Nasi Lemak is one of Singapore’s most popular hawker dish, known for fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf.
The basic style that many of us are familiar with comes in simple fashion with egg, fried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, sliced cucumber, and sambal chill.
Typically traditionally eaten during breakfast, there are already many restaurants and hawker stalls serving Nasi Lemak from noon till supper with more fanciful versions.
Some of the famous places you can get this humble favourite includes Bali Nasi Lemak (Geylang Lor 15), Chong Pang Nasi Lemak (447 Sembawang Road), Yi Liu Xiang (Hainanese Village Centre), International Muslim Food Stall (Changi Village Food Centre), Sri Sujana Muslim Food (Changi Village Food Centre), D’Authentic Nasi Lemak (Marine Parade Food Centre), Latiffa Huri (Jurong West Street 41 Blk 498), Mount Faber Nasi Lemak (47 Kreya Ayer Road), Changi Nasi Lemak (323 Bukit Batok Street 33), Fong Seng Nasi Lemak (22A Clementi Road), and Simple.簡 (CT Hub 2).
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Adam Road Food Centre #01-02, 2 Adam Road, Singapore 289876
Tel: +65 9843 4509
Opening Hours: 7am – 5pm (Mon – Thurs), 7am – 3pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Fri
This stall deserves a top spot in this list. Perhaps some people do not know that they are one of the partners behind Nasi Lemak chain store CRAVE.
No matter what time of the day you plan to go to Adam Road Food Centre, there is no escaping the snaking long queues, but fans say the wait is surely worth it.
So, what is the “secret to success”?
The current owner attributes it to the family recipe that emphasises on the 4 key ingredients: basmati rice, sambal chilli, chicken wing and otah otah.
There are 7 choices on the menu, from the basic Flash Meal ($2.90), Fish Meal ($3.90), Chicken Wing Meal ($3.90) to the most ‘elaborate’ Royal Rumble ($5.90).
This Royal Rumble Nasi Lemak includes the full-works of ingredients including fried chicken, otah-otah, fried egg, sliced cucumbers, sambal and fried anchovies.
What stood out for me was first the aroma of the basmati rice, then the rich quality that went unbelievably well with the coconut milk, lemongrass and pandan leaves.
The winning element to me was the Sambal Chilli, specially cooked with both Indian and Japanese chillies.
The story goes that the owner’s grandmother wanted a less spicy version of the chilli to cater to more customers. Thus, the store created this sweet-savoury-spicy version of sambal that would help to elevate the taste of the crispy fried chicken wings.
The Coconut Club
28 Ann Siang Road Singapore 069708 (Chinatown MRT)
Tel: +65 8748 1869
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sat) 11am – 3pm (Sun Lunch Only)
The Coconut Club is listed in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore, and received the support of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that he hosted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte there when he came visiting.
The Nasi Lemak specialist first got into the limelight with their $12.80 Nasi Lemak, served at the hipster district of Ann Siang Hill.
A plate of Nasi Lemak comes with coconut rice, chicken leg (or breast), ikan billis (anchovies), peanuts, cucumber, fried egg and sambal.
The verdict: The rice was lovely and fluffy, with that undemanding aroma that didn’t overwhelm.
The chicken was the other tasty element, rubbed with lemongrass, galangal and turmeric, carrying with it Asian flavours rather than just a generic fried chicken. Not as juicy as the last time I had it, but still good. The Coconut Club (Ann Siang)
No.1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak
Adam Road Food Centre #01-01, 2 Adam Road, Singapore 289876
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 1pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues
This is the other popular stall for Nasi Lemak at Adam Road Food Centre. Although it has a tough competition with rival stalls at the food centre, it stands out simply because of its authenticity and traditional flavours without any special ingredient or flashy choices.
Note that even though the queue may not look that long, customers still have to wait quite a while due to the assembling time.
There are the Fish Set ($4), Chicken Set ($4), Sutra Special ($5.50), and Adam’s Special ($5.50) included with mutton rendang full of flavours.
I got the standard Sutra Special ($5.50) with otah, slices of fish cake, chicken wing, ikan billis and nuts.
The winning part was the fluffy rice, soft in texture with a faint coconuty aroma. I loved the balance of the sweetness from coconut milk and spicy and savoury flavours from sambal and other ingredients. Wished that the ingredients stood out a little more (ie crispier wings?)
Aliff Nasi Lemak
49A Serangoon Garden Way, #01-27, Singapore 555945
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Head over to this popular stall at Serangoon Garden Food Centre Stalls and find a variety of serving sizes of Nasi Lemak (starting from $3.60 to $5.00) that are loaded with ingredients.
You can top up with chicken wing, fish, ikan bills, otah, fish cake, tahu, bagedel, egg, and tempeh, from $0.50 to $1.50.
While I wasn’t that sure of the ingredients as some were on the colder wing, the thing that stands out the most about their dish was the quality and taste of the basmati rice.
It was extremely fragrant, and soft consistency cooked with coconut milk.
The other stand-out part was the sweet-tasting chilli, though you may not be able to request for more.
Power Nasi Lemak
Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village #01-106, 221B Boon Lay Place, Singapore 642221
Tel: +65 6266 4466
Opening Hours: 4:30pm – 3:30am (Mon), 6:30am – 3:30m (Tues – Sun)
Started in 1971, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak has been selling the famed Nasi Lemak from this very corner store.
Signatures include the Chicken Set which comes with a chicken wing, ikan bilis, sambal and a fried egg. If not, there are also the Nasi Lemak Otah Otah, Fish Fillet, Paru, Selar Kunning, Ayam Berempah and Combo sets.
Top up with ala carte items of Sambal Sotong – recommended, Bagedel, Ikan Bilis with Peanuts, Popcorn Chicken, Beef Rendang and more.
They do have a few outlets around (plus Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak Vending Machines), and their rice is accordingly cooked in a central kitchen with quality coconut oil. However, quality may not be that consistent or quite the same as years before.
Go to the main outlet and you would find more crisp and juicy chicken wings. The rice could have been fluffier, but the sambal chilli gave it a good lift.
Mizzy Corner Nasi Lemak
2 Changi Village Rd, #01-26, Singapore 500002
Tel: +65 9816 4419
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 1am (Mon – Sun)
Established in 1997, Mizzy Corner at Changi Village Food Centre is known for its basmati coconut rice, paired with sweet sambal, and signature marinated chicken wings. (The other popular stalls at this hawker centre include International Muslim Nasi Lemak, Sri Sujana, and Changi Famous Nasi Lemak.)
There are 5 sets to choose from, named Set A to F, priced from $3.50 to $5.00.
However, despite the stall being famous for the chicken wings, while the exterior still retained a bit of crispiness, the inside could be juicier with more marinate – could be lacking in that ‘oomph’ flavour.
What I enjoyed best about the Nasi Lemak was indeed its basmati rice which was very fragrant with the coconuty-panda aroma, and fluffy.
I can imagine some could pair this simply with the sambal chilli, which was on the sweet side and not-too-spicy at all.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak
965 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534721
Tel: +65 6281 0020
Opening hours: 4:30pm – 12am (Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun), Closed Thurs
Probably one of Singapore’s most famous Nasi Lemak chains which was first established in 1979, Ponggol Nasi Lemak (not spelt “Punggol” was founded by Mr. Ang Chye Choon and Madam Koh Ah Tan.
There are also other outlets at Capitol Singapore, 238 Tanjong Katong Road, 371 Jalan Besar Road.
For convenience, there are four sets. I foresee many would order the Set 3, a double chicken wing and ikan bilis (anchovies) plate at $5.70.
Add-ons include Crispy Wings, Crispy Drumstick, Fried Fish, Crispy Anchovies with Peanuts, Luncheon Meat, Fish Fillet, Fish Cake, Cuttlefish Balls, Spicy Otah, Spicy Shrimp Floss and Homemade Archar.
Thai Hom Mali grain is used for the rice, which did give it an edge – long grained, aromatic, resonating with flavours of coconut milk.
The overall feel was slightly on the dry, compared to some other Nasi Lemak rice which could be moister and fluffier. But I still enjoy its rather Crispy (and still juicy) Wings and Fish Fillet.
The winner is really in its home-made sambal chilli sauce, which brought the chicken wings (and other items) to another level. Ponggol Nasi Lemak (Jalan Besar)
13 Pahang Street, Singapore 198614
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Tues – Thurs), 12pm – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Aussie-Style BBQ meets traditional Nasi Lemak. Soulfood Catering is a family-run Aussie BBQ Nasi Lemak food stall in a coffee shop, and it is located in the fringe of Kampong Gelam at Pahang Street.
From Paprika & Herbs Chicken Wing Nasi Lemak, Bangers & Hash Nasi Lemak, Eggs Benny Nasi Lemak, BBQ Prawns Nasi Lemak, to Steak Nasi Lemak, you know you can expect original combinations that cannot be found elsewhere here.
Its makcik-approved Surf & Turf Nasi Lemak ($21.90) is the most popular, a filling plate of BBQ ribeye steak, scallops and prawns, with homemade creamy garlic sauce drizzled on fragrant rice.
This is also available in a family-platter size meant for 2 to 4 pax, included with ribeye steak, BBQ chicken fillet or 1/4 chicken, BBQ prawns, scallops, lemon garlic prawn skewers with Nasi Lemak and that sauce tantalising sauce.
Pandan Leaf Nasi Lemak
Tanjong Pagar Food Centre #02-25, 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza Singapore 081006
Opening Hours: 6am – 1pm (Mon – Sat). Closed Sun
There are at least 3 Nasi Lemak stalls around at Tanjong Pagar Food Centre. This is my favourite.
A single dish contains SO MANY ingredients from a plump fried chicken drumstick, egg, ngor hiang, fishcake and dollop of sambal chilli.
For only $3 or $4. Pick the $4 for a hearty portion.
I enjoyed the crispy chicken with quite juicy meat, and the fragrant light-green pandan rice.
Li Xing Nasi Lemak
Amoy Street Food Centre #02-81, 7 Maxwell Rd, #02-81, Singapore 069111
Opening Hours: 7am – 1:30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat, Sun
Affordable Nasi Lemak with Fragrant Rice
A popular Nasi Lemak stall, with ingredients of chicken wing, luncheon meat, ngoh hiang, fish cake, fillet, fish, otah or egg – each priced from $0.50 to $1.50.
You would usually find a line here, a huge reason is due to its affordably with a basic set starting from $3.
Its rice was also fluffy-fragrant, matched with simple but juicy chicken wings.
Nothing too fanciful, but a taste quite close to the old-school traditional taste with subtle flavour of the rice.