If we were to put up one dish to be the signature dish representative of Malaysia, Nasi Lemak would be at the top of the list of candidates. Typically comprising of fragrant rice and a side of condiments and curry on some, Nasi Lemak is a well-accustomed dish among Malaysians. Though the classic version of Nasi Lemak is the Malay version, there are also different variations of it, such as the Chinese version. At first glance, the two types of Nasi Lemak may seem similar, but there are differences in how it is cooked. The Malay version is characterised by its fragrant cooking style, packed with aromatics such as lemongrass, pandan and ginger. On the other hand, the Chinese variations are typically served with curry—either chicken, pork or wild boar. Seeing as how there are already different types of Nasi Lemak available, the number of stalls that serve Nasi Lemak is even more diverse. If you’re already tired of the typical Nasi Lemak stores such as Madam Kwan’s and Village Park, it’s time to explore other Nasi Lemak places to add to your Nasi Lemak repertoire. In KL itself, numerous hidden gems sell delectable Nasi Lemak, so read on as we will guide you through some of the best!
1. Nasi Lemak Tanglin
Located in the Tanglin food centre, you can expect to see a long queue in front of Nasi Lemak Tanglin’s stall daily. Starting as a wooden shack in 1948, Nasi Lemak Tanglin has since grown to have its store amidst a shop lot, which is now headed by the second generation Zainal Abidin Hassan. Though the age has changed, the flavour of the good old Nasi Lemak has not changed—reassuring loyal patrons by sticking to its family recipe. What makes the Nasi Lemak here so delectable would be its sambal tumis, which serves as a perfect combination to the coconut rice. Besides that, other popular condiments of this store include limpa berlada (spiced ox-spleen), sambal kerang (chilled cockles) and kuah hitam daging (dark beef sauce with sambal tumis).
2. Nasi Lemak Angah
Formerly a humble stall at an LRT station, Nasi Lemak Angah has evolved into a full-fledged restaurant it is today through the efforts of its founder Fadly Fuad. Enclosed in banana leaf, unwrapping a packet of Nasi Lemak in Angah would instantly send a waft of delicious fragrance to your nose. The flavour of the Nasi Lemak itself is as rich as its fragrance, packed with flavoursome aromatics such as pandan, lemongrass and ginger. Besides that, another distinctive characteristic of the Nasi Lemak in this store is its mild sambal, which you can enjoy spoonfuls of with no issues at all. Therefore, the Nasi Lemak at Angah would be suitable for you if you are someone who cannot handle too much heat too. To further elevate your Nasi Lemak experience at Nasi Lemak Angah, you can also top it up with its signature ayam sambal, sambal paru (beef lungs) and sambal kerang (cockles).
3. Nasi Lemak Saleha
True to its name, the Nasi Lemak at Saleha is indeed made by its owner Kak Saleha. Being in the Nasi Lemak making business for over 30 years, you can trust Kak Saleha to know her way around the art of making Nasi Lemak. The popularity of this Nasi Lemak store in Kampung Pandan has reached a point where it has even opened up a second outpost at Sri Rampai. Offering a variety of curries to go along with the fragrant coconut rice, the most famous side that is well-loved by its customers would be the rending chicken which packs a flavourful kick with its unique concoction of spices. Besides that, the sambal is another star of this Nasi Lemak store as it is packed with heat that goes perfectly well with the fluffy coconut rice—each component complementing the other, creating a heavenly mix in your mouth.
4. Nasi Lemak Ujang Corner
Having been around for a substantial number of decades, Nasi Lemak Ujang Corner would, without a doubt, be one name that will be uttered when the question of the best Nasi Lemak in KL arises. Best known for serving a unique variation of Nasi Lemak—Nasi Lemak Sotong, the Nasi Lemak at Ujang Corner is characterised by its sambal which is cooked for a longer than usual time, giving it is strong umami flavour. If you’re more of a classic Nasi Lemak fan, fret not as they also serve Nasi Lemak Kukus (Kukus). By steaming the rice, its texture and fragrance is elevated, which adds to the fluffiness and aroma of the rice—guaranteed to make your mouth water with just a whiff. To upgrade the dish even further, the Nasi Lemak is best eaten along with some accompaniments like sambal, rendang and curries, the added spice a perfect combination with the rice.
5. Nasi Lemak Bumbung
If you are craving some late-night Nasi Lemak for supper, don’t worry as Nasi Lemak Bumbung has got your back. Being open until 4 am, this lively Nasi Lemak place tucked in the back alley behind Maybank in Seapark has a unique ambience that is atypical of a Nasi Lemak store. When you visit this Nasi Lemak store, you must order their Nasi Lemak with fried chicken. The crispy and herby fried chicken serves as the ideal accompaniment to the aromatic rice, which is sure to whet your appetite regardless of if you’ve had a full dinner. Of course, no Nasi Lemak is complete without a side of sambal, and you will find that the sambal at Nasi Lemak Bumbung is spicy and aromatic as well, which would give your dish a much-needed kick. When visiting this store, do be prepared for a little wait as it is always packed with people.
For more recommendations and articles, go to LokaTaste!