In our continuing coverage of Malaysia for the latest instalment in the BEST@ series, BEST@ Malaysia, we will be examining one of our favourite pastimes: eating Nasi Lemak
We’ve covered the peaks of our geography, iconic architecture, handicrafts, coconut-infused kuih, and various forms of traditional dance, as part of our closer look at the vast range of influences that make up the tapestry of Malaysian culture.
Most Malaysians have tried nasi lemak at least once in their lifetime – it’s our national dish after all. Nasi lemak is fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with pandan leaf. The rice later is served with a spicy sauce known as ‘sambal’, fresh cucumber slices, fried anchovies, peanuts, and topped with a hard-boiled or fried egg.
Traditionally, nasi lemak is served as a breakfast meal within the Malay community – but it is now enjoyed by everyone at any time of day, from breakfast to supper.
In March 2016, Nasi Lemak was apparently listed as one of the top 10 healthiest international breakfasts by Time magazine – but keep in mind, if you consume too much of it it won’t be healthy for you anymore due to the number of calories that Nasi Lemak has to offer. But if you’re not on a diet, we have great news for you – below are some of the most widely recognised nasi lemak stalls by around the Klang Valley. Grab your car keys and get yourself a nasi lemak now!
1. Nasi lemak Tanglin
Tang Lin, Jalan Cenderasari
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Operating Hours: 7 am to 1 pm daily
Nasi Lemak Tanglin is one of the most OG nasi lemak stand in KL. First started in 1948, this nasi lemak stand has been operating for 71 years. Located within Perdana Botanical Garden, Nasi Lemak Tanglin brings its customers closer to Mother Nature – so that they can walk the calories off in the adjacent bird park and butterfly park.
Here, the fluffy and soft rice is perfected with mildly spicy sambal. The sambal has a little touch of sweetness which makes the dish even more enjoyable. A variety of side dishes offered here include beef rendang and fried chicken – but the most famous ones are fried cow lungs and liver.
2. Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa
4, Jalan Raja Muda Musa
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12 pm to 6 pm daily and 6 pm to midnight on Mondays
Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa has been around since the 1980s. Here, you can fix your nasi lemak craving from morning to midnight since this particular establishment is also open at night. The restaurant is located in Kampung Baru and within walking distance from the Kampung Baru LRT station.
Their signature dish is nasi lemak with crispy and spiced fried chicken. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, the fried chicken is an explosion of textures and flavours. Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa is one of the most widely recognised nasi lemak stands in Kuala Lumpur – even local celebrities are often seen eating here. The cuttlefish sambal and fried cow lugs are the must-try side dishes here.
3. Nasi Lemak Yati and Suri
Medan Selera Jalan 223
No. 2, Jalan 223
46100 Petaling Jaya
Operating hours: 5 pm to 4 am daily
Another popular spot for nasi lemak enthusiasts is Nasi Lemak Yati and Suri in Petaling Jaya. Keep in mind that Yati and Suri are two different nasi lemak stalls – Nasi Lemak Suri has a blue label printed on the wrapper while Yati has the red one.
Both stalls have their regular customers: Yati has spicier and thicker sambal compared to Suri's, while Suri offers a wetter, sweeter version of sambal. If you don’t fancy spicy sambal, Go for Suri. If you enjoy your nasi lemak with a blood-dripping level of spiciness, grab Yati’s. Unlike most other establishments, orders are taken and dishes paid for at the tables – so you don’t have to jostle with crowds to get your nasi lemak fix.
4. Nasi Lemak Bumbung
Jalan 21/11b, Sea Park
46300 Petaling Jaya
Operating hours: 5.30 pm to 4 am on Mondays to Saturdays, 5.30 am to noon on Sundays
Despite the name, Nasi Lemak Bumbung isn’t located on a rooftop. Instead, it is located in a long alleyway behind Maybank in Petaling Jaya. This place gets especially busy at night. Having your nasi lemak out in the open at night gives you an authentic Malaysian dining experience.
Here, the nasi lemak is served with lightly fried and still-runny egg. The main attraction here is their fried chicken coated with various Indian spices. It’s the reason why people keep coming back here.
5. Nasi Lemak Wanjo
8, Jalan Raja Muda Musa
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 6 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 1 am daily
The legendary Nasi Lemak Wanjo has been around since 1963. It’s located in Kampung Baru, a few doors down from Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. If you can’t get your hands on Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, don’t worry because you can get just as good a nasi lemak fix here. It started as a roadside stall, but they now have their own restaurant. As with most other establishments in Kampung Baru, you can get nasi lemak here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or supper.
The sambal offered here is a little sweet, but you can opt for the cuttlefish sambal for a spicier kick. The main ingredient of this nasi lemak is still a mystery – the secret recipe has been passed through multiple generations without ever being revealed.
6. Nasi lemak @ Mali’s Corner
9, Jalan Langkawi
Taman Teratai Mewah
53000 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 1.30 pm to 2 am Tuesdays to Sundays
Mali’s Corner is located on Platinum Walk, in Uptown Danau Kota. While enjoying your nasi lemak, you can listen to buskers serenading diners with covers of hit songs. People usually queue for their freshly fried chicken – apparently, a new batch is cooked every 30 minutes to ensure freshness. The main stars here are their sweet, spicy, and plain varieties of sambal. Mali’s corner only sells char kuey teow or nasi lemak with fried chicken or egg.
7. Nasi lemak @ Village Park Restaurant
5, Jalan Ss 21/37
47400 Petaling Jaya
Operating hours: 7 am to 7.30 pm Mondays to Saturdays, 7 am to 6 pm on Sundays
It is impossible to talk about nasi lemak without mentioning the kind available at Village Park Restaurant. The nasi lemak here is arguably one of the best available in Petaling Jaya. The Village Park Restaurant offers the Terengganu-styled nasi lemak where the piping hot rice is served with sweet and spicy sambal.
Village Park Restaurant is always full of customers, but most of the time, they can get your food served within 10 minutes. Other than their crispy and tender fried chicken, there are other side dishes available here such as cuttlefish sambal, prawn sambal, fried fish, mutton, and fish head curry.
8. Nasi Lemak Peel Road
88, Jalan Peel, Maluri
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 2.30pm to 8.30 pm daily, closed on Thursdays and Fridays
Nasi Lemak Peel Road is also popularly known as Chinese-styled nasi lemak. This stall sells non-halal nasi lemak in a Chinese coffee shop. The stall has been operating for more than 40 years already.
Their wild-boar curry and cuttlefish sambal are the best here. Their sambal is delicately balanced between spicy and sweet. The little porky twist makes this nasi lemak different and stands out against the others. You will notice the process of ordering here is quite similar to Chinese mixed rice – where you get your rice first, then you can choose what kind of side dish you want to have with your nasi lemak before they put the other essentials, such as cucumber, fried anchovies, peanuts, and hard-boiled egg.
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