I’ve been so invested in making my way to multiple places around the island, I can’t believe I forgoed the hidden gems around my own vicinity. Lo and behold, Raden Lina Nasi Padang, a stall so upfront, they even have an ‘à la carte dishes’ menu laid out for you to see. Which is rare for a nasi padang stall (yes, this is directed to all nasi padang makciks out there who decide the price of our meals upon order).
After hearing only raving reviews of Raden Lina Nasi Padang, I set aside a day, and crossed over to West Plaza’s Koufu— where the stall is located in. Comfort food right at my doorstep? This I had to try for myself!
What I tried
What’s going to a nasi padang stall without having a plate of nasi padang? I opted to go the à la carte route and got myself Ayam Masak Merah, Fried Potatoes, Kangkung Belacan with a side of sweat-inducing Sambal Belacan for only S$6.30.
Like any kind of Ayam Masak Merah, the chicken here’s perfectly cooked. The chicken easily slid off the bone and was surprisingly juicy. The sauce wasn’t too sweet, and had the right balance of sugar and chillies, making it incredibly light and palatable.
Personally, I tend to shy away from ordering Ayam Masak Merah because it’s usually loaded with too much sugar or tomato, making it incredibly tangy for my liking, but the one here easily ranks a close first in my books.
Unlike the common fried potato with sausage dishes you often find at any nasi padang or cai png stalls, over here their fried potatoes come without sausage, which is very rare.
As a self-proclaimed potato connoisseur, the fried potatoes were soft and easy to eat. What’s more, it also had crispy skin. Honestly, the majority of nasi padang stalls tend to overlook their potato dishes and often churn out semi-hard cubes of starchy goodness but over at Raden Lina, they cook every dish meticulously, which is commendable!
This dish is a personal favourite of mine. Kangkung Belacan not only elevates a dish but gives you the necessary greens you need in your diet. I took one bite and was greeted with a soft crunch with a subtle burst of belacan. I loved how the belacan didn’t overpower my palate, leaving behind only a mildly sweet and nutty aftertaste.
Ok, here’s my beef (no pun intended), the rice. While the portioning was a lot for a small eater like me, the rice was extremely clumpy with a consistency resembling that of glutinous rice. Normally it would bother me, but considering how the three picked dishes were amazing, I let it slide. However, if you’re particular about your serving of grains, I’d suggest you go without it.
All in all, my plate of rice was ugly yet delicious.
So here’s the deal— I love biryani. And whenever I share that it’s a staple hangover food for me because of the complexity that goes in a simple dish, people don’t seem to get it. Of course, when I saw that they had biryani on the menu, I had to order myself a plate of decadent Mutton Biryani (S$6.50).
Over at Raden Lina, the aromatic plate of Basmati rice isn’t filled with hidden bits of cardamom (the bane of my existence) or cloves. I popped a spoonful of the fragrant rice into my mouth and was instantly greeted with an amalgamation of sweet, woody, and floral-esque flavours.
I never forget about good food and have spent years finding a biryani dish similar to the one I used to indulge in every Friday as an angsty teenager when I was in Secondary School. Hence, you best believe I was swimming in a pool of biryani goodness when I finally found it!
What was placed before me was a generous serving of mutton doused in a thicc spice-laden gravy. The chunks of mutton were soft, tender, and not gamey at all.
Tender to a point where there was little to no chewiness, these bite-size pieces of mutton were melt-in-my-mouth morsels of deliciousness. Needless to say, I was enjoying every mouthful.
As with everything on the plate, the achar was immaculate. Sweet and tangy, it had all the components to further bring the dish to the next level. I’m not a fan of cucumbers, but pickled cucumbers are of a different calibre.
As it was pouring cats and dogs, I had to appease my semi-full tummy with some warmth and comfort. Cue, Bee Hoon Soto (S$4).
As with their other dishes, Raden Lina is generous with their portions. Considering how I was about to burst, the bowl could easily feed three small eaters. Alas, all good things had to come to an end.
I was expecting the bowl of Bee Hoon Soto to explode with rich flavours of chicken bones and spices, but was disappointed. What I had was a bowl of non-oily flavoured water with subtle hints of chicken. While they weren’t stingy with their bee hoon, they sure were with their shredded chicken. It could just be me because I love my bowl of Bee Hoon Soto oily and spicy.
I’m still beating myself up about not finding out about Raden Lina’s stall sooner. I love Malay cuisine and I’m over the moon to know they’re located just a stone’s throw away from me.
Although disappointed with the bowl of Bee Hoon Soto, I foresee myself coming back often like an addict to get my Nasi Padang or Nasi Briyani fix. Besides, the dishes here are affordable too!
I’m confident to say that the range of flavours that Raden Lina has to offer is definitely one that is hard to beat. Be sure to head down before or after lunch time to avoid the snaking queues!
Expected damage: S$4 – S$6.50 per pax
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