What Is Nasi Lemak

I think the best way to introduce Malaysia to you guys is through our food. So, what is Nasi Lemak? Basically, it is a breakfast dish, although it is quite common here to have this dish for lunch and even dinner. Well, lo and behold, this is not a typical breakfast cereal, nor it is one of those foods high in iron that you should consume for breakfast, it is the ultimate calorie bomb packed with flavors!

What Is Nasi Lemak
Look at this mouth-watering piece of art!!

Nasi lemak – It might unofficially be regarded as our national dish.

So, nasi lemak is actually rice cooked in coconut milk. Thus, you should anticipate very rich and decadent taste if it is done right! The main protein of this dish usually crispy anchovies cooked in a very but sometimes sweet ‘sambal’ @ sauce, or for you Americans…you might call it super spicy gravy.

The must have garnishes are sliced cucumbers, just because we know that we should eat a little healthy…and hard boiled eggs. Sometimes, you will surely find crunchy peanuts to perfect everything by giving it another dimensions or texture to the dish.

I remember talking about this dish with my flatmate when I was in Manchester, he suspected that Malaysians are going bananas by having such a heavy meal for breakfast. I don’t know, somewhat I pity him for having a very sad sandwich for breakfast with almost stale bread. Nasi lemak ftw!

Historically, Malaysia is a very labour intensive nation. Our great grandparents usually work as farmers and fisherman that explains why Malaysians used to have a very big breakfast.

The best nasi lemak??

If you ask me, I would say the best Nasi Lemak is the one that is made by my mum…and my wife of course (just to be safe in case she is reading). But, surely, to be fair, there are loads of nasi lemak being sold out there.

If you fancy the upscale version of it, you might head to your hotel’s cafe and savour their modern twist on it. Usually, I sense that this modern nasi lemak is loaded with more protein selections, be it squids, prawns or beef rending, but, be sure to test the traditional version that usually wrapped in a humble banana-leaf.

Travel Hacks

If it is wrapped in banana leaf, and it cost you less than RM3 (less than $1), you have found the NASI LEMAK JACKPOT!!

Then, happily grab your reward and head home and binge every bit of it.

Other famous/infamous Nasi Lemak worth noting here;

Virgin’s Nasi Lemak 

Nasi Lemak Anak Dara.

Don’t be fooled by the name…there is nothing cheesy about this nasi lemak..it is just a story when a young lady selling nasi lemak became and internet famous in Malaysia. If you fancy some virgin’s nasi lemak you can find it in Malaysia.

Old Man’s Fart Nasi Lemak (literal translation), I know it sounds gross.

Nasi Lemak Wak Kentut

When I was in Johor, the southern part of Malaysia, I stumbled across this infamous nasi lemak stall named Nasi Lemak Wak Kentut. It is just a normal stall by car parks area in Kulai Johor. It is so famous that I heard even the royal family of Johor went to have some bites.

How to cook nasi lemak?

Although my description might sound complicated, for me personally, it is a dish that can be easily made at home. However, to master the main component which is it’s ‘Sambal’ may require some practice. If you are eager to learn more about Malaysian Dish and if you are really into trying new things, I highly recommend you to grab this cookbook from Amazon.com. It is a very comprehensive Cookbook with a lot more traditional dishes that you could learn and start to impress your loved ones!


What’s your nasi lemak story?

Mind to share below?

: )

Posted in Foods, Travel Malaysia Guide.


  1. I learned something new about Malaysia thanks to this article.

    I would like to consider myself an ‘adventurous ‘ food eater. Having said, this ‘nasi lemak’ looks like something that I would try.

    I dont eat beef or squids, but would not mind at all giving the prawn nasi lemak a go.

    Better still, I was wondering if the option is open is come and try out the one that your mum makes. LOL

    You made me hungry, I need to go creeping into the fridge..

    Thanks for a delicious post.


  2. That looks incredibly tasty! Although as you pointed it out I would probably have this for dinner, not my breakfast haha. I would understand it though, if you’re a hard working man, going away for the whole day, it’s only proper that you eat a portion like that in the morning.
    I presume the rice is just cooked and it does seem a bit dry ? Is that what it comes out as, or does it get better when you mix it with all that sauce ?

    • Yes, you have to mix everything, if cooks right, it should come out fluffy with rich taste as a result from cooking the rice with coconut milk and ginger, this combo also makes the rice to be very fragrant

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