Monday, April 15, 2013

Nasi Padang River Valley

Even though Nasi Padang River Valley (NPRV) is a little tucked away along Zion Road so that passer-bys might not even know it serves nasi padang, many Singaporeans seem to know of it. I do not remember how we got to know of NPRV or when we first started having their nasi padang, but mom has been "da pao-ing" from NPRV occasionally for at least the past 10 years.

ieatishootipost was told by the 2nd generation owner of NPRV that most of the dishes are from Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, but "have been have all been modified to suit the local tastebuds and in particular, the local Chinese palate", resulting in the food tasting "generally milder and sweeter instead of salty and spicy as it is back home".

If you eat at NPRV, you will find that the dishes are definitely and starkly sweeter compared to Malay and Indonesian nasi padang, and are very, very much milder (to me at least).

Clockwise from top left: beef rendang, sayur lodeh, 
sambal brinjal, chicken korma, assam fish curry

NPRV's assam fish curry is usually a dish mom orders for herself because she likes fish. The assam curry is generally not too bad and lends good flavour to the mackeral. Submerged in the curry are slivers of soft, naturally sweet onion that are a joy when found.

The sambal brinjal tastes average and is oily, so you may want to save your calories for something else.

We usually order the chicken curry instead of the chicken korma, because pretty much nothing can beat Rendezvous Restaurant's chicken korma. But the time I ordered NPRV's chicken korma for a change, it was a total lacklustre.

It is a bit funny that the sambal sotong is called sambal sotong, because I cannot taste any sambal in it. The gravy has more of a tomato-tasting base that is quite sweet for nasi padang standards. Yet, I think that this is one of NPRV's best dishes, because of the delicious gravy, and is one of the dishes that calories should be spent on. Whenever we "da pao" the sambal sotong, I reuse the leftover gravy on boiled meat or veggies for flavour. As for the sotong itself, pity that it is usually a little rubbery and overcooked.

Again, the style of NPRV's beef rendang is very different from normal nasi padang beef rendang in that it is obviously more sweet than savoury, and is only the littlelest bit spicy. Despite its usually-tender chunks of beef (but with little tendon unfortunately), I prefer my rendang savoury, bitingly spicy, and.. well, simply Tambuah Mas style.

Fortunately the chicken curry is not as sweet as the beef rendang because having an array of sweet nasi padang dishes makes the tastebuds bored. Anyhow, as the gravy has always been a little too watery for my taste, I usually have only the chicken meat and do not drink the curry gravy.

NPRV's sayur lodeh is standard and acceptable, but I would reserve my stomach space for something else unless you need veggies.

On the whole, NPRV's nasi padang is somewhat acceptable for trying out or when you run out of nasi padang places to eat at. I would not elevate it to the rank of staple like I do Tambuah Mas and Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang.

Nasi Padang River Valley
54 Zion Road
Singapore 247779

Tel: 67343383

Opening hours: 10.00am to 8.30pm daily except for Mondays and PH

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