What was initially a hunt for a quick meal after my medical appointment at Raffles Hospital turned out to be a rather fruitful discovery. I was without my camera then, but I made a promise to myself that I would make a return trip; And I did with my colleague in tow.
Sabar Menanti is my now favourite haunt for Nasi Padang. And yes, I’ve tried River Valley Nasi Padang and the one at the corner of Kandahar Street.
Call me bias (or insert any other noun) but the one dish that will always make an appearance at my table is Beef Rendang and that is how I judge the stall. Yes, you may argue that it’s not being fair and all, but it’s in my opinion, with the myriad of dishes that each Nasi Padang stall serves, there should be one single dish that is used as a benchmark.
In case you were wondering what Sabar Menanti means, it roughly means, to “wait patiently”. I’ve verified this with another Malay colleague of mine. Ironic, since everything is pre-cooked and laid out in metal trays and you get your meal served to you within 3 minutes. Of course, this name has stuck with the restaurant for ages, and who knows, perhaps the Sabar Menanti of yester-year, really required a long wait!
My colleague ordered a variety of dishes, including fried fish and prawns accompanied by a huge scoop of plain rice.
He was pleased with what was offered – and coming from a Malay Muslim background, that’s good enough for me! Although, he did comment that the food here is slightly more expensive to its nearby peers.
Rather than have all my dishes on 1 dish, I opted to have them in separate plates. Not only did it help in the photography, it allowed me to savour each dish on its own, rather than have the tastes all mixed up.
In comparison to the Beef Rendang, the fish was a tad disappointing. It was not bad, it just paled in comparison to the beef that I had. The fish was “fresh-ish”, the meat firm, and the curry was of the right combination of sweetness and spiciness. I’m pretty sure there is a proper name for the dish, so if anyone would care to help, I thank you in advance!
The Beef Rendang!
This is the best Beef Rendang that I’ve had the opportunity to try thus far and I’m speaking from the bottom of my heart!
The beef was simply divine – fork tender. I highly doubt that this was the work of a meat tenderizer, rather, it was the continuously simmering along with a secret blend of spices that contributed to its tenderness.
The gravy was one to lap up too! It was not too spicy and you could literally taste the subtle flavours of all spice rub.
Tempeh! My colleague gave me weird looks when I ordered the soybean cake; he was surprised I would order it.
I love tempeh, all of it! Perhaps, it’s the unique texture and flavour that entices me. BTW, I was introduced to it by my father, who once read about its health benefits and started to introduce tempeh to our diet when we were much younger.
Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy-foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.
– Last accessed 6th August 2010 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempeh
Harris of thesimplestaphrodisiac fame recommended me to try the Ayam Opor but I’m not sure if this was the correct dish.
The chicken was a bit tough for my liking – the colleague agreed. I haven’t tried many other similar curries, so I don’t reallyhave a basis for comparison. That said, I would definitely order this if I was in the mood for a mild curry.
48 Kandahar Street
Tel: (65) 6396 6919