I think ours may have been a little cold already, so it did not give me the superwow factor I was hoping for. But still delicious nonetheless. You can choose from small pieces (like the wings) or large (drumstick/thigh).

Chicken liver
Chicken liver - fear factor food for me! The only liver I will eat is foie gras or pate, no "ter kua" (pig's liver) for me either. My friends ate this. Seemed all right.

Sambal goreng
Sambal goreng - a spicy stir-fry of tempe (fried fermented soybeans), peanuts, onions and chillies. This one had an unusual addition of tomato in it, so it had an extra sweet dimension.

Sambal brinjals/eggplant
Oh the brinjals were good! Tender flesh that's soaked up all the flavours of the spices.

Fried beancurd with sambal
OK, this one was so-so. Fried beancurd doused with sambal - a simple dish but it carried a tinge of sourness, which as you can tell, is a flavour does not go well with tofu. I don't think the tofu was bad, just the seasoning wasn't appropriate. Oh well, perhaps others will like it.

Assam gravy and a delicious curry gravy
Our dishes came with two generous portions of complimentary gravy - an assam-style red curry which was not bad and a vegetable curry, which we polished off! It was addictive stuff!

We went a bit crazy for only three persons
Yes, as you can see, we went a little bit overboard for three persons. But guess how much this feast (inclusive of rice) cost? Only S$16 (like US$11)! I can't even buy ingredients at that cost if I were to make these dishes myself! Oh, note the generous portion of the (also complimentary) sambal belachan - it was delicious, and clearly not a slapdash effort.

It's no wonder there are queues for this stall, and that they often sell out before their 3pm closing time. Makansutra rates this as five chopsticks or "divine"! Another review by Tiantianchi here. I need more excuses to come over to this part of the island. A pity they are not open for dinner, and closed on Sundays. There are a couple other stalls in this coffeeshop that also look interesting.

Blk 28 Hoy Fatt Road (off Jalan Bukit Merah)
Stall 3 within a coffeeshop named Chong Wah Restaurant
Open 6.30am til 3pm (or when sold out). Closed Sundays!
Fortunately, it is business as usual despite the Ramadan fasting month.


  1. that's really quite cheap, even if translated to RM. Nasi Padang, so hard to find in Ipoh la ...

  2. I'll be there like... damn soon! hahaha... lovely stuff there!

  3. I will definitely be eating the brinjals and beef rendang! :P

  4. thank you for posting this! that's my grandmother's coffee shop. =)

  5. J2kfm: hmm, I'm surprised nasi padang is rare in Ipoh!

    Southernoise and Momo: hope you'll enjoy it!

    Anon: whoa, your grandma power!!!

  6. aha! should forward this page to my colleagues, then we will be making a trip down.

    this looks much nearer :-)

  7. this food shud be the equivalent of nasi campur here in Malaysia , we believe and seldom found in the normal shops.

    cannot recall trying out here though, but looks fresh and spicy tasty

  8. Were you there last Friday? I think I saw you there!!!

    It's just opposite my flat - 2 minutes walk :D

    The food there is awesome and lots of taxi drivers go there to have their meal.

    The chicken rice stall at the same coffeeshop is quite good (and really cheap) as well.

    The noodle stalls are selling BIG bowls of noodles for $2.

    Please visit more often! :D

  9. yup yup. This Malay stall has been around ever since my grandma opened the coffeeshop. It's the only stall that survived over the (many, I may add) years.
    The chicken rice comes in big portions for only $2. sometimes, the queue gets a little long though. =)

  10. Clickorigin: Yes! I was there last Friday! You are so lucky to stay so near this place! I shall try to visit again.

    Anon: looks like this is a S$2 cheap and delicious coffeeshop - noodles and chicken rice also so cheap.

    BSG: ah nasi campur. I never really had that in Malaysia either.

    K-man: yum, go early (noon or even earlier) so you can get the tasty stuff!

    Christy: actually it looks spicier than it is. :)

  11. Nice! Glad to see that you finally got round to try this amazing nasi padang joint. Man... do I miss local food =(


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