Nasi Padang has always been a classic dish with roots all the way from Padang city in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. Johor Bahru is no stranger to housing some of the best (and highly affordable!) Nasi Padang joints that feature a vibrant spread of many mouth-watering dishes.
During a recent day trip across the Causeway, we stumbled upon Qin Garden Kopitiam along Jalan Trus after sauntering around Jalan Dhoby. Little did we know that this quaint coffee shop was previously located just a stone’s throw away at Restoran Kin Wah, also a current Nasi Padang hub.
Do not let the simple hawker-like façade deceive you. The array of Nasi Padang dishes at Qin Garden Kopitiam will leave you with some tough decisions to make.
Some of the eye-catching ones include Kupang (mussels fried with chilli and spices), Beef Rendang, Assam Pedas Fish, Chicken Curry, Crisp Fried Fish and Quail Eggs cooked in a spicy chilli paste.
The key to Qin Garden Kopitiam’s success lies in their native Indonesian chefs as well as the dedicated owner, Mr Adam Soroso who hails from Surabaya himself. He has been running this business for almost 30 years now and his regulars can attest to the veritable buffet of authentic dishes.
Open as early as 7am daily until 6pm in the evening, customers can indulge in a slew of hearty breakfast options such as Lontong, Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam and Mee Rebus.
The Nasi Padang is available from 10.30am onwards and works in a systematic way. You scoop up your preferred dishes into your basket of steamed rice and let the amiable staff tabulate your total bill. Do not forget to add a dollop of homemade sambal for that extra zing!
We ordered a bowl of Lontong (RM$5) and a plate of Nasi Padang (RM$9) to appease our growling bellies. The former boasted a flavoursome coconut-infused spicy gravy that was extra comforting, especially since it was served nice and warm.
Generous amounts of tauhu (fried beancurd) and cabbage filled the bowl to the brim while the rice cakes inside remain soft and light. We slurped the gravy with oodles of noodles. Be sure to add a scoop of their special sweet peanut chilli sauce to this highly recommended bowl of goodness.
The Nasi Padang was served in a mini basket laced with a sheet of greaseproof paper. We opted for the fan favourites namely the Beef Rendang, Quail Eggs, Bagedil (Potato Patty) and Spiced Mussels.
The showstopper definitely went to the Beef Rendang. The meat is absolutely tender and boasts rich flavours of the spices involved. The quail eggs were also really fresh and paired well with the chilli paste. Albeit small, the mussels were cooked in a mildly spiced style that made it pretty addictive.
Overall, Qin Garden Kopitiam is an optimal choice for cheap yet tasty Nasi Padang. Dishes are aplenty here and the airy coffee shop style means that you will not be sweating as you try to savour your meals.
Qin Garden Kopitiam
12, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru 80000
(Closed on alternate Fuesdays)
Daily: 7am – 6pm