Nasi padang @ Nor's nasi padang
Nor’s nasi padang is the only one of its kind in Siglap that I know of. A few years back there was one at the coffee shop on Frankel Ave, but the somewhat grumpy owner had an argument with the malay couple running it and suddenly it was gone. Therefore Nor’s is quite popular and it is rare to not see anyone queuing for their fare.
However, today I was in luck as there was no queue. I felt brave enough to try and order. I get easily intimidated by nasi padang or cai fan stalls. As I write it, the notion seems silly, but the main reason for the intimidation is that I do not know the names of many (if any?) of the dishes. I feel stupid just pointing at dishes I barely recognise, often I can’t even pick out what the protein is because the sauce is so thick. If I do ask, a combination of language barriers (my Australian accent can be hard to understand) and time pressures (the queue never stops growing), don’t give the server time to explain the nuance of every cooked dish on display. Which begs the question, why can’t there be little display signs in front of each dish for an ignoramus like me? I suppose every one else already know what the dishes are.
Today, as an aside, I had decided to try and have a meat free day, so that greatly reduced the number of nasi padang dishes to choose from. So without knowing the specific name of the vegetable dishes, using the point and choose method, I selected a vegetarian curry, which was a sayur lodeh type of dish, bitter gourd stir-fried with egg, cabbage dish cooked with dried shrimp, a bean sprout dish with salted fish and the pièce de résistance was ordering a begedil. Admittedly deciding to go vegetarian meant I left a lot of good looking curries, rendangs, and fried fish on the table.
Everything was above average, especially noteworthy was the begedil. Except of course, its not freshly cooked, so the vegetables have lost their crunch. I have observed here in Singapore, that minimising the time between cooking and eating is less important than it is back in Australia. The dishes were not oily either, which I find is often not the case for pre-prepared dishes (perhaps the extra oil makes the less prone to drying out and making them more visually appealing). I felt as if I had a really healthy lunch, not the common kopitiam experience. So healthy in fact, I got myself a chendol from the stall next door because I had a calorie deficit.
I must admit I never really thought about price when I was ordering. There is no price written anywhere, so I have no idea is there is a system or the uncle just comes up with a price. On this occasion, I got 4 vegetarian dishes, rice, and a begedil for a grand total of $4. I’ll admit this seems like a steal to me. The dish contains a lot of ingredients, even if they are cheaper ingredients, and a lot of cooking effort for a nominal fee of $4. Next time I’ll have to see how expensive it is when I start adding beef rendang to the plate.
Coffee shop: Soy Eu Tua
Address: 15 Upper East Coast Rd, Siglap
Hours: 7:30am - 3pm (closed mondays)