Adam's Nasi Padang in Qin Garden

When I met Adam Soroso, he was operating his Nasi Padang stall within the Chinese coffee shop located at the corner where Jalan Trus meets Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

Regulars helping themselves at Adam's Nasi Padang
located within Qin Garden Coffee Shop at Jalan Dhoby
My cousin, Ryan, a true fan of his food – particularly enjoys the chunks of beef rendang drenched in its rich meaty gravy – on a mound of fragrant steamed white rice, a favourite meal when he was down at the city’s heritage quarter.

Along with cousin Ryan, this Nasi Padang has a band of loyal fans who followed Adam when his stall moved to Qin Garden Coffee Shop, a traditional kopitiam which opened on Jalan Trus.

When the kopitiam relocated to Jalan Dhoby, this Nasi Padang remained with them and loyal fans of Adam’s food followed his trail to dine regularly on a menu of local specialties served from breakfast to lunch or until stocks last.

Catherine helping herself to vegetable dishes from the spread
In 2013, I shared the story on Nasi Padang Qin Garden, highlighting the partnership between the kopitiam family and Adam and his popular Nasi Padang food.

Adam told me that the best time to drop by for a meal was about 11am when the freshly cooked dishes for the Nasi Padang was coming out from the kitchen.

Aware of this, I often arranged to meet friends for brunch at Qin Garden and enjoy some breakfast specialties like mee-siam, sotolontong and mee rebus or have a rice meal topped with the tasty dishes selected from the Nasi Padang.

Ever since I introduced Peter Cheong to the food at Adam’s Nasi Padang in 2013, he became an ardent fan.

Stir-fried French Beans for Catherine!
I connected with Peter, who read my story More than a museum – a feature on the Johor Baru Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery – and discovered that we are distantly related from the line of The Great Wongs of Johor Baru. But more about this in a separate story.

So when Peter’s daughter, Natasha, visited Johor Baru in 2014, we enjoyed another memorable Nasi Padang meal together while Qin Garden was located at Jalan Trus.

Recently, Peter contacted me again because his other daughter, Catherine, was visiting JB and he wanted to give her an experience in the JB Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery to learn more about their family heritage, just as he did when Natasha was here some five years ago.

“Can we meet for lunch, perhaps at Adam’s?” he asked in a text message. We have a mutual understanding and had dubbed the famous Nasi Padang – Adam’s.

Clearly Peter – who love food – had fond memories of his meal at Adam’s Nasi Padang and was longing for more.

Then he gave me advance notice that Catherine is a true vegan who only ate plant-based food.

Peter Cheong with his daughter, Catherine, at Qin Garden
This was useful info so that I could have a word with Adam to arrange for some strictly vegan dishes that would be suitable for her.

On the appointed day, Peter and I met again at Qin Garden koptiam, now located at Jalan Dhoby.

He was there with Catherine and some friends and it was good to catch up again over cups of traditional brewed coffee.

It was agreed that after a hearty Nasi Padang meal at Adam’s, we would set off on a walk across JB’s infamous Sungai Segget to the section of the city traditionally known as Kampung Wong Ah Fook to visit the JB Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery.

Beef Rendang is a popular choice from this Nasi Padang
It was then about 11.40am and regulars were arriving to take their first picks from the dishes arranged in the Nasi Padang spread that day.

I knew that Peter had a strategy to start with a portion of mee rebus (noodles) before going on to a rice meal topped with his choice of gravies from the freshly cooked dishes.

When I asked the lady serving us at the Nasi Padang to point out which were the vegan dishes, it dawned upon her that I was the one whom Adam told her about.

Then she reached behind the counter and brought out a box filled with stir-fried French beans – a vegetable dish specially prepared for Catherine!

The preserved plum is stuffed inside a whole lime!
Meanwhile the others, who were clearly carnivores, went for the famous beef rendang and the lady kindly added an extra dollop of meaty gravy…

After drinking cups of freshly brewed traditional coffee (a must-have at a kopitiam!), Catherine and I also ordered chilled lime juice with preserved plums for a refreshing end to our savoury meal.

In my experience, I would usually see the preserved plum swimming in the lime juice but at Qin Garden, I was pleasantly surprised to find the preserved plum stuffed inside a whole lime, a specialty prepared for a better flavour!

Autographing my Book 2 for Peter and Catherine
Before setting off on our walkabout, I presented Peter with a copy of My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, where I featured a story under Memories on Our Family Ties that highlighted our link to The Wong family in Johor.

[Peter was then back in Canada and did not attend my book launch events for Book 1 and Book 2. 

Now that he had my Book 2, we also decided to go to the nearest MPH bookstore in JB City Square to get a copy of my Book 1. He didn’t know but my fingers were crossed, hopeful that it was still in stock.]

Adam’s Nasi Padang is situated within Qin Garden kopitiam, located at No. 7 Jalan Dhoby, 80000 Johor Baru, Johor. Open early from 7am and closes at 4pm.

1 comment:

  1. aha! Adam’s, where one would fly in from halfway round the globe just to feast there! Thank you for the lovely account of our most recent indulging, the food was…as usual…out of this world! And together with great company, it’s a tough nut to crack.
    This Story is so well told, and lives up to Peggy’s tag line – “My Johor Stories”. Peggy is truly a prolific story teller and her stories command attention; I finished the two volumes of her book in one sitting (on my Aeroline trip back to KL). Never have I read two books in one sitting! Her writing style draws you into the story, you become a part of it and can’t let go, what can I say…just AWESOME!
    It was so nice seeing you again Peggy, and Cat, Pat, Nicky and I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon with you. Thank you again for the feature, you’re a champion and a darling cuz!