Words & photos by B.L. Khoo
I am always on the lookout for new eateries, not only to try the food but to support these people who made the decision to venture into their own businesses. Regardless of the business size, it is not easy to start even with a small hawker stall. It requires planning, capital, manpower and a lot of hard work. I have seen many eateries open and close in a very short time.
I guess many people just think that the food business is simple and easy to operate but have to give up when it turned out otherwise. Personally, I believe that in order to succeed you need to be really passionate in what you do and be prepared to persevere.
Jasmin has been working around in the hospitality industry for many years before deciding to set up his stall at Goodall Food Court, Tanjung Tokong (next to Island Plaza). It has taken him a while to make the decision as there are a lot of food stalls around this area but deep down inside he was confident of success using his family’s secret recipes.
Traditionally, Nasi Tomato is only served during weddings and Ramadan but now this is sold in many places throughout the year because of its popularity, not only with the Malay community but with other races too.
Originally, Basmati rice was used to make Nasi Tomato but due to its high cost, many now resorted to using local rice. When I asked the owner of Nasi Tomato Mak Min, he assured me that only local quality Jasmine rice and real tomato paste were used, unlike some other stall owners who had compromised by using food colouring on the rice.
Many people love to have Nasi Tomato with Ayam Masak Merah and Jelatah Kerabu Timun (pickled cucumber with pineapple, onions and chilies), but this stall also has a special Dalcha Mango that goes perfectly with it. I am sure there is no other stall in Penang that serve ‘dalcha’ with Mango. It is tasteful with a bit of tangy zing from the mangoes. A definite speciality!
I have also tried the Daging Hitam (Black Beef) which is cooked in thick, dark soya sauce. The beef is tender and nice. Jasmin insisted that I must also try his Daging Rendang Mak Min on my next visit which is only cooked on alternative days. I have also ordered the Ikan Gulai which tasted good and was told that no santan (coconut milk) is used in the curry.
So for those of you who may be health conscious, this is definitely your kind of curry! Jasmin is quick to point out that all dishes are cooked daily using only fresh ingredients and spices.
I can’t wait to try his other dishes which he will expand when business picks up. So if you are around that area, do drop by if you are looking for Y.B (Your Best) Choice of Nasi Tomato!