Rumah Makan Minang

Ernie is my regular Saturday lunch buddy, generally, I just assume a standing lunch appointment every Saturday unless informed otherwise. This weekend, Ernie suggested Indonesian Padang cuisine at our usual haunt at Kandahar Street. It's always hilarious every time Ernie eats spicy food. He's like a human spice-indicator, the more he perspires, the spicier the dish is. Every time we eat spicy food, he's drenched in perspiration and his hair will invariably end up matted and dripping despite air-conditioned surroundings.

The BF, despite his crammed schedule, managed to make a rare Saturday lunch appearance and joined us at Rumah Makan Minang.

Kandahar Street runs parallel to Arab Street, in the Kampong Glam area, and is well known for having many renowned restaurants serving Indonesian Padang cuisine. Rumah Makan Minang is my personal favourite, having tried all the Indonesian/Malay restaurants in Kampong Glam. They've recently undergone minor renovations so they were closed for a few months. The place is now neater, brighter and more spiffy in appearance, although the layout is largely unchanged.

We got all our favourites, starting with 2 portions of the Sayur Lodeh, an assortment of cabbage, carrots and long beans and firm beancurd simmered in a spicy coconut gravy. This was palatably spicy and delightfully creamy and rich.

We also got another vegetable dish (because veggies are good for you!), Stir-Fried Spinach. Nutrient-dense spinach was lightly stir-fried with sliced chili for heat and dried shrimp for flavour. This was refreshing, simple and light. Healthy too, of course!

Onto the meats, we got the Beef Rendang, Ernie's favourite. Beef cubes are slowly simmered for hours with coconut milk and spices until the liquid attains the consistency of a thick paste and the beef absorbs all the wonderfully fragrant spices into the meat. This was robust and decadent.

We also got the white meat version, Chicken Rendang, because I prefer white meat to red. Tumeric lent a wonderfully smoky quality to the paste, which I used to mix into steaming hot white rice. The chicken was succulent and juicy, but then again, I always request the thigh portion, which is already succulent and juicy.

The BF wanted the ubiquitous Curry Chicken, so we got a thigh portion as well. This was creamy and spicy and sweet.

The BF also got his favourite Begedel, fried potato croquette with bits of minced chicken and coriander and/or spring onion. I obviously didn't get that because of the coriander and/or spring onion, Ernie didn't get that as well because he was trying to cut down on his carbs.

Last but not least, we got the Tauhu Telor, a towering concoction of silky beancurd coated in scrambled eggs and fried, slathered in a thick sweet black sauce (or kecap manis), sprinkled with crushed peanuts and chili, and topped with raw julienned crunchy carrots and refreshing cucumber.We all tore into this. Nothing survived our insidious and carnivorous attack.

The Sambal Chili served here may look menacingly spicy, but according to the BF, it really isn't spicy at all. A word of advice, his chili tolerance is honed from the depths of South Korea, the land of kim chi. What's not spicy to him might be very spicy for others.

We also got refreshing Lime Juice to douse the heat from our tongues. This was homemade, not store bought, which is always a plus point.

The lavish spread of dishes cost us only around $33, which is astoundingly cheap. This is why I love this establishment. Authentic food (I always feel like I'm eating at a friend's house, whose grandmother is an amazing cook during Hari Raya celebrations), good service, air-conditioned surroundings and appreciatively low prices.

Once you order from the counter on the first floor, the staff will assist you to carry all of your dishes to your table. We prefer the upstairs area, which is air-conditioned. A tip is to arrive early for lunch to avoid the crowd (we usually try to get there before 12 noon) and when the food is at its freshest, they cook all their dishes fresh every morning.

Rumah Makan Minang
No. 18 and 18A
Kandahar Street
Tel: 6294 4805, 9027 5310, 9362 6866
Open daily from 7am to 8pm
NB. They cater as well.

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