We can’t get enough of this Indonesian (from Padang, West Sumatra, to be exact) cuisine and style of eating: steamed white rice served with an array – sometimes as many as 12, or more – of pre-cooked dishes, the mini banquet usually laid out ('hidang' style) in small plates. The dishes are generally robust with spices (rendang, sambals), curries made rich with coconut milk, and sometimes tongue-numbingly-hot – qualities that have made nasi padang addicts out of us.
Nasi padang also delivers in the pesan form – the "orders" piled on a plate, mainly for individual diners. Like the original Padang stalls, nasi padang in Singapore is presented behind a glass display, though mostly in long, deep clear dishes over two or three shelves; they’re rarely stacked up in small porcelain plates like they do in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, unless specified, the server will lay out all the dishes on the table – those that are not touched are not charged to the diner. It’s more complicated in Singapore – you have to pick your own, and we know that isn’t always easy with the big selection. We’re here to help – we’ve narrowed down five of our favourite nasi padang restaurants, and the dishes we like at each establishment:
Rumah Makan Minang
Istimewa Nasi Padang
Sabar Menanti II
Warong Nasi Pariaman
Warung M Nasir