Nasi Lemak


Perhaps the best version fast food ever- this meal could give any American drive through heavy competition. Healthy, flavorful and easy to pack away, Nasi Lemak can be purchased for about $0.40 a meal.

While found also in Indonesia, this meal seems to be a staple in Malaysia and can be purchased at street stands all over the country. We like it for it’s convenience. Wrapped neatly in banana leaf and butcher paper, the parcel can be thrown in a bag or purse on the go. We’ve yet to see one leaking and are convinced that this packaging is better than the plastic containers we use in the states.


Nasi Lemak is a simple dish: rice cooked in coconut milk until fluffy, and topped with sambal (a hot sauce with fish paste). There is usually one additional topping- a piece of fried tofu, anchovies and ground nuts, or chopped chicken. On our most recent experience, the topping was indicated by a letter written on the top of the package. But having no idea what the letter corresponded to we chose randomly. Thankfully Nasi Lemak tastes good no matter what the fillings.


This meal is eaten with your hands in a process, as we’ve watched, involves a complicated effort of mashing and eloquently tossing the rice into ones mouth. This method has turned out to be harder than we imagined, and many times we’ve retreated to our room to eat with forks. There is a coordination involved for not getting rice all over the place. From what I can ascertain, it takes years of experience to master this.

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