when i first heard the name of this makan place, i wanted him to repeat - especially since he was saying it in thick penang accent!
"nasi kandaq beratoq, kat masjid kapitan kelin."
the name of the coveted dish is nasi kandar beratur, or roughly translated as 'a kandar rice you have to queue for' - haha, betoi ka? is it THAT good, that people would spend hours lining up just to get a plate of steamed white rice, curry and fried chicken?
it's situated right next to the kapitan keling mosque, at one of the oldest areas in penang. you gotta go there yourself to believe it!
kapitan keling mosque
a bit of history lesson
set at a corner lot, patrons do not line up inside the restaurant. rather, an awning is placed between the restaurant outer wall, and the wall of the mosque next to it - and a small stall is where the lining up begins.
'nasi kandar beratur' only opens at 10pm, believe it or not. must have been freaking popular during the world cup season.
if you arrive earlier, you WILL see a stall of nasi kandar already operating - that's NOT the nasi kandar beratur. this 'early' nasi kandar operator will 'close-shop' right before 9.45pm, to give way to the REAL nasi kandar beratur.
we arrived at 9.15pm, and the nasi kandar freak (yes, mr. khairul who else) insisted that we wait.
tak bukak lagi!
the grill door was completely closed when we arrived and slowly opened up as the minutes passed by. we can even see containers of lauk pauk and curries set aside at a table inside the restaurant. these containers were to be placed at the stall outside.
by 9.30pm, an unassuming, humble-looking indian muslim pakcik (suspected owner of the nasi kandar beratur) suggested that we start lining up. baik pakcik tu.
ha? for real? but it's only 9.30pm!
mr. khairul's parents went ahead anyway, and were the first to line up in front of the small stall beside the restaurant.
true enough, seconds after one man lined up behind mr. khairul's mom. then another joined in. and another, and another. soon, a good number of people formed a rather long line already, waiting for the nasi kandar.
and it's not even 9.50pm yet!
truly the nasi kandar BERATUR!
people were just lining up and waited patiently - watching the restaurant staff prepare the stall (which includes clean-up, placing of the lauk containers and plates). 10pm came, and the stall was officially open.
i was so glad we were first in line!
but imagine this - my father in law was only ONE person lining up, and even he had about 8 plates to order. how many minutes do you think it will take to pour nasi, pilih lauk, cedok kuah and so on?
imagine if at 10pm itself there were already more than 30 people lining up, and each person had about 2-5 plates to get. what time would that last person get his or her plate of nasi kandar?
according to the self-confessed nasi kandar specialist prof. khairul, this is what a perfect nasi kandar dish should look like. steamed rice hidden under lump of thick curry - mixed from no less than 3 types of curry.
below is MY plate. this plate of nasi kandar, according to prof. khairul, is a disgrace to nasi kandar lovers such as himself.
haha. if i had my way, i had wanted the mixed curries to be put aside, or in malay term - 'kuah asing, ye!' but my idea was shunned by the nasi kandar specialist!
ish, sukatilah! hihi.
order iced milo, teh o suam or sirap - enjoy it with your 'hard-earned' plate of nasi kandar, because god knows how long you had to line up just to get a plate!
i think it's not fair for me to judge this, or any nasi kandar, as i am not a fan - but a short interview with the nasi kandar specialist aka penang boy aka mr. khairul proved that this nasi kandar is definitely worth lining up an hour for!
comparitively speaking, he said it's as good as the ultra-famous line clear nasi kandar (click here for our makan session there last year). however, the best thing about nasi kandar beratur is the telur sotong. fresh, delicious. if you want to try the best telur sotong with nasi kandar, try the one at masjid kapitan keling.
don't forget to come really early and line up!