Nasi Padang from Sumatra to Malaysia

Minang, Nasi Padang (Padang Rice style) 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.

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.