Food from Malaysia: Nasi Lemak

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 16th, 2011. Updated on May 30th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Malaysian food.
Nasi Lemak from Malaysia

A local restaurants version of Nasi Lemak Ayam

Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia!

Popular in Brunei, Thailand and Singapore, it’s Malaysia that lays full claim to Nasi lemak. And, perhaps there’s a reason for that. If cooked well, Nasi Lemak is downright great.

What is nasi lemak made from?

Nasi lemak means “fatty rice”. It get’s this name as the rice used is soaked in coconut cream, and then steamed until cooked. Exceptionally good Nasi lemak has pandan leaves added or lemon grass to add some fragrance.

Traditional nasi lemak is often served simply wrapped in banana leaf. Ordering nasi lemak in restaurant will often mean it will be accompanied with many side dishes.

Pure Nasi Lemak

Take away street side Nasi Lemak

It may also have a different coloring depending on what’s been added to it. Such things might include, egg, chicken, beef, roasted peanuts and some vegetables.

What does nasi lemak taste like?

The rice is soft, and very flavoursome. Yet, it’s not overly sweet, nor gooey. It works as a main meal, or small side of the road snack.

For me nasi lemak is best served with beef rendang. The combination of tastes really hits the spot.

I really wish other rice eating nations would learn to make nasi lemak like the Malaysians do.

This is an additional article featuring everyday food from West Malaysia

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18 Great responses to Food from Malaysia: Nasi Lemak

  1. Ciki says:

    this is the Malaysian big breakfast! But heck, it can be eaten day, noon or night! Fattening but super delicious! Extra sambal for me please :P

    • How can you eat this for breakfast Mei?! Never mind about being one of the slimmest Malaysians on the planet! Yes, I know, you work very hard at it. Mainly so you can eat lots more :P

  2. Ignore the fact that it may be very calorific. It’s yummy enough to justify the damage :)

  3. yum! i am officially hungry now. LOL

  4. This is my 2nd favorite food from Malaysia among a long list of favorites! Food here is awesome!!! :)

  5. Anna's World says:

    Cooked in coconut cream! This is really winning my heart!

  6. Jose says:

    What I like about your food posts is that you show the real food from a country. Not from some fancy eating place. Your blog is very real in many respects. Long may it continue.

    • Thank you Jose. It’s one thing to post beautiful photos of food, but it’s another to get to a country and see the reality is something else! I just photograph what I really do eat when I travel there.

  7. J2Kfm says:

    Now this is one amazing dish that can be eaten almost round the clock, and we Malaysians actually do that. From street side vendors to full-fledged restaurants, nasi lemak could be the ubiquitous Malaysian Dish.

    • It’s just amazing how other countries around South East Asia cannot, or do not try to copy Nasi Lemak? Maybe they can’t, that’s why it’s Malaysia’s number one dish!

  8. Ivy says:

    Can’t you open a restaurant or take-away in Malaysia? Wouldn’t that be a great idea if you like the place? ;)

  9. Yum! Given a choice between nasi lemak or reguar rice, I’d opt for nasi lemak all the time. With shredded omelettes on the top, fried shallot, sweet soy sauce, and sambal – killer breakfast combo!

  10. Nadia says:

    The photo you’ve got there’s actually one of nasi goreng ayam, which is fried rice with chicken, not nasi lemak :) I’ve never seen nasi lemak served with prawn crackers and chopped carrots.

  11. lisy says:

    I love malasian food i miss it so much now that i live in europe.