Miniature banquet that is ‘nasi padang’

Nasi padang dishes are often laid out in small plates on the table for diners to enjoy. — Picture by Poh Huai Bin
Nasi padang dishes are often laid out in small plates on the table for diners to enjoy. — Picture by Poh Huai Bin

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — “What is nasi padang?” I remember asking my know-it-all friend once. “Aiyo, it’s just Indonesian chap fan la,” he dismissed. Technically, he’s not wrong. Nasi padang is similar to chap fan/nasi campur/nasi kandar and it hails from West Sumatra. It’s categorised under Padang (or Minang) cuisine and they use a lot of coconut milk and chillies in their cooking. Perhaps the Minangkabau folk are best known for their gulai, a rich gravy made with various spices and copious amounts of santan (coconut milk). It is believed that the gulai is a take on the Indian curry. Nasi padang dishes are usually served in an array of small plates but you can request for the meat and vegetables to be stacked on top of your rice.

Masakan Padang Asli Kampung Baru

The beef tendon, chicken sambal and chicken liver combo make for a winning nasi padang plate at Masakan Padang Asli Kampung Baru. — Picture by Poh Huai Bin
The beef tendon, chicken sambal and chicken liver combo make for a winning nasi padang plate at Masakan Padang Asli Kampung Baru. — Picture by Poh Huai Bin

This popular outfit has an extensive selection of dishes. I love the chewy and glutinous gulai tunjang (beef tendon), which happens to be a crowd favourite too. The chicken liver fried with chilli and onions is a close second. I reached the restaurant at slightly past noon and everything was already almost finished, due to an enthusiastic older woman who had a surprisingly large number of takeaway orders. A plus point at this no-frills outlet is the friendly and welcoming owners.

Salero Negori

There are a couple of Salero Negori restaurants in town but the one I went to was in SS15, Subang Jaya. They specialise in nasi padang and Negri Sembilan food. Negri Sembilan has a huge Minangkabau presence so this is something like a localised nasi padang restaurant. I come here for their tasty and complex beef rendang.

Restoran Nasi Padang Kampung Baru

There are three good nasi padang places close to each other in Kampung Baru and this is one of them. While there is a bigger choice of dishes (including several types of fish) here compared with the others, at the end of the day, the nasi padang restaurant that you’d frequent is likely to be one that appeals to your personal taste. But why not try all three first before you decide on your favourite?

Restoran Padang Sari Ratu Prima

There are branches of this restaurant all over the Klang Valley. The Sari Ratu brand is so popular it’s probably most people’s first encounter with nasi padang. It sure was mine. I remember walking in and ordering its delicious ikan nila goreng. Visually, it was appealing with the entire fish standing up and fried to a crisp. The fish is served with sambal kicap (sweet soy dipping sauce). I loved it and was back for more the next day! I also recommend the gulai kambing served in a claypot. The creamy flavours will blow your mind.

Restoran Grand Garuda Baru

This is the third nasi padang eatery in Kampung Baru. What’s great about this place is it has its own car park, which is convenient for people driving there. This restaurant is probably best known for its udang balado and I can assure you that its version is unparalleled. It’s spicy with a mild sweetness and there are bits of petai inside too. It’s the perfect dish to go with steamed rice!

GETTING THERE

Masakan Padang Asli Kampung Baru

Corner of Jalan Raja Muda Musa 5 and Jalan Raja Muda Musa, Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

LRT/MRT: Kampung Baru

From the station: 550 metres

Operating hours: 11am-9pm

Salero Negori

139, Jalan SS 15/5A, SS 15, Subang Jaya, Selangor

LRT/MRT: SS15

From the station: 600 metres

Operating hours: noon-9 pm

Restoran Nasi Padang Kampung Baru

132, Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

LRT/MRT: Kampung Baru

From the station: 600 metres

Operating hours: 10am-10pm

Restoran Padang Sari Ratu Prima

47-1, Jalan PJU 5/12, Dataran Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

LRT/MRT: Surian

From the station: 400 metres

Operating hours: 11am-10pm

Restoran Grand Garuda Baru

176, Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur

LRT/MRT: Kampung Baru

From the station: 600 metres

Operating hours: 10am-12am

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