Malay street food: Nasi dagang (Kelantan fish curry & rice breakfast)


Nasi dagang, like nasi kerabu is a speciality rice dish from the North Eastern Muslim states of Kelantan & Terengganu & the southern states of Thailand.

The main components are rice, curried fish and loads of optional sides. The word Dagang translates as trade, making this dish ‘traders rice’ in English. Nasi dagang is a north-eastern breakfast equivalent to nasi lemak, a popular breakfast on the west coast and southern states.

nasi dagang in Kota Bharu
The rice is thick and creamy, a mixture of jasmine and glutinous rice steamed with coconut and various spices including fungreek and black peppercorns.
The fish, a meaty fish like tuna is mixed with a conventional spice mix, a paste of the usual suspects – ginger, garlic, shallot, galangal, chillies, palm sugar,  coconut milk & fish stock.

The fish and rice is served with pickled vegetables, sambal, boiled egg and fried shaved coconut.

Overall, It’s a really delicious breakfast which we sought out every day in Kota Bharu, the mixture of flavours are typically South East Asian, sour pickle from the veggies, spicy from the sambal and a slight sweetness in the rice that is prevelant in Kelantan, Terrenganu & southern Thai states.

We (repeatedly) enjoyed eating nasi dagang in Restoran Capital, on Jalan Post Office. It’s a very low key muslim place (dress respectfully) wonderful eats with a little coffee shop, too. order directly with the lady at the front who puts it all together in brown paper (no plates!) for a very reasonable price, little english spoken.


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