Nasi Padang In Gombak

Plates of lauk stacked pyramid style in Selero Bundo.
Plates of lauk stacked pyramid style in Selero Bundo.

Fond of Indonesian food? EWE PAIK LEONG recommends three restaurants in Gombak which serve nasi padang with many delectable dishes.

A perfect lunch from Tok Li: sirap bandung, fried tilapia, kari tempe and pucuk ubi kayu.
A perfect lunch from Tok Li: sirap bandung, fried tilapia, kari tempe and pucuk ubi kayu.
Tok Li's keropok udang makes for a perfect snack, before and after meals.
Tok Li's keropok udang makes for a perfect snack, before and after meals.
Citra Minang's offerings are richly flavoured with lime, lemongrass, fresh chillies and galangal.
Citra Minang's offerings are richly flavoured with lime, lemongrass, fresh chillies and galangal.

THE district of Gombak in Selangor was once synonymous with Mimaland and Rumah Pak Ali. Both are now in the pages of history. But, another thing it was famous for still lives — nasi padang!

At least six nasi padang eateries thrive in this district.

To kick-start our culinary adventure, let us take a trip down memory lane into the history of Gombak.

The Minangkabaus were the first foreigners to settle in Gombak. In 1641, when Melaka fell to the Dutch with the help of Johor, the new colonial masters brought along Bugis mercenaries from Sulawesi to Selangor.

Many of them settled in Gombak. As a result, this district has a sizeable community whose descendants hail from Indonesia. Their cultural legacy included the Padang-style cuisine, simply called nasi padang.

Three eateries dominate the nasi padang scene in Gombak. They are Citra Minang, Tok Li Nasi Padang & Such and Selera Bundo. Their dishes range from spicy curries to mild, aromatic stews and deep-fried delicacies.

Citra Minang

The grand dame is Citra Minang, set up 15 years ago by an Indonesian couple.

The design of the eatery itself tells passers-by that nasi padang is on offer.

Its ambiance is truly Indonesian. A wall-mounted television continually screens Indonesian movies from VCDs, and the patrons are mostly Indonesians. The smell of kretek wafts heavily in the air.

Displayed in a glasscase are bowls of daging rendang (dry beef curry), kari urat (beef tendon curry), perut masak lemak (beef stomach cooked in coconut curry), kari ayam (chicken curry), ikan bakar dengan sambal (grilled fish with sambal), kepala ikan masak lemak cili padi (fish head in coconut milk and cili padi), daging cincang (beef curry), sambal terung (eggplant with sambal) and kerabu udang (prawn salad).

Self-service is the keyword here. My plate was loaded with kari jering (tasted like potato in texture), tempe (soya bean patties), ikan bakar dengan sambal and ikan goreng (fried fish).

The perfect complementary drink was, of course, sirap bandung.

After my meal — that almost sent me to heaven — I overhead a patron hollering “air padang”. Out of curiosity, I also tried a glass. It tasted like Chinese tea, but has a grassy aroma.

Citra Minang is located at Lot 10L-124, Batu 6 3/4, Simpang Tiga, Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

To get there from the city centre, travel along Jalan Setapak and turn left to Jalan Gombak. Proceed past Pasar Besar Gombak on your left, Gombak Post Office on your right and Kompleks Idaman on the left. Continue straight through three traffic lights. About 500 metres after the third traffic light, you can see a huge blue signboard that says “Pengedar NIPPON PAINT”. The Minangkabau-roofed Citra Minang is located next to it.

Tok Li Restoran Nasi Padang & Such

It is fast making a name for itself in Taman Sri Gombak. Its signature dish is rendang daging minang (beef rendang). As displayed on a board, other regular items include gulai cincang, ayam gulai, ayam goreng, ayam pop and various fish and vegetable dishes.

I found it odd that the word “gulai” was used instead of “kari”. Anyway, my culinary adventure was rice with ikan tilapia, pucuk ubi kayu (boiled tapioca leaves) and curry tempe, and a glass of sirap bandung. All for only RM5.70!

The pucuk ubi kayu was absolutely exotic, while the fried tilapia fish was fresh and crunchy. Keropok udang (prawn crackers) are also available as a side order. It tasted great when dipped in its special sauce.

The sirap bandung here was stronger as compared to that of Citra Minang.

Tok Li’s catering menu is interesting, offering kung po beef, ginger beef, black pepper beef, ikan patin tempoyak, ayam goreng bumbu and crunchy roti canai served with gulai padang, among others.

Hanita Mohamed, the owner of the restaurant, was not around but her name card revealed that she has an accounting qualification, and a van parked outside is evidence of the restaurant’s catering success.

Tok Li Nasi Padang & Such is located at 95, Jalan SG 3/1, Pusat Bandar Sri Gombak. Tel: 03-61878803.

To get there, first go to Taman Sri Gombak from Jalan Kuching, Jalan Gombak or Jalan Sentul. Proceed along Jalan Utama Sri Gombak, and turn at the first right. The road will lead you to the SG3 phase. Housed in a corner lot of a shophouse, the restaurant faces the Karak Highway.

Selero Bundo

My top choice of nasi padang eateries in Gombak is Selero Bundo, owned by an Indonesian named Bapak Haji Yun.

Almost 40 dishes are served here — name it and you have it! The plates of lauk are stacked pyramid-style inside a glass container. Aluminium pots contain curries of various kinds. You can also choose keropok emping and roti Arab as snacks — the latter looks like roti canai and is eaten with gravy.

Selero Bundo is also strong on vegetable dishes, with bitter gourd, hairy gourd, angle gourd, and acar (to mention but a few) on offer.

My meal consisted of rice with fried eel, ox intestine, chicken rendang and a skewer of fried prawns. The ox intestine had a strong limau purut (lime leaf) flavour, and those not used to eating beef won’t know what they are eating except that it is delicious!

To my surprise, the rendang ayam was mild; the freshly fried eel crumpled like fried anchovy between my teeth. The meal cost me RM13.

The hard-to-get keropok emping was a delight. In the evening, sate padang is also sold. A variety of meat such as beef, chicken, mutton and lidah (ox tongue) is available. I was told that the gravy served with sate padang is absolutely different from our local satay.

Check out Selero Bundo at Lot 2345-10, Jalan Greenwood, Gombak. Getting there involves heading to Taman Greenwood from either Jalan Gombak, Jalan Sentul or Jalan Kuching. Located on the main road, the restaurant faces the Proton Edar Service Centre, near an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Selero Bundo opens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Source: NST


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