Sunday, October 26, 2014
Nasi lemak is always amazing, but we bring you 12 nasi lemaks to die-for in KL and PJ. Don’t believe us? Try them all today!
Nasi lemak needs no introduction. It comes close to being Malaysia’s national dish. A collective favourite, it’s as common as the ‘lahs’ that pepper our speech. With its fluffy fragrant coconut rice, crispy fried anchovies and crunchy nuts, you can have it anywhere, at any time. It’s also a versatile dish with sambal that can range from sweet to savoury at all levels of spiciness. You can even have it with side dishes, the most popular of which is the ayam goreng berempah. From dirt cheap at roadside stalls to a more premium plate in restaurants, we hunted down 12 must-go places to have the best nasi lemaks in town!
Village Park @ Damansara Uptown
Village Park has made a name for itself over the years and continues to remain a favourite among Malaysians. It’s famous for its nasi lemak ayam goreng berempah and one reason for its popularity might be its consistency, although some may argue the portions have decreased steadily over time. Nevertheless, you can trust the rice to be aromatic and the chicken crispy and nicely seasoned. The sambal here is on the salty side and is just the right amount of spicy. With a healthy helping of peanuts, fried anchovies, and fresh slices of cucumbers, it’s no wonder the place is always crowded.
Nasi Lemak Tanglin @ KL
Starting out in the 80’s as a tiny stall under a tree opposite Tanglin Hospital, it has remained hugely popular till today. Almost everything you’ll find in Tanglin Nasi Lemak is guaranteed to be delicious. Its rice is fluffy and aromatic, and sambal sweet and runny. Pairing it with their side dishes takes it to another level. We recommend their sambal sotong with sweet and spicy gravy waiting to be soaked up by the rice. For offal lovers, the limpa (spleen) is to die for! Nasi Lemak Tanglin just defies description, it’s an absolute must-try.
How do we even decide? We want everything!
Glossy fiery-red sotong that will leave you drooling
Nasi Lemak Bumbung @ Seapark
Another nasi lemak hotspot, Nasi Lemak Bumbung is street food in every sense of the phrase. Found in a back alley behind Maybank in Seapark, it’s always filled to the brim with hungry patrons looking for a no-frills nasi lemak ayam goreng. There’s an almost-perpetual crowd, and it’s not surprising as the rice is warm and chicken tender, but the highlight here is most definitely their sambal. It’s the saltier kind that is mildly spicy, bringing everything together perfectly. Portions can be on the small side, but all the more reason to go for seconds and thirds!
Who could forget the all-important egg to top it all off (Photo courtesy of HGWMY user Helen Lai)
Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa @ Kampung Baru
One of the most famous nasi lemak joints in Kampung Baru (and beyond), Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa has been catering to loyal customers since the 80s. Opening in the late evening until late, you can be sure the humble stall will be bursting with people waiting to try their nasi lemak with springy sambal sotong (RM4.50) or chewy paru goreng (RM3.50). Their sambal here is worthy of mention for the sheer fact that they labour over it for six hours. Visit them for yourself to see why they’ve garnered such a huge fanbase.
Have your pick – ayam goreng or sambal sotong?
Nasi Lemak Famous @ Bangsar
Operating under its signature red tent, Nasi Lemak Famous dishes out delicious nasi lemak ayam goreng berempah with an assortment of side dishes that’s sure to tantalise your tastebuds. Their ayam goreng is well-loved for a reason.
Dishes ready to be snapped up
With meat that was tender and nicely seasoned, we could really taste the rempah it was made with. Other choice picks include their sweet and springy sambal sotong (RM2.50 – RM4), and lumpy and savoury bergedil (RM1.50). Their sambal, while sweet is also spicy, which complemented the milder flavours found in their side dishes. While their rice was disappointingly clumpy and dry plus a hefty bill that came up to RM14 a plate, Nasi Lemak Famous is famous indeed as their tables and chairs are rarely ever empty.
The best midnight snack
Nasi Lemak @ Peel Road
Nasi Lemak Peel Road serves Chinese-style nasi lemak (you can have your pick of regular white rice but that just takes the lemak out of nasi lemak), with the sambal falling on the sweeter side. While there are all-time favourites like curry chicken, sambal cockles, and sambal sotong, the wild boar curry here is a must-have. Tender and bite-sized, it’s bursting with all the flavours that it has stewed in. Complete the meal with the smooth and gelatinous-like sambal sotong and you’re good to go.
DING! We have Suri in the blue corner and in the red, Yatie. Let the fight begin!
The former seems to have garnered more fame, with a selection of dishes to go with their packets of nasi lemak panas. Their sweet sambal has a distinctive taste and packs quite the punch. You may not taste it at first but it will creep up on you.
A little bit of everything goes a long way
Yatie, on the other hand, serves just good ‘ol nasi lemak packets. Their sambal is saltier than Suri’s and slightly milder which we personally preferred. Medan Selera 223 may be located in an industrial area but it’s almost always spilling over with a crowd, there to savour the warm freshly-made packets of nasi lemak (both priced at RM1.50 each) from Suri and Yatie.
San Peng Nasi Lemak @ Pudu
San Peng Nasi Lemak is another go-to place for late-night crawlers looking for a hot plate of non-halal nasi lemak. Come 10.00pm, the queue will only get longer and longer.
Get in line! A queue like this is already quite forgiving
The rice here was incredibly fragrant and probably made with generous amounts of santan (coconut milk). Fluffy, warm, and grainy, it was the perfect base for their curries and sambal which was on the milder side. Chopped long beans offer an extra crunch or pig out on add-ons like lap cheong (Chinese sausage) and deep fried luncheon meat. A plate of nasi lemak here could easily cost up to RM10 depending on what you take, making it one of the pricier roadside stalls around.
The rice makes the dish
Nasi Lemak CT Garden @ Kampung Baru
While not as well known as Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, Nasi Lemak CT Garden is one of Kampung Baru’s established nasi lemak eateries. Line up à la school canteen style for their nasi lemak packets which are the perfect vehicle for a delicious spread of dishes that include paru sambal and tempeh goreng sambal. Plus their rendang daging is as good as any nostalgia-inducing homemade recipe. Be warned, though, the food here is spicy and you’ll be sweating profusely by the time you’re done. It might burn a hole in your mouth but not your wallet (a meal for four came up to a reasonable RM40.50).
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself with all these food calling out to you
Karen’s Nasi Lemak @ Taman Desa
Karen’s Nasi Lemak is no stranger to Taman Desa folk, serving nasi lemak with hints of nyonya influence with pickled pineapples, onions, and cucumber (fresh nyonya kuih are also available at RM0.70 a piece). Unabashedly non-halal, one of the signature dishes here is the dry curry wild boar, tender and mildly spicy with textures similar to the rendang tok.
For lovers of pork, a nasi lemak packet with a side of wild boar curry is as good as it gets
It also helps that her basic nasi lemak (RM2 small, RM2.50 large) is very well done, with rice that is consistently fluffy and grainy with just the right touch of santan, crispy fried large anchovies, and freshly cut cucumbers. Karen’s sambal is spicy and savoury rather than sweet, just the way we like it. There’s always a line at her stall with patrons hungry for delicious fuss-free nasi lemak.
Fresh off the assembly line with rendang and luncheon meat
Nasi Lemak Sentul @ Jalan Sentul
Another non-halal favourite can be found at Nasi Lemak Sentul. You’ll find the usual suspects like the chicken rendang and sambal sotong. While their staples are delicious, the star of the show is their curry pork ribs. The meat was bursting with flavours of the spices it was marinated and cooked in. While their rice was lacking in coconut aroma, the curries will make up for it with their spiciness. Add a slice of luncheon meat to balance it out and you will leave a very happy camper.
It’s just as delicious when packed home
Nasi Lemak @ Wisma Genting Food Court
An unassuming stall found in between Wisma Genting and Wisma Cosway, the nasi lemak here is the go-to breakfast place for office workers around the area. Hungry salarymen can be seen lining up to fuel up for the day with a piping hot plate of nasi lemak with a selection of curries and fried goods. The nasi lemak here might be more ‘banjir’ than other places but that adds to the tummy-warming factor. There are other breakfast essentials available too like curry puffs and fried bihun. There’s no better way to start the day.
With all these goodies, we wish it was open all day