Not to be confused with Nasi Padang, Nasi Ambeng is a traditional Javanese rice platter served with a slew of rempah-based ingredients that can be found in most Indonesian staple dishes.
Located at Bedok South Market and Food Centre, Enak should be your go-to stall if you’re looking for one of the most delicious and value-for-money Nasi Ambeng feasts in town.
Served in a huge circular tray, the Nasi Ambeng ($17 for 2 pax, $34 for 4 pax) can easily feed a few hungry people in one sitting.
Since we came in a pair, we opted for the second largest portion, which was just right when shared among the both of us.
The platter consists of white rice topped with bawang goreng (fresh shallots) on top. All this is surrounded by a widespread variety of side dishes, including *deep breath* terung (sambal brinjal), sambal goreng, bergedil, achar, ayam lemak, beef rendang, sambal cuttlefish, sambal tahu tempe goreng, beansprouts and telur asin (salted egg).
And of course, a good amount of sambal belacan on the side.
One of my favourite components of the dish was definitely the Terung (Spicy Brinjal). Fried with a super sedap chilli paste, the eggplant was soft and had a mushy consistency that paired well with the dollop of sauce ladled over it.
Taken together with the crunchy Sambal Goreng, which is essentially tofu and string beans stir-fried with sambal belacan, this certainly contributed a mix of textures to our plate.
The Bergedil (Potato Patty) is hands down one of my go-to sides to order when having Nasi Padang. Mashed before being fried, these potato patties are sort of the Indonesian equivalent of a potato croquette, but coated with far less batter.
If you need a reprieve from the spicier items on the platter, have at least one of these as, they are really the only ingredients that aren’t drenched with chilli.
To cut through the other heavier flavours, go for the Achar Nanas (Pickled Vegetables). Pickled with pineapples, the combination of spiciness and sourness from the vegetables really did offer a refreshing change to our palates.
And of course, you must have the Beef Rendang that is braised in a savoury blend of coconut milk, lending the spicy flavours a hint of that much needed sweetness. The beef itself was served in generous chunks and boasted a shredded texture that pulled apart easily to reveal some pretty tender flesh.
On the side, we also had the Telur Asin (Salted Egg), which added a nice touch of saltiness to the table and helped to combat some of the spice from the gravy.
If you prefer chicken, the Ayam Lemak or “white curry chicken” is equally as good as the beef. Cooked in a thick gravy that consists of coconut milk, the chicken smelt fragrant from the infusion and tasted tender too.
Other condiments on the platter include cubes of pineapple, cucumber, onions and carrots that served as a nice crunch after we polished off the main ingredients.
If spice is the name of your game, then Enak’s Nasi Ambeng is definitely for you because almost everything on the platter comes with a dash of spice. And, if that’s not enough to satisfy you, then you will take comfort in knowing that there are dollops of good ol’ sambal belacan served on the side.
And hey, if you’re dining alone, fret not; they also have individual portions starting at $6.50 to go with your choice of chicken or beef. I’d say it’s pretty damn worth it, either way.
Expected Damage: $6.50 – $34