Thursday, September 11, 2008
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, soft and succulent, draped in spicy glory. A staple for nasi padang, in my books! This was quite good. Rich but so worth it.
Some greens. Kangkong stirfried in sambal belachan. They got the texture and flavours right.
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 - 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 - 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.
Oh the brinjals were good! Tender flesh that's soaked up all the flavours of the spices.
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.
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!
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.
ISTIMEWA NASI PADANG
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.