Sunday, February 22, 2015

Malay Nasi Padang (rice eaten with various dishes)

Fried Gourami (Ikan Sepat) found in padi (rice) fields

Curried Cow's Pancreas

Deep-fried Pipefish

Some of dishes found in a nasi padang meal

The unique and very healthy salad that goes with the nasi padang

A rare dessert: Malay Rainbow cookies

Singapore being a multi-racial society and a global city, I have access to all kinds of food from every corner of the world. I can have Indian cuisine for breakfast, Malay cuisine for lunch, Western steak and wine for dinner; and Chinese porridge for supper.
But my favorite kind of food is the Malay Nasi Padang (rice eaten with a variety of meat, fish and vegetable). The variety of dishes concocted by nasi padang cooks is limitless, and here I showcase just a few. "Nasi" means rice, and "Padang"is a town on the island of Sumatra, where this kind of cuisine is said to have originated. 
There are many variations of nasi padang according to their geographical locations in Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore. In Indonesia, the nasi padang on Java isalnd, Sumatra island or in Sulawesi and the Moluccas are each very different.  But the best nasi padang are those found in the kampongs (villages) like on the East Coast of the Malay Peninsula. Here the wild plants and grasses can be plucked for salad,while the fresh water fishes and eels from the rice fields add to the variety. From the sea, the various fish and crustaceans provide a bounty of ingredients for nasi padang. 

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