The simplicity of Nasi Padang

Nasi (steamed white rice) , Gulai Ayam (curry chicken), Begedil (meat potato patty), Telur Masin (salted egg) with stir fried mixed veggies

Penangites love to eat. We eat all the time. I’ve known friends who will drive all the way up from Kuala Lumpur when their cravings take over. Our food connects people, I believe its because of our very colourful history , the blend of spices and herbs as marinate or paste triggers not only your palette but passes through your heart before it settles in your tummy. Watch Anthony Bourdain’s culinary adventures in Penang here 🙂 

Our food is influenced by Thailand, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, China, the Portuguese , the Middle East and the British. It’s a crazy mix, but Penangites can identify with this crazy mix. Our food put us on the map! 

“If I have to choose the top three places in the world as a food destination, Penang would definitely be the first, followed by Mexico City and London,” James Oseland

Nasi Padang originates from Padang, Indonesia. The steamed white rice is placed in the centre of the plate, like the sun, and condiments are placed around, like planets. Some Nasi Padang restaurants may offer up to 50 different varieties of condiments. Meats, fish, seafood, chicken, and vegetables are cooked in many different styles, and in different types of spice, herbs and marinates. In Padang, Indonesia, tapas type plates are offered to you at your table, in Penang, you’ll have to carry your plate around and scoop up your choices then you will be charged accordingly at the main cashier.

Nasi Melayu, which basically translate to Malay Rice, is the same concept of scoop and pour. The curries and styles of cooking are traditional family recipes of the chef du jour. It’s rare to find authentic Indonesian cuisine here, but authentic to Malay style, none the less. Nasi Campur , is also a term used, it translates to “Rice Mixed”.

Here are some on Nasi Padang / Nasi Melayu / Nasi Campur eats with links to Google maps.  We’ll be adding more to this list, so watch this space!

  1. Mutiara Nasi Padang, Tanjung Bungah  $$
  2. Noor Bee Nasi Melayu $
  3. Nasi Melayu Lidiana Tanjung Bungah $
  4. Restoran Nasi Padang Minang $$$
  5. Ajid Cafe Batu Feringghi $


$ – cheap (average RM6/pax) , $$ – moderate (average RM9/person)  , $$$ – moderate to high (average  RM15/person)


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