If you’re even the slightest fan of nasi padang, Rumah Makan Minang had better be on your list. This Indonesian restaurant along Kandahar Street has been around since the 1980s, serving up amazing Minangkabau dishes since the very beginning.
It all started with Mr Haji Marlian, a Sumatra immigrant who started dishing out nasi padang from a wooden stall along the same street over 80 years ago. Borrowing Minangkabau-centric flavours, his stall grew in popularity and garnered sizable orders daily.
Today, the humble stall has been transformed into a thriving restaurant with two outlets, one along Kandahar Street and another within Tampines Hub. But, their philosophy of uncompromised quality and taste in their food still stands strong.
We hit up their outlet along Kandahar Street at around 12pm on a weekday afternoon. Thankfully, the queues hadn’t formed yet. The service staff were really approachable and friendly, which is always appreciated.
As with any great nasi padang establishment, there were at least twenty trays of curried stews and greens out on display, just waiting to be devoured.
We tried three different proteins, all paired with red rice and tapioca leaves for a healthier finish.
Yes, red rice would probably be the last thing you’d think of when you think of nasi padang. But surprisingly, it worked out quite nicely with the ingredients. The cook on the rice was spot-on, as well. As for the tapioca leaves, they were slightly bland on their own, but they made for an excellent sponge for the accompanying curries and sauces.
We tried their Ayam Gulai (S$3.50/S$4), which is chicken stewed in one of their signature curry stews. The chicken verged on the drier side but the well-seasoned curry sauce elevated the dish. The sauce was fragrant, balanced and not heavy on the palate at all.
Cooking squid isn’t the easiest task to nail but Rumah Makan Minang came pretty close with their Sotong Masak Hitam (S$3.50/S$4). While the sotong was just a smidge overcooked, it still retained a good amount of tenderness. The dark soy gravy it was drenched in had pungent hints of squid ink essence and a spicy kick.
Assam pedas (S$3.50/S$4) is a classic Malay dish that’s hard to go wrong with. Their rendition fared superbly with its fleshy, tasty mackerel soaked in the tangy gravy. It had a great balance between sour and spicy. The fish tasted really fresh, void of any pungent smell characteristic of unfresh fish.
It’s always a privilege to dine at a place that takes so much pride in their food. The thoughtfulness that goes into each plate dished out at Rumah Makan Minang is very apparent. We’d be more than happy to return to try the other dishes on their menu.
Rumah Makan Minang
18 & 18A Kandahar Street
Tel: +65 6294 4805
Daily: 8.30am – 7.30pm
Nearest Station: Bugis