Sabar Menanti Restaurant

Located in the nasi padang belt of the famous Kandahar Street in Kampong Java, Sabar Menanti is a well-loved Malay restaurant serving authentic Minangkabau dishes.  The restaurant is aptly named, for in English, Sabar Menanti means wait patiently, which one has to do, as the queue to get to the food in this restaurant is usually long. Started over 47 years ago, the running of the restaurant has passed on from the original owner from Sumatra, Haji Marlian, to his children.  Branches of the restaurant that dish out Padang food have also sprung up around Kandahar Street.

Sabar Menanti is the name of a well-known nasi padang restaurant serving dishes that are specialties of the Sumatran Minangkabau people. The cuisine is named after the provincial capital, Padang. Sabar Menanti is a simple restaurant occupying a pre-World War II colonial shop-house in the padang food belt of Kandahar Street, in the vicinity of the Sultan Mosque. Together with Warong Nasi Pariaman, it is one of the two most popular padang restaurants in Singapore serving authentic padang food. Most of their food would be sold out by lunchtime. 

Sabar Menanti Restaurant was founded by the late Haji Marlian Athar (b. Kuraiti, Pariaman province, South Sumatra - d. 1978).  Also known as Bagindo Marlian, he came to Singapore more than 47 years ago, rented a room in Palembang Road and set up a small food stall. The business grew to become a modest restaurant that was very popular. Haji Marlian passed away in 1978 and the restaurant business was passed on to his children and his wife, Hajah Rosmah Mailu.  The family-run business that has not changed hands ever since has extended to several branches, all managed by Haji Marlian's family, particularly his children.

In 1998, it was reported that there were altogether six padang restaurants owned by the extended family. Three of the six stalls were called Sabar Menanti Siang dan Malam (SMSM), located at Kandahar Street and North Bridge Road where the office of the Royal Press used to be. Ran by children of Haji Marlian's first wife, Yusmal, Rizal, Tarmizi and Maryulis, these restaurants were neighbours to another padang restaurant owned by Haji Marlian's youngest child, Zubaidah, called the Rumah Makan Minang at the corner of Kandahar Street and Muscat Street. Another daughter, Hajah Ratnah, from Haji Marlian's first wife, owned a nasi padang stall called the Hajah Ratnah Nasi Padang.

Signature dishes
Currently, the Sabar Menanti restaurants are listed as Nasi Padang Sabar Menanti II located in North Bridge Road, and Sabar Menanti Restaurant & Catering at Kandahar Street.  The food served here is still as tantalising as it was before. As early as 6.30 am, the restaurant starts serving the breakfast menu and closes only at 4.30 pm. Their popular dishes are ikan bakar (barbequed fish), dendeng Balado (smoked meat Balado style), ayam goreng (fried chicken) and rendang (spicy beef dish). But the most unique and most requested dish at their stalls is opor nangka (young jackfruit and beef tripe cooked in a thick gravy). 50  kilograms of rice are cooked everyday at the main stall. There are also set meals that include different types of rice meals. For breakfast there are mee siam, lontong, nasi lemak and mee rebus. And on Fridays, they serve gado-gado and laksa. To avoid a long queue, one must come before noon.

Marsita Omar

Alijah Batcha. (2004, July 11). Tak sabar menanti. Berita Minggu p. 5.

Norhaiza Hashim. (2004, June 14). Perlu kecekapan, stamina tinggi untuk bertahan dalam niaga makanan. Berita Harian, p. 6.

Puad Ibrahim. (1997, October 18). Membongkar rahsia silam Bussorah Street. Berita Harian, p. 18.

Tan, T. (2003, October 25). To dine for. The Australian.

Warung sumber rezeki keluarga. (1998, November 8). Berita Minggu, p. 14.

The information in this article is valid as at 2006 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Ethnic restaurants--Singapore
Ethnic Communities>>Food
Ethnic foods

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