Ayam goreng, sayur lodeh, asam pedas, sambal sotong, beef rendang, tahu goreng – you gotta be hungry after looking at all that, right?
Lunches and dinners are always more fun when you’re sharing them around the table – you’ve got zi char for Chinese, tapas for Spanish, and even banchan for Korean. But if you’re looking for an authentic Indonesian feast by way of Western Sumatra, nasi padang is what you need. Often with white rice as your base, plates are stacked with a medley of dishes – from the curry-drenched to the deep-fried – like beef rendang, ayam bakar (barbecued chicken), asam pedas (fish with asam sauce) and sayur lodeh (a vegetable curry with coconut milk). No one person’s preference for nasi padang is ever the same, which is why you can find a bunch of restaurants and stalls serving their own diverse renditions of the best nasi padang in Singapore. Here are our favourites.
Warong Nasi Pariaman
It’s hard to ignore a reputation of being arguably the longest-surviving nasi padang stall in Singapore! It’s admirably stayed put near Kandahar Street since 1948, so it’s a go-to food haunt for many Muslims who visit the nearby Sultan Mosque for prayers. A homely family-run business, the food here is prepared as early as 4am – signatures include ayam bakar (their barbecued chicken is served in a thick coconut-milk gravy), tender beef rendang and spicy sambal goreng (comprising tofu and long beans).
Warong Nasi Pariaman, 736/738 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198704, p. 6292 2374. Open daily 7.30am-10.30pm.
Although established in the ’90s, this beloved restaurant still embraces the good ol’ days of the kampung (think rural villages in Singapore before urbanisation kicked in). As such, Hajjah Maimunah serves traditional kampung cuisine like sambal goreng, tahu telur, beef rendang and oxtail soup – all appetising nasi padang staples. But if you wish to amp up your sedap experience, try its specialties like the Sundanese grilled chicken or the lemak siput (soft-shell clams in coconut milk). Catering options are also available.
Hajjah Maimunah, 11 & 15 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199078, p. 6297 4294. Open Mon-Sat 7am-8pm, closed Sun
Sometimes, the way to quell the pressures of stuffy corporate work-life is the comfort of a home-cooked meal. Offering such a ravenous reprieve in the CBD is this well-known nasi padang stall. Though a tad on the pricier side, this place doesn’t stop regulars from ordering favourites like sayur lodeh (a vegetable curry with coconut milk), sambal quail eggs, chicken rendang and a towering tahu telur (think of it as a beancurd omelette). Much-needed energy for the rest of the day ahead!
Sinar Pagi, 13 Circular Road, Singapore 049369, p. 6536 5302. Open Mon-Sat 10.30am-10.30pm, closed Sun.
To numerous locals, the Geylang Serai Market is one hawker centre that’s a paradise for starving foodies. And if you’re looking to stuff your tum with a serving of nasi padang, this is the perfect place to be. Bestsellers include asam pedas (a fish dish simmered in a tangy, spicy sauce) and sotong hitam (squid in black ink) – both just begging to be mixed heartily with steamed white rice.
Hajjah Mona, #02-166 Pasar Geylang Serai, 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001, p. 8282 6902. Open Thu-Tue 8am-7pm, closed Wed.
Adhering to the motto of “Togetherness and Participation”, this “casual fine dining restaurant” is perfect for family gatherings and communal feasts. Authentically recreating the traditions of West Sumatra – the origins of nasi padang – Sari Ratu specialises in terong balado (spiced eggplant), ikan bawal bakar (grilled pomfret), and if you’re a more adventurous meat-eater, gulai tunjang (springy beef tendon dipped in a potent curry). Need to put out that fire in your mouth? They’ve plenty of spice-dousing juices like starfruit and avocado.
Sari Ratu, #02-107 Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, Singapore 238863, p. 6294 9983. Open daily 10am-10pm.
Don’t be thrown off by the fact that this historical brand was founded by Chinese owner, Seah Soo Khoon; Rendezvous is as authentic as it gets when it comes to upholding culinary Western Sumatran traditions. Once a meeting point for British troops during WWII – hence, the name – this iconic restaurant trumps in classics like chicken and beef rendang, sambal sotong, curry fish and sambal brinjal. Top this off with a sweet, refreshing chendol.
Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee, #02-72/75/77/92 The Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059817, p. 6339 7508. Open daily 11am-9pm
Warung M. Nasir
If Kenny Rogers can open his own Western food chain, why not revered Malay singer, M. Nasir? True enough, Warung M. Nasir is the brainchild of the popular ’80s vocalist, but that’s where the gimmick ends. What you have in this cosy Orchard eatery is top-notch nasi padang – rice drenched in thick, spicy curry from dishes like sayur lodeh and ayam gulai (chicken with yellow curry). You’ll be so satisfied, your stomach will be practically singing with delight.
Warung M. Nasir, 69 Killiney Road, Singapore 239526, p. 6734 6229. Open daily 8am-10pm.