Nasi Kandar Pulau Pinang
Awarded by William Chen
Nasi Kandar Pulau Pinang by Chef Joe is the first genuine Nasi Kandar eatery in Auckland. Nasi Kandar is associated with Pulau Pinang (Penang Island) where the Indian community today continues the culinary traditions they brought so long ago. Nasi Kandar is all about rice (nasi) and an assortment of curries, sides and condiments that in Penang are sold by itinerant hawkers who carry the food in baskets hanging from bamboo poles (kandar). The chalkboard menu varies from time to time but the staples are always on offer. Nasi Kandar Kuning, for example, comprises turmeric rice, with cabbage thoran (finely chopped cabbage cooked with shallots, chillies, fresh grated coconut and spices), okra, coconut sambal and curry sauce ladled over the rice. Accompanying or side dishes include beef rendang, lamb curry, goat curry, fish curry, chicken all black and sambal brinjal. However, if you see salmon masak lemak (salmon cooked in coconut milk curry), order it immediately as it’s the star of the Nasi Kandar show. Outside of the Nasi Kandar menu are stand-alone mains of nasi lemak and roti curry. Everything on the menu is so authentic it will transport you to the kopitiams (coffee shops) and hawker stalls of Malaysia. Note: if you wish to enhance your Nasi Kandar experience, you’re encouraged to eat with your hands. Chef Joe Singam and wife Alexandra never compromise on the spices and ingredients that feature in their dishes; it’s all as fresh as possible, including the spices which they grind themselves. Thanks to the team at Nasi Kandar Pulau Pinang by Chef Joe for bringing the street food of Nasi Kandar to Auckland. We’re ready for it.