We pick our favourite nasi lemak stalls serving the best coconut rice with egg, ikan bilis, otah, chicken wings, begedil and more
If you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll know that rice is a staple part of local food. And by now you should know that we don’t just do plain ol’ white rice. There’s a million varieties of fried rice, chicken rice, briyani, and the crowd favourite: nasi lemak. Lucky for you, we’re quite the connoisseurs when it comes to this delicious and fragrant coconut rice.
The world ‘lemak’ itself means full-flavoured or rich, referring to how it is cooked with coconut milk to get its distinctive flavour. Always served with an accompaniment of chicken wings, fried anchovies, otah, eggs – basically anything – and of course, the spicy-sweet sambal that pulls the dish together. Let’s get hunting for the best spots!
The Coconut Club
$12 for a plate of nasi lemak? The audacity. But don’t knock it before you try it. Yes, it is a tad bit pricier than the usual serving in Singapore but it is worth all your money. A (ceramic) plate comes with coconut rice, a generous and very delicious chicken leg, ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber, fried egg and sambal. Plus it’s all plated out very nicely which is a bonus for this not usually photogenic dish. And though it is a mighty fine specimen of this classic Singaporean dish, it should be a more ‘treat yo’self’ day kind of experience.
The Coconut Club, 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
Old School Canteen
Doing nasi lemak the old-school way, this stall in Changi Village is a blast from the past. With generous amounts of fluffy coconut rice, you can choose between three sides: sambal sotong (squid in sambal), sambal udang (sambal prawns) and the classic fish. The sambal is the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, meaning even the weaklings can handle this. We recommend the sambal sotong option…
Old School Canteen, 3 Changi Village Road #01-85, Singapore 500002
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Weekend mornings are never complete without nasi lemak. One of the more central places to head to for this breakfast delight is Adam Road Food Centre’s Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak. The lines are always long here, so that’s telling enough on its pure, savoury goodness. Choose between seven different sets (made up of different components like sunny side up, fried fish or otah). First timers, order up the Royal Rumble; it’s packed to the brim with incredibly fried goodies. Also just a tip: be prepared to use your hands – it can and will get messy.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak, #01-02 Adam Road Food Centre, 2 Adam Road, Singapore 289876
Bali Nasi Lemak
Love the coconut-infused rice of nasi lemak but tired of your egg and fish combo? Bali Nasi Lemak in Geylang switches out normal dishes for signatures like kecap manis chicken (black sauce chicken) and long beans with sambal belachan. Mix these in generously with the rice for an irresistible medley of flavours.
Bali Nasi Lemak, 2 Lorong 15 Geylang, Singapore 388596
International Muslim Food Stall Nasi Lemak
Like many hawker legends, International Nasi Lemak attracts snaking queues, so be prepared to wait a while. For braving the queue, you’ll be rewarded with fragrant, lemak rice (not the starchy, sticky type; don’t worry), crispy fried chicken, egg, and sweet spicy sambal. Treat yourself and top up your meal with a slab of otah. The ultimate combo.
International Muslim Food Stall Nasi Lemak, Stall 2 Changi Village, 3 Changi Village Road, Singapore 500002.
Nasi Lemak Kukus
If you love your nasi lemak rice – and we mean, really love it – then the prospect of free-flow rice must sound pretty tempting to you, yes? Nasi Lemak Kukus at Selegie gives you that luxury, at affordable prices too. Once you’re done piling your plate with your lil’ rice mountain, top it up (it’s self-service here) with ingredients of your choosing – fried fish fillet, omelette, chicken wings and other nasi lemak staples.
Nasi Lemak Kukus, 229 Selegie Road, Singapore 188344
Fong Seng Fast Food Nasi Lemak
Something to make the journey to the west worth it? Fong Seng. Although the nasi lemak restaurant here is run by Chinese owners, you can still taste the authenticity with the richness of the coconut flavours in the steamed, fluffy rice. Keep my add-on dishes simple with deep-fried chicken wing, fried sunny side up, and firm otah (and chilli, duh) or go mad and pile up that plate like the champion you are. No one’s judging because they’re doing the same thing.
Fong Seng Fast Food Nasi Lemak, 22A Clementi Road, Singapore 129751
Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre
Nasi lemak NOT as a breakfast food? Why not. It’s so delicious we should eat it all the darn time. Ponggol Nasi Lemak only opens in the evenings till late and the queues…. Let’s just say, be prepared to wait. With so much variety of sides, one can go mad but take your pick from amazingly crispy fried chicken, fried prawns, fried eggs, and maybe some ladyfingers or green beans for ‘balance’. You’ve got to eat it hot and fresh, because the key element is that everything is fried. Sounds unhealthy, but it’s just so freakin’ good.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre, 238 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 437026, p. 6287 0020
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak
A comfort food haunt for Northerners, this Sembawang fixture has been serving its signature nasi lemak since 1973, so you bet it knows a thing or two about the famed local dish! Food items here include otah, ngoh hiang, hash browns; the real standout, however, is its crispy, deep-fried chicken wings that will undoubtedly get your hands messy.
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak, 965 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534721
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