Who can forget the uproar back in 2018 when Greg Wallace criticised Malaysia-born contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin on her chicken rendang? Not us, that’s for sure.
If you need a reminder, his exact words were: “I like your rendang flavour, there’s a coconut sweetness. However, the chicken skin isn’t crispy. It can’t be eaten and all the sauce is on the skin so I can’t eat it.” Take your KFC and go, Greg, because we don’t know any world in which a chicken rendang comes with crispy skin.
The spicy meat dish hails from Indonesia, and is typically made with chicken or beef. The process is a laborious one: it starts with creating the rempah (spice paste), before it’s stir-fried and slow cooked in gentle simmer of coconut to add to the richness of the dish, and cooked until most of the liquid is thickened and the flavour infuses into the meat. We’re salivating at this point.
We’re sure the best rendang to you is the one made by your mom or grandma, but if you need a quick fix without having to bother them too much, we’ve got just the list in Singapore for you.
Where to find the best rendang in Singapore:
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Of course HJH Maimunah is on the list — why wouldn’t it be? The nasi padang joint sees snaking queues even before they’re open, armed with a whole medley of dishes that will leave you stuffed for sure. Besides the sambal goreng, another crowd favourite here is the chicken rendang, so tender it quite literally falls off the bone.
HJH Maimunah has multiple locations around the island.
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Rumah Makan Minang may have more than 20 dishes to choose from on their nasi padang menu, but one dish we’re sure to order? The beef rendang. The rempah is thick and especially flavourful — think tender chunks of marinated beef cooked over a slow charcoal fire. Besides the outlet at Tampines, there’s another one along Kandahar street as well.
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Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang has been serving diners for more than half a century since its inception in the 60s, and they are still a popular dining locale for many even today. The beef rendang for instance, sees tenderised pieces of meat that’s been infused with coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger leaves, galangal and more for at least four hours, which imparts a deeply rich flavour with every bite.
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You’ll find unpretentious vibes and just honest-to goodness food here at Warong Nasi Pariaman. The one of the longest-running nasi padang joints in Singapore, they’ve been dishes out comforting dishes since its inception in 1948. The beef rendang here features delightfully smokey chunks of tender beef cubes, complete with an additive, super thick rendang gravy. Other must order dishes on the menu here? Get the Ayam Bakar.
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If you’re dining at Warung M. Nasir, you’ll find that the beef or chicken rendang is on just about everyone’s plates. The fork tender beef cubes settle in a thick, spicy gravy, and the chicken rendang also leans towards a drier, richer, Indonesian version of rendang.
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Okay, Rempapa isn’t Indonesian in roots, we know. Yet, the restaurant is chef Damian D’Silva’s lovesong to Singapore’s culinary traditions of new and old, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rendang in the menu too. Rendang was always cooked with lamb at home when his grandfather was around, which is why the locale serves up a mean version of Lamb Leg Rendang. Here, a wet spice paste of shallots, dried chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galanghal, and candlenuts are first fried in oil before fresh coconut milk and a spice blend is added to the mix. The boneless lamb pieces cooked in it are melt-in-your-mouth tender, and they come soaked in an addictive sauce you’ll want to order second servings of rice for.
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