by Jia Ying Chia
Any time is a good time for Nasi Lemak. Although it is often regarded as a breakfast staple, the Nasi Lemak fits perfectly for lunch and dinner too. Comprising a serving of fragrant coconut rice, some fried peanuts and anchovies to go with a dollop of sambal on the side, half boiled egg, and a couple slices of cucumber — nowadays, it is accompanied with choice protein of fried chicken, beef rendang or seafood cooked in sambal — Nasi Lemak is a well rounded dish that has been declared the national dish of Malaysia, but let us show you the places around Borneo that you can visit to satisfy your Nasi Lemak cravings.
VEGGIE RECIPE, BRUNEI
Although certainly not the only vegetarian Nasi Lemak option in town, this one really hits the spot with its spicy homemade sambal and perfect morsels of curried vegetables next to lush green pandan-coconut rice. The Nasi Lemak Curry sauce is also very popular and has tons of flavour in the think spice-rich sauce!
Unit 7, Ground Floor, Block E, Sempurna Complex, Jalan Batu Bersurat | IG: @veggiesrecipe.co
NASI LEMAK KLASIK, BRUNEI
As the name suggest, this roadside restaurant is where you go for a goof no-frills Nasi Lemak. Also known as Adam’s Corner, their bungkus option is the standard with a small piece of fried chicken, lots of chunky, jammy sambal pusu covering a bed of fluffy rice that is wonderfully oiled with a delicate coconut aroma. it’s a family recipe lovingly adhered to for over four decades.
Before Simpang 207, jalan Tungku, Kampong Katok, Bandar Seri Begawan | Tel: 673 865 0635 | IG: @nasilemakklasik
OLD TIME KOPITIAM, BRUNEI
Although their classic fried chicken option always hits the spot, we love the tender melt in your mouth rendang option in chicken or beef. This Nyonya-themed restaurant makes a great plate that is packed with savoury flavours and all the required sides. The Nasi Lemak Special is a celebratory meal that comes with both a large piece of fried chicken and beef rendang, and certainly left us heading towards a pleasant food coma.
Block A, No. 8, Bangunan Warisan Complex, Simpang 24, Gadong, Jalan Gadong | Tel: 673 244 8282 | IG: @oldtimekopitiam
LOT 33, BRUNEI
Serving a hearty Malaysia-Brunei fusion, LOT 33’s Nasi Lemak is a lovely place of Southeast Asian nostalgia. Craving for the saucy food-coma inducing comfort of beef rendang? They’ve got it. The crispity-crunch of perfectly spiced Ayam Berempah more your thing? Yup, they’ve got it too. Served with all the necessary trimmings, like their homemade acar and fried peanut anchovy mix, for a full meal.
A5, Lot 408, Bangunan Maju, jalan Bunga Raya, Kuala Belait | Tel: 673 333 0006 | IG: @lot33.bn
GOLDEN COFFEE, BRUNEI
A classic rendition of the dish with a few tasty tweaks, Golden Coffee’s version is delightfully filling. You get a whole fat chicken thigh with a light crisp batter that is ginger forward, and all the requisite sides like fluffy and fragrant coconut milk rice that is surprisingly light, chunky sweet-spicy homemade sambal with a fire that creeps up as a slow burn, and wonderfully acidic batons of pickled cucumber that are best cut up into smaller pieces and enjoyed together with everything for a perfect bite.
No. 8, Bangunan Majid Mohammad, Simpang 235-7, Jalan Pasar Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan | Tel: 673 245 7970 | IG: @goldencoffeebrunei
THE GREEN RICE, BRUNEI
We can’t talk about Nasi Lemak in Brunei without mentioning this veteran restaurant! The Green Rice in Subok is the office go-to with its bright green pandan coconut milk rice, thick and slightly spicy sambal and the delicious fried chicken. We also love their move towards eco-friendly takeout boxes.
Unit 1, Simpang 470, Jalan Subok, Bandar Seri Begawan | Tel: 673 222 9413 | IG: @thegreenrice.bn
MORZIAH HMZ, BRUNEI
This hidden gem is a Sarawakian restaurant with a great menu and their pre-order only Nasi Lemak has all the right components for a comforting meal. Choose between tender chunks of a surprisingly light and citrusy beef rendang or a simply satisfying fried chicken option. We like to level up with an extra order of their Ikan Terubok Goreng which has its own spicier sambal and moreish salty crunch right down to the bones.
Unit 2, Ground Floor, Simpang 129, Jalan Jerudong, Sengkurong B | Tel: 673 861 8771 | IG: @restaurantmorziahhmz
TASTY CORNER, BRUNEI
We hadn’t heard of a pork Nasi Lemak before and Tasty Corner’s version of this classic Malay food did not disappoint. Their popular Chicken Nasi lemak is a simple, comforting dish of rich, spicy curry and really soft braised chicken pieces topped over the moreish fatty ‘lemak rice, but their pork version is a welcome change with stewed chunks of loin meat bathing in a similarly spicy curry styled sauce that holds up well with the thick sauce. Both come with a slice of hard boiled egg.
Unit 10, Bangunan Goodwood, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan | Tel: 673 720 8668 | FB: Tasty Corner Brunei
NASI LEMAK KAKI LIMA, SABAH
Another classic choice, Nasi Lemak Kaki Lima is helmed by the lovely Mrs. Khoo who has been dishing out her delicious plates since 1993. The basic serving comes with the requisite coconut milk rice, crisp salty morsels of fried anchovies and peanuts, a boiled egg, cucumber and not too spicy sambal, but there are plenty of yummy sides like ayam rendang and sambal petai (beans of the Parkia speciosa pod) to add on.
Shop Lot No. 03, Ground Floor, Taman Dai Ming, Lorong Muntahan 3A, Jalan Gulung Bintang, Kota Kinabalu | FB: Nasi Lemak Kaki Lima
YAT MAN GAI 一文鸡 , SABAH
Although Yat Man Gai has been around for decades, the roast meat specialist started introducing a Nasi Lemak plate with a twist around 2019. Go for the succulent pieces of roasted pork for the perfect pairing with classic accompaniments like the crispy salted anchovies, heavenly homemade sambal and cooling cucumber slices.
Lot 13, Block G, Ground Floor, Bundusan Commercial, Penampang, Kota Kinabalu | FB: 一文鸡Yat Man Gai
PEANUTS ANCHOVIES, SARAWAK
Styled like a modern-day kopitiam, Peanuts Anchovies have cemented their presence in the Kuching food scene with a simple menu that is dedicated to the beautiful practice of breakfast in the morning. Most of the recipes were inspired by famous Nasi Lemak eateries during shop owner, Ardeles’ two-year stay in Kuala Lumpur including the famed Nasi Lemak Chicken Curry and a unique sambal-doused Kerang (clams) offering.
Ground Floor, Lot 429, Sublot 9, Jalan Tun Jugah, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak | IG: @peanutsanchovies
PAK IMRAN NASI LEMAK, SARAWAK
It’s touted as one of the best places to get Nasi Lemak in Bintulu and Pak Imran’s certainly delivers — plates bringin with your choice of accompaniments for the wonderfully fluffy coconut and pandan infused rice. The Sambal Udang Petai and Ayam Masak Merah come highly recommended.
Ground Floor, SubLot 124, Lot 7668, Block 31, Bintulu Sentral, jalan Kidurong, 97000 Bintulu, Sarawak | IG: @pakimrannasilemak
WARUNG NASI KUNING & UDUK VALENTINE, SARAWAK
Wildly popular for its good food and affordability, this unassuming stall in the heart of Pontianak’s city centre has been feeding the masses with the Indonesian version of lemak, called Nasi Uduk. Similar to the Bruneian and Malaysian styles, the rice is infused with coconut milk but benefits from additional spices and the occasional sprig of pandan leaf for extra fragrance. It’s usually served with some familiar side dishes like proteins, vegetables and spicy sambal.