87. O MY NASI PADANG

Yesterday afternoon, after a stressful trip to the Japanese Embassy to apply for a visa for an upcoming work trip to Tokyo, I decided to have an early lunch to take a breather from the harrowing events of the early morning. I admit I have been having a very short fuse lately in the last few months due to work demands, mostly.

And the picture below shows you what I had –  a reasonably satisfying plate of  ‘nasi padang’. (See picture below- taken by Persis Shanker ©2010 )

I was rather reluctant to throw rice into my digestive system as my eating habits these days are more focused on reducing my intake of carbohydrates and increasing my consumption of vegetable and fruits.

However, the mouth-watering display of sumptious dishes at the ‘nasi padang’ stall I passed by at lunchtime was too tempting to ignore, so I succumbed, and I must say that the food was reasonably ‘dee-lish’.

However, one doesn’t always occasion a place like this.

With food being such big business on the island, ‘nasi padang’ stalls are emerging willy nilly everywhere in Singapore. One can be spoilt for choice and because of that, it is good to be aware that not all these ‘nasi padang’ stalls serve the real thing.

One other interesting thing you’ll also notice about these stalls is the fact that they are beginning to ‘brand’ themselves in order to stand out from the crowd.

If you noticed in the picture I took above of my finished meal, there’s a little toothpicked flag with the name of the ‘nasi padang’ stall printed on it and poked into a slice of cucumber that skirted the side of my plate.

At first, I thought this was ‘gee-whiz’ quaint – but then again, on second thought, I felt this was rather unnecessary because

1. I wasn’t going to remember the name of the stall EVER AGAIN and

2. Just ONE slice of cucumber? (sigh)

I might add that my meal cost me a whopping SGD$6.40 that included a piece of fried ‘sambal’ fish, but still!!!

Whoa there! I mean if fish is going to be THAT expensive, I’d rather set up a trout pond in my back garden and fish myself away to kingdom come!

But that’s only part of the costs. Let’s do the math here, shall we?

I’m thinkin’ at least a dollar of that cost must’ve gone to enjoying the convenience of sitting in an air-conditioned hawker stall (the Opera Food Court at the basement of ION Shopping Centre btw) and that SGD$0.80 of the remaining cost went to the ‘branded’  toothpicked flag. 🙂 (Darn! I knew I should’ve kept that toothpick!)

Which means after subtracting cost of fish (SGD$2) + cost of A/C hawker centre and branded toothpick, the actual cost of my ‘nasi padang’ meal should’ve been SGD$2.80!

OK, OK, so it’s all a laugh and a poke in the ribs right but given that ‘nasi padang‘ is one of the cheapest, most popular foods you could pay for in Indonesia, where the cuisine originates from, paying exorbitant prices for hawker fare here in Singapore has become a daily almost accepted routine.

But having said that, it’s also no joke that while I scoff at the rising prices of hawker centre food, I admit that I myself have occasionally shelled out a whopping SGD$13-16 bucks to dine by myself at my most favourite ‘nasi padang’ joint of all time – Rendezvous Restaurant at the Rendezvous Hotel (and if I say Rendezvous again in the next sentence, I shouldn’t hesitate applying to be their next marketing manager:) ).

I frequented the place regularly as a little girl back in the 70s and 80s thanks to my parents who were big fans of the place everytime we came in from JB for our weekend shopping trips.

Back then it was a typical coffee shop with wooden benches and numerous ceiling fans that whirled and hummed non-stop to keep customers cool during the scorching lunchtime heat as well as the spicy dishes everyone was delighting in. Aaah, what memories!

But fond girly memories aside, the restaurant has a rich history. From its website  at http://www.rendezvous-hlk.com.sg/home.html, you’ll learn that the place started 6 decades ago as a mon n pop’s coffee shop and was patronised by thousands of British troops that were stationed there at the time.

The father of the present owners, the late Mr Seah Soo Koon wanted to make the restaurant a place for these officers to partake in the delectable delights of ‘nasi padang’ which originated from Padang, a place situated in Western Sumatra. His successful introduction and execution of the dishes is unmatched by any other restaurant, in my opinion that is, and the menu is enjoyed by both locals and foreigners alike.

For me, this is the ultimate ‘nasi padang’ paradise. Just writing about this even now, makes me crave something off their menu. The dishes are still THAT good.

So if you’re ever in Singapore and want to try genuine, authentic ‘nasi padang‘, Rendezvous Restaurant is the place to go.

You will not regret it.

Now, it’s time for me to apply to the  Mr Seah Jr. for a job at the place! 🙂

Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee

02-02-03 Hotel Rendezvous Gourmet Gallery

9, Bras Basah Rd (S) 159559

Tel: (65) 6339 7508

Operating Hours:  Daily 11 am to 9pm

Specialty Dishes

Chicken Rendang/Sayur Lodeh/Beef Rendang/Chicken Korma (my favourite gravy!!)/Egg Sambal (Yummers!)/Prawn Sambal/Sambal Brinjal (Yummers 2!)

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About thejellyfarm

In real life, I am a television writer and producer...er no...scratch...a television director....noo, scratch....a media loser.....wait, that doesn't sound quite insulting enough....... OK, ahem. In real life, I'm an idiot box expert with a penchant for the creative. In short, I'm a loser with no focus or direction in life. I just go where the creative flow takes me. Mostly it takes me to clogged up drains and stinky oceans but it's going.......going.....somewhere. And this blog is an expression of that mindblowing roadblock. Creative frustration is a great motivator and here is a result of that.

Posted on May 15, 2010, in Food and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yoo hoo~ Eileen ( rice barn ) here.. just found out that u have a blog :]
    I have yet to try out the food at Rendezvous Restaurant~ looks like i have to pay a visit soon given it’s history and all the good review I heard about it 🙂

    generally the food food republic food courts are slightly more ex than other food courts.

    • thejellyfarm

      Yes Eileen you must try Rendezvous. Once you do it’s hard to look at other nasi padang stalls the same way 🙂

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