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Home / Indonesian Cuisine / Jakarta Eats Part 5: A Tryst With Nasi Padang
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Jakarta Eats Part 5: A Tryst With Nasi Padang
By Alfred May 25, 2009
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Jakarta Eats Part 5: A Tryst With Nasi Padang
Fast Facts
Indo Nasi Padang
Indonesian Cuisine
Price Range:
S$11 - S$20
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Food Centre:
Recommended For:
Dinner Lunch
Reviewed by:

Ah Nasi Padang! One of my favourite food in Singapore but yet always controversially avoided whenever I’m in the ‘land of Nasi Padang’. For those who doesn’t know, Nasi Padang hailed from a place in Indonesia called Padang just like Hokkein Mee is from Fujian or Teo Chew Muay is from Chaozhou so technically Nasi Padang if there is ever a Chinese name for it should be called a Padang ‘Peng’. Now as you all know Indonesia is a country of ten of thousand of islands therefore it is inevitable that they also have many variation of food like how we have in China. In China, the popular ones are Cantonese, Fujian and Chaozhou and in Indonesia, the popular ones are Javanese, Sumatran, Medanese or Manadonese. Basically all those food from different islands have very distinct flavours but however are hard to be distinguished by people like us just like it’ll also be difficult for a westerner to distinguish whether a plate of kway teow is from Hongkong or Singapore or Taiwan.

Now the truth is Nasi Padang was not on my to-do list in this trip initially but after seeing like almost a hundred stalls of it along the streets of Jakarta, I really can’t resist not trying even one time and finding out for myself(and you readers) how lame it can really go in this style of selling where the food you’re buying can so easily be ‘sabotaged’ or ‘tainted’ with something else by someone you don’t even know!

Ok, with all the courage that I have(probably 5 times more than what is needed for me to try for a bungee jump), I finally walked into a Nasi Padang stall. Now I’m glad to say that this one is quite reputable and they’re not the average ones you see on the street where the seller sits there trying to fend off flies all day.

They’re the Restoran Sederhana which is one that is quite popular locally with franchises all over the country.

When we walked in, we were quickly ushered to a table and while we were taking our seats and adjusting our butts, a few staffs over at the counter started to bring something like 20 dishes to our table and stacked it up like trying to form a pyramid with the plates.

You’re right if you say that they’re trying to provide a good service. You’re right too if you say that way of serving may entice customers more, at least more than it sitting at the counter which is far from their view. You are also right if you say that hygiene issues are highly compromised here. From memory, certain Chinese food in the past were also served this way but it will be quickly taken away once the customer rejected it instead of sitting there until he finished his meal.

Food stacked up on the table

When the dishes fully arrived on the table, I see many exotic dishes and was very reluctant to try them. I instead went for things that I’m familiar with while eating Nasi Padang in Singapore like Goreng Ayam(fried chicken), Ayam Bakar(grilled chicken), Perkedel(fried mashed potatoes) and Beef Rendang. I didn’t touch any of those fish or vegetables dishes as I thought they really looked very different from what I thought they should look. My partner instead went for things like young jackfruit in coconut curry and lamb tendon which I found the taste to be quite acceptable but yet a little too exotic for me to whack them like how I would to a Ayam Goreng.

The chicken here is very small(once again!) so I really had a good run at it eating 4 pieces at one go. 2 pieces of fried chicken and 2 pieces of grilled chicken, and you know what? After eating them I still didn’t feel satisfied!

Somehow I felt that 4 pieces of this highly dehydrated chicken meat(actually there are more bones than meat) are not even comparable to one terrific KFC drumstick I used to eat in Perth!

They really should be calling this chicken bones and not chicken meat because I don’t even see where’s the meat, all I did was pop one piece into my mouth and then it became a tedious job trying to look for the next good piece out of the bone. Well I reckon I would need 10 pieces of this ‘chicken bones’ if they were to sell to me a ‘Nasi Ayam’ using this. The chicken here is really like our pigeon in Singapore where we deep fried them and sucking them hard, biting the bones along but then again the bones here are too big to be bitten so I really can’t do much with it except licking it while trying to see how many more they have over at the counter :O

Restaurant counter

Now if you ever stepped into a Nasi Padang stall here on your own, you should know that there’re certain unwritten rules that need to be observed. First you should never use your own spoon to take anything from the dishes if you are not going to take the entire plate. Well if you’re wondering, yes you can have half of the food on the plate like for example, 1 piece of rendang from a plate that has 2 pieces. You can even finish up all the gravy on it leaving the 1 piece there and you’re still going to be charged for just 1 piece. But the thing is if you’re going to do that, you better use a new spoon just for that dish because that is the unwritten rule that every customer that enters a Nasi Padang stall knows. You should only ever use your own spoon to take something from a plate if you are going to finish the whole plate. Ok if you ask me does everyone follow this rules, then I don’t know but I know for a fact this rule exist to safeguard the hygienic interest of every Nasi Padang eaters.

Well the unfortunate thing about Nasi Padang here is that I see the same displayed dishes from day to night and 90% of the time, there are no customers in the shop. It is no doubt that they hardly finished selling everything they have on display everyday and so what they do is to keep the food in the fridge and then display them again the next day. Well if you’re wondering how long do they display those food before they think it should be thrown away, then I will tell you that I also want to know because the Beef Rendang I had here tasted more like beef jerky.

[xrr label=”Nasi Padang meal:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]

Well so after trying this authentic Nasi Padang, I still prefer our own version of Nasi Padang for 3 reasons. First strangers cannot sabotage your food. Second, we seldom were sold overnight food. Third, sellers in Singapore usually use food warmers to keep the food warm all day but here it is being displayed in the see-through glass display shelf from day till night with no sign of any effort on their part to keep the food warm and fresh.

Our meal cost us a mere Rp80 000+ which is just slightly over SGD$10. And this is a reputable one, so therefore it should be a lot cheaper at others. Somehow this meal has got me all the strange feelings similar to if I were to be fed maggots. I wonder does every tourist who walked into a Nasi Padang stall here felt the same way?

And lastly, if anyone thinks this can actually sell in Singapore and are willing to invest in it, then go here to find out more about the franchise information.

Price: SGD$1-2 per dish

Recommendation: Perkedel and chicken(though small but quite delicious)

Conclusion: Very different from what we have in Singapore. It’s just like if you were to go to Fujian to eat Hokkein mee then you would also find it different from ours but it is just different, for good or worse is a relative judgement I suppose.

Likes: Cheap and you can see all the food on the table and decide there and then which one you want to eat.

Dislikes: Some of the dishes looked funny.

Address Overall Rating

Restoran Sederhana somewhere in West Jakarta

[xrr label=”Food:” rating=”6/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Value:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Service:” rating=”8/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Ambience:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Cleanliness:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr overall=true group=s1 label=Overall:]

Readers' Comment(s) : 6
Lim Boon Tiong says:

If I were you, I will also think thrice before eating the nasi padang there. I always like my food freshly cooked, so this dish wont be in my top priority.

For that price you pay, it is cheap but the locals there might not feel the same. I dont think many tourists will dare to try it too simply cos of hygiene reasons. I always avoid food stalls with flies flying around and making “landing” on the food.

Posted May 25, 2009
Alfred says:

You’re right, locals there mostly eat from roadside stalls which serve a meal for $1 or less. Well this is a restaurant but yet I see many areas of hygiene issues that can put me in doubt.

Posted May 25, 2009
Nita says:

hi..although Sederhana is one of famous brand Nasi Padang Resto better u try Sari Ratu they cooked and taste better.
And usually the style is the dishes not heated all the time, becoz the rice always new and HOT.
if they heated times to times the taste becomes to salty (indo’s food rich flavour) and u’ll know that their dishes is not new one.
The chicken u eat very small is becoz they use Kampong Chicken hehe..=)
also must try the fish head curry u’ll find its bit diff way cooked compare to Sing’s style.
everytime go jakarta at least must eat one time at Sari Ratu..

Posted October 16, 2009
Alfred says:

I see. I didn’t see any Sari Ratu around that time but saw Sederhana everyday…anyway it tasted like all the items were overnight food…

Yes I was told about the kampung chicken…

Ok gotta try fish head curry next time then. You seems to know quite a bit, are you a jakartarian?

Posted October 16, 2009
ricky says:

nasi padang! you should try it when come to padang/west sumatra and you will be suprised that ethnic cuisine in Indonesia is superbly diverse.

Posted March 27, 2010
Sumitomo says:

U should try garuda in hayamwuruk area . I eat here often never onceany health issue

Posted January 10, 2012
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