Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Restoran Nasi Padang Minang, Penang

From The NST

The unassuming facade of International Hotel with
the Restoran Padang Minang on the ground floor
Several kinds of curries are available such
as korma chicken and fish and beef curry
RESTORAN Nasi Padang Minang is probably the longest-running nasi padang stall on Penang island. Another reason for its fame is its authentic padang dishes.

The family-owned business is a stall located in a Chinese coffee-shop at Transfer Road and has been in business since the 1940s. For the uninitiated, nasi padang refers to a style of cooking that originated from Western Sumatra, Indonesia.

Down History Lane

First, here’s a bit of history about Transfer Road to whet our appetite. The area was originally inhabited by the Jawi Peranakan community. A canal linked Transfer Road to the Prangin River, allowing boats to come up to the area.

In the early 20th century, the Jawi Peranakan community moved out and was replaced by Tamil Muslims from Kadaiyanallur. However, pockets of Indo-Malay houses still remain in the area.

In 1867, when the Straits Settlement Government was transferred to the Colonial Office in Singapore, Transfer Road was so named to commemorate the occasion.

Tempting Spread

Owned by Alias Rahman, Restoran Nasi Padang Minang offers 40 dishes of delectable Sumatran delights that have wowed Penangites for three generations.

The array of dishes displayed looks extremely inviting. First, the rice is steamed to perfection — neither too hard nor too soft. With your plate of rice in hand, you are now ready to choose whatever you fancy.

Alias’ wife, Ardaini, has been helping out at her grandfather’s stall since she was 16. She and her team rise at 4am to prepare the food and all dishes are ready by 10am. They are transported to the stall which opens at 11am. During the time of Ardaini’s grandfather, the dishes were ferried on a tricycle. Today, a van is used.

What’s Special

The signature dishes are rendang Minang, fried keli (catfish), ayam bakar (grilled chicken) and crispy fried beef lung. Ooh, the rendang Minang practically melts in your mouth! I also ate acar (pickled vegetables) and sweet potato leaves cooked in coconut milk. They provided a much-needed relief to the richness of the rendang.

For a nice kick, eat the fried keli with sambal belacan. The prawn-with-petai was also a love-at-first bite affair. The list is long, including ikan bakar (fish marinated in tamarind and grilled), cincaru sambal (horse-mackerel stuffed with sambal), sayur lodeh (mixed vegetables in coconut milk), chicken korma, tempe, etc.

Though Padang cooking is characterised by lots of chilies, lemon grass and turmeric, surprisingly, most of the dishes are not very hot.

For salad lovers, there are various types of ulam, young jackfruit, sliced cucumber and several kinds of sambal. There are also other vegetable dishes such as beansprouts in coconut gravy, brinjal in sambal and long beans fried with shrimps.

Drinks served by the coffee-shop operator include all kinds of soft drinks and fruit juices as well as sweet sirap Bandung!

Opening Hours

The stall opens daily from 11am to 9pm.To avoid the crowd, go at 11am when all the dishes are fresh, hot and delicious. Parking can also be a bit of hassle for late-comers.

Restoran Nasi Padang Minang is located in a coffee-shop on the ground floor of International Hotel at 92, Transfer Road, Penang.

1 comment:

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