Minang Nasi Padang

Name: Minang Nasi Padang
Location: Pelham St/Swanstom St Carlton VIC 3053
Cost: $6.50 lunch/dinner
Cost rating: 5/5
Taste rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Would I go again? Yes.

There’s another Minang further down Swanston St in the city block district. Minang Nasi Padang is closer to a university, making it a hot spot for students who live nearby. It’s particularly attractive as it is cheap, offers Indonesian/Malay homecooked-style food, has a balanced selection of meat and vegetables as well as plenty of vegetarian options. It’s a small shop, and feels like a school cafeteria. $6.50 will get you a plate of rice with 3 side dishes, lunch or dinner.

Six-fifty square meal/ Keep it real, nothing fancy/ Feels like school mess hall

It seems fairly authentic Indonesian food, or at least it is different from western-asian food. It’s not a fancy eatery, but it is fairly clean, cheap and tasty so I come back every now and then for a nutritious feed. (Better than cup noodles, or a fried chicken burger, or my workplace cafeteria.)

Don't know what it is?/ Just ask the nice young lady./ Sauce on everything.

The counter is simply bain maries filled with food, with cutlery and a cashier on the side.  There’s usually rice (a choice of plain or fried rice), some fried foods (fried battered fish, and a thick potato cake), vegetables (pumpkin curry, spicy eggplant, beanshoots), vegetarian protein options (chilli egg, stirfried fried tofu with a sauce) and meat options (fried chicken, soy chicken wings, beef rendang, chicken livers). You can also ask the lady to put sauce from either the soy chicken or chilli egg on your rice. They’ll understand your penchant for sauce.

Bah, meat and three vege?/ Two meats and vegie medley./ Take that! A square meal.

Beef Rendang: As far I am aware, beef rendang seems to be done in one of two ways. The wet coconut-heavy way, and the dry toasted coconut and salt way. Laksa Bar does it the wet way, with a thick coconut-rich stew around the chunks of beef. Minang does it the dry saltier way. It tastes pretty good, but you’ll need to eat it with rice. It’s very salty. But it isn’t tough at all, the meat is tender and comes apart with a gentle tug of your fork.

Soy chicken wings: Fried chicken wings, then braised in sweet Indonesian soy sauce. I like this a lot. So much I came back again within the week to have it again for lunch. Chicken wings should be eaten with your hands, there’s no ‘neat’ way of eating them.

Pumpkin, cabbage, eggplant: Just that, pumpkin, cabbage and eggplant. In a tasty stew of sorts. I’m glad they have a delicious vegetable option, because all too often student cafeterias place too much emphasis on meat-options.

Not lacking protein/ Eco-sustainable meal/ Huzzah! Good for you!

Sambal egg: Or chilli egg. It’s not very spicy, sort of sweet with a mild kick. Eggs are an excellent protein source. Ovo-vegetarian too!

Melty-soft eggplant/ Why are you so delicious?/ I like small diners.

Fried fish: A little bit of fried fish. Some days you feel like fried food. The batter is quite thick, but it’s well-drained. The fish inside is delicate, sweet and flakes easily. It won’t win any prizes for the Best Battered Fish, but it’s fresh fish in a small diner. I think that deserves a prize of its own.

Today there's fried rice/ A tomato-based fried rice/ Plus three sides of choice.

Tofu with green capsicum: I liked this. It wasn’t bland at all. There’s also another variation of tofu, in the picture with eggplant, which is sambal tofu (with carrots and beans). That is delicious too.
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