Nasi Padang 8789: Not the hidden gem I was hoping for

We all love a pleasant, happy-ending story but they can’t all be fairy-tales, can they? My colleague, Gillian suggested I cover Nasi Padang 8789 because she had passed it a number of times at 243 Cantonment Road Coffeeshop but hadn’t sampled their fare. I was intrigued— could this be one of those elusive hidden gems?


Reading up about the it, I could see the appeal of its backstory: a heritage stall run by an elderly couple who met each other in primary school, now married for close to 50 years. It had all the charm of a feel-good Hallmark made-for-TV movie.

Plus, the stall itself has been around for almost half a century— that’s an automatic guarantee of the food’s quality and taste, right? I was eager to try it out.

What I tried at Nasi Padang 8789


I enjoy the versatility of nasi padang and there were no less than 21 options on display at the counter of Nasi Padang 8789.


Asking for the chicken curry first, I received a pretty large drumstick and a ladle of the curry that looked quite appetising. I pointed at the tray of eggplant next under the assumption that Mr. Hee would give me a slice of one piece. However, he proceeded to place the entire 20-cm piece on my plate. Very generous.

Next, I got tofu, which I love, before rounding up my lunch spread with pineapple in curry for a touch of sweetness. I counted 12 pineapple wedges in all, which is considerable. The whole meal cost me S$6.


Tucking into the chicken, I found the meat to not be cooked so well. The flesh could have been more tender and flavourful and there was quite a bit of fat hanging off it. Looking for greener pastures, I moved on to the veggies.


On the outside, the eggplant was well coated in gravy and made my mouth water. All that visual promise was broken as soon as I took a bite. It was practically uncooked. In parts, the eggplant flesh was almost as crisp as an apple. I was getting alarmed. This story wasn’t panning out the way I had hoped.


My pineapple remained— usually, the saving grace of sweetness— but I discovered that while there were pieces aplenty, they were all very bland. The only flavour I could taste was the saltiness from the gravy, meaning that the pineapple itself was not sweet.


Tasteless on its own, tofu absorbs and enhances the flavours of other dishes to enhance a meal. On this plate, it just had no ammo to work with and ended up standing alone as a tasteless piece of tofu. The entire meal turned out to be one huge disappointment.

None of this was helped along by the S$1.80 for a can of Coke from the drinks stall next door. Daylight robbery, I tell you, that too a stone’s throw from the Police Cantonment Complex just down the road.

Final thoughts

I was touched by Mr. Hee’s character. When I asked him about prices before ordering, he must have thought I was short of money and said, “For you, rice and 1 dish, $1.50 can.” After he scooped a bowl of rice out, he turned to me and asked if I wanted more. Damn, maybe I just look poor.

Watching Mrs. Hee sitting before the heat of the stove on 3 stacked plastic chairs, diligently working the wok while her husband dealt with customers at the front, I really wanted to give Nasi Padang 8789 a good rating.

nasi padang - padang dish

But the proof is in the padang. I visited at lunchtime and the bak kut teh stall next door was doing a roaring business with no less than 18 people in queue. Meanwhile, Nasi Padang 8789 was practically deserted. In the hour or so I spent there, fewer than 10 customers came a-calling.

My own experience of the food was quite underwhelming and I wonder if I should return for another try. After all, I did see over 20 different items on display but am basing this review on 4 of them.

Expected damage: S$1.50 – S$8.50 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 2 / 5

Nasi Padang 8789

243 Cantonment Road, Singapore 089770

Our Rating 2/5

Nasi Padang 8789

243 Cantonment Road, Singapore 089770

Telephone: +65 9853 0578
Operating Hours: 7am – 5pm (Mon to Fri), 7am – 2pm (Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: +65 9853 0578

Operating Hours: 7am – 5pm (Mon to Fri), 7am – 2pm (Sat), Closed on Sun