Malay street food : Nasi Lemak (coconut rice breakfast)

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I’ve said it before, when I wrote about kaya toast – Breakfast in Asia is awesome and nasi lemak is probably my favourite breakfast, ever.

A bold statement, indeed.

I mean, who doesn’t want to eat the most delicious mix of crispy fried chicken known as ayam goreng, fluffy coconut enriched rice served with skin on peanuts, crisp, salty little anchovy fillets known as ikan bilis, boiled egg, sliced cucumber and the heavenly chilli flavours of Belecan shrimp paste sambal?

OK, so maybe not everyone wants to eat that for breakfast, but I do. Everyday!

Is this the most delicious breakfast on the planet? I think so...

Is this the most delicious breakfast on the planet? I think so…

Nasi lemak is a well known Mamak staple and considered a national dish in Malaysia.

The name literally translates as ‘fat rice’ which is due to the rice being soaked in coconut and steamed which thickens, enriches and generally makes it awesome.

As a meal, it’s something that can be found all over Malaysia and also Singaporean food courts. In Malaysia it’s often sold at roadside hawker stalls, kopi (coffee) stands as well as in Mamak restaurants. At the stalls and kopi stands they tend to wrap it into newpaper and leave them out in a tray for customers to pick up ‘to go’. Often you won’t get all the previously mentioned ingredients, but whatever they have available – In this instance it was rice, fried fish and sambal only. For around two ringgits i’m not complaining.

During our stay in Kota Kinabalu we were also pleased to find an alternative cooking style. The chicken has a delicate spice crust and wrapped in banana leaves, which helped to keep it really moist when it was fried – the girl who worked at the restaurant said it was a traditional way to serve it. I’m not sure if she was just referring to the banana leaf element, in Kota Kinabalu or in general but it was a nice variation nonetheless and the only time we’ve seen it prepared this way.

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