The Americans have their burgers, the Italians their pastas and the British, their bangers and mash. We Singaporeans, have our Nasi Padang. Consisting of steamed white rice typically served with a wide variety of meat and vegetable choices, this local fare is of Indonesian origin and is rich in flavour and aroma. Often displayed prettily behind a glass counter, all you have to do for a quick order is to point at the dishes you fancy. We’ve pulled together a list of the best spots for Nasi Padang and they all share a commitment to serving quality fare and affordable prices. So food lovers, rejoice – this roundup is nearly too yummy to handle. You better prep a tissue now, because you’ll be salivating at the end of this read!
Directly translated as “good things come to those who wait”, Sabar Menanti definitely comes out tops on our list of delish and authentic Nasi Padang. This popular eatery is located in one of Singapore’s historical districts, Kampung Glam and has been around since 1920! The one dish that you absolutely have to try here is the Ikan Bakar, which is charcoal grilled fish sprinkled with onions on top and drizzled with a spicy and sweet black sauce. Not to forget the crowd favourite, Tahu Goreng commonly known as fried tofu. The other great thing about this restaurant besides their amazing food is the warm and friendly staff that’ll greet you and welcome you wholeheartedly.
747 North Bridge Road, 6am-5pm, Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Located in the heart of the Singapore Malay community, the Geylang Serai Market, Hajjah Mona is hard to miss in a sea of other food stalls, standing beneath a neon cursive signboard. The business is helmed by the chatty matriarch and service is quick and breezy to facilitate the long lines during the peak periods. Their Beef Rendang comes highly recommended with the meat cooked to tender perfection and the Ayam Opor with a gravy covered with traces of fragrant lemongrass.
1 Geylang Serai, #02-166, Geylang Serai Food Centre, 8am-7pm, Closed on Wednesdays
This busy eatery nestled in the financial district of town is the spot to hit when you’re craving for a hearty home cooked meal. The dish that gets the most love from patrons is the Tahu Telur, which is essentially fried tofu with eggs topped with prawn paste and peanuts with a generous helping of sliced carrots and vegetables. Is your mouth watering already? Don’t forget to order a tall ice-cold glass of lime juice to complete your meal. You might find that you’re paying a little bit more than usual for your Nasi Padang here but it’s only because of the premium location. We promise you that the food is worth every cent!
13 Circular Road, 1030am-1030pm, Closed on Sundays
A name that’s synonymous with Nasi Padang in Singapore with three branches, Hajjah Maimunah is a hot favourite with many locals. In fact, this Malay restaurant has even been featured in Anthony Bourdain’s television show! Serving up a huge array of authentic dishes from Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken), Sayur Lodeh(vegetables in coconut gravy), to Sambal Belacan (Chilli and shrimp paste). Our personal favourite is the Siput Sedut (sea snail cooked in coconut gravy), which always runs out by lunch! Apart from dining in, this famous resto also caters for festive celebrations and events.
15 Jalan Pisang, 20 Joo Chiat Road and 52 Bencoolen Street, 8pm-930pm, Closed on Mondays
Rumah Makan Minang
Any dish you get from Rumah Makan Minang is going to be 100% authentic Minangkabau (the people of West Indonesia) fare. The fragrant aroma of spicy sauces will greet you as you step into the restaurant and the dishes pack as much flavour as they do heat. The star recipe is the tender squid in black sauce that’s melts in your mouth like butter and tastes divine when paired with hot steamed white rice and Ayam Belado (fried chicken with spicy sauce). Order the homemade Bandung (rose syrup mixed with condensed milk) drink for a sweet ending to your meal.
18 Kandahar Street, 8am-6pm, Closed on Public Holidays
Warung Nasi Pariaman
A friendly neighbour of Sabar Menanti, Warung Nasi Pariaman has been in the Kampung Glam vicinity since 1948. The family-run restaurant has a huge and loyal customer base that either dines in or takeaway multiple dishes to pack home considering the limited space of the eatery. This must have from here? The Ayam Bakar. The grilling gives the upper layer of the chicken a crispy texture while the meat inside is soft and tender. Another signature dish that’s a hot favourite with patrons is the addictive Sambal Goreng (fried long beans and beancurd).
738 North Bridge Road, 730am-3pm, Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Warung M. Nasir
Right off the Somerset train station, Warung M. Nasir is the go-to spot for people in the heart of town who are craving for Nasi Padang in the later hours of the day. Named after and opened by Singapore-born Malaysian singer M. Nasir, this eatery serves up a decent selection of traditional cakes too. Our favourite is the Lapis Sagu (layered cake) that’s typically eaten by peeling off the colourful layers one at a time. Many locals grew up relishing the Lapis Sagu and taking a bite of the soft tapioca cake sure does bring back fond memories of the past.
69 Killiney Road, 1130am-930pm
Ah Hoi’s Kitchen
The only restaurant that’s set in a modern and swanky hotel, Ah Hoi’s Kitchen is the latest Nasi Padang restaurant in town. If you’re in the area at lunchtime, take advantage of the awesome promotion called the “12 At 12”. Enjoy 12 dishes for the fantastic price of $12 per person and if you have a group of 12, that last person dines for free! Tuck into the usual suspects of Tahu Telur, Ayam Penyet (fried chicken in spices) and be sure to call dibs on the Ikan Tenggiri Asam Pedas (mackarel in spicy tamarind chilli). The interior of the resto is decorated with vintage Asian furniture and there’s even an alfresco area with poolside dining! Good food with a view? We’re sold!
1A Cuscaden Road, Hotel Jen Tanglin, Singapore 249716, 6831 4373
Warong Java Nasi Padang
Gobsmacked in the heartlands, urbanites flock to Warong Java Nasi Padang for their mixed dish fix. Aside from serving a plethora of yummy dishes, this eatery is tucked in a hawker centre has many other traditional recipes under its belt. The menu offers Malay specialties alongside cakes, which means you can get everything from your basic Nasi Lemak to your favourite Mee Soto. In the end, we always end up coming back every day of the week – it’s the best way to get a taste of everything.
Blk 539, Bedok North Street 3, 7am-5pm, Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Sari Ratu Restaurant
Here, you’ll get to have a taste of Nasi Padang that’s befitting of a queen. A popular franchise from Jakarta, Sari Ratu offers fuss-free and authentic Padang dishes at affordable prices. The variety of colourful dishes is a little overwhelming, but we can help with that. Choose from the Gulai Telur Ikan (fish roe curry) that bursts in your mouth with a citrusy flavour, the Ayam Panggang (grilled chicken), or sink your teeth in the fragrant and succulent Beef Rendang. All this food talk is making us hungry – Sari Ratu, here we come!
20 Pahang Street, Singapore 198617, 10am-10pm, 6294 9983
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