Super Makan Asia @ Tiong Bahru Plaza
During one of our quick short lunch outings, my colleagues and I headed over to Tiong Bahru Plaza (if you followed my blog from its infant days, you would have read my short post on this hidden gem).
Instead of some restaurant or a fancy eatery that would normally have justified the train ride out of the city area into the suburbs, my colleagues brought me to a small eatery at the basement of Tiong Bahru Plaza called “Super Makan Asia” (SMA).
The eatery can seat at most 25 diners at any one time and serves simple local fare at affordable prices between SGD 4 to SGD 6.50.
I was deciding between having their Nasi Lemak (check out my other post where I had Nasi Lemak from another stall that is frequented by dignitaries including the Sultan of Brunei) or their Beef Rendang.
For those uninitiated, “Rendang is a popular dish of meat stewed in coconut milk and spices, commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.” Singaporeinfopedia describes it as:
The meat, usually beef but sometimes chicken or mutton, is stewed in coconut milk with spices such as ginger, chillies, galangal (blue ginger), lemongrass, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric. A wide rather than a deep pot is preferred to allow the milk to evaporate during a slow boil of up to three hours. Skill is required to ensure the liquid does not overboil and cause the milk to curdle. However, if the fire is too low, the meat could burn. Correctly cooked, the liquid will thicken into the distinctive rendang gravy. This cooking process has several purposes – it adds flavour to the meat as it is braised in the spices; it softens and tenderises the meat as the dish dries up; and it enhances the preservation of the dish, allowing it to remain edible even two to three days later without refrigeration or up to two weeks in the refrigerator. The dish is best eaten with rice and is sometimes consumed with ketupat (steamed pressed rice). It is more often served in hawker centres as one of several dishes in nasi padang.
I decided to go for their Rendang. As the portion appeared small on the menu, I decided to add one bowl of curry vegetables as a side:
Skip the vegetables and just go for the Rendang.
The eatery offers a no frills experience with their Rendang. It is back to the basics of just plain rice with Rendang. I would have preferred slightly softer rice though.
Nothing here that will distract the person from the rich gravy generously coating each tender beef cube. The flavour is intense and is enriched by chunks of fat that gives the dish an extra punch (if you are health conscious just leave those bits on the side). The serving is also commendable unlike those served by normal Nasi Padang stalls. In fact, I think I could have done with two servings of rice for the amount of Rendang on my plate!
At S$6.50 a portion, SMA’s Rendang is, I think, not only value for money but also offer a taste of classic Rendang in a modern setting. SMA’s Rendang deserves one and a half stars out of three. I may just make that trip to have it again.
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