We pick our favourite nasi lemak stalls serving the best coconut rice with egg, ikan bilis, otah, chicken wings and more!
If you’ve lived in Singapore long enough, you’ll know that rice is a staple of local food. And by now you should know that we don’t just do plain ol’ white rice. There are a million varieties of fried rice, chicken rice, biryani, and the crowd favourite: nasi lemak. Lucky for you, we’re quite the connoisseurs when it comes to this deliciously 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. It’s usually served with an accompaniment of chicken wings, fried anchovies, otah, eggs – plus other toppings of your liking – and, of course, the spicy-sweet sambal that pulls the dish together. Let’s get hunting for the best spots!
The Coconut Club
$14 for a plate of nasi lemak? The audacity. But don’t knock it before you try it. Yes, it is a tad pricier than the usual serving in Singapore but we’d say it’s worth all your money. A typical serving comes piled high 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 dish since it isn’t the most photogenic. And though it is a mighty fine specimen of this Singaporean classic, it should be more of a ‘treat yo’self’ day kind of experience.
The Coconut Club, 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
Village Nasi Lemak Bar
Another upscale joint has entered the fray. Purists might want to look away as the folks here have ditched the typical fried egg for truffle poached eggs. This minor upgrade adds a whole lot of flavour to a plate of coconut rice, peanuts, ikan bilis and house-made sambal. There are no sets here, so you can get creative by picking your own sides such as mutton rendang, chicken wings, sambal fish and sayur lodeh (vegetable curry). Here’s the best part: You can wash it all down with a satisfying bottle of beer.
Village Nasi Lemak Bar, 57 Circular Road, Singapore 049412
Old School Canteen
Doing it 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. This sambal is the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, meaning even the weaklings can handle this. We’d recommend the sambal sotong option…
Old School Canteen, #01-85, 3 Changi Village Road, Singapore 500002
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Weekend mornings are never complete without a dose of coconut rice and its trimmings. One of the more central places dishing out this breakfast delight is the popular stall at Adam Road Food Centre. The lines are always long here, so that’s telling of its pure, savoury goodness. Choose between seven different sets – they’re made up of different components like sunny side up, fried fish or otah). First timers can order up the Royal Rumble: It’s packed to the brim with incredible 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 but tired of your egg and fish combo? Bali Nasi Lemak in Geylang switches out regular sides 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, this joint 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 spicy-sweet sambal. Treat yourself and top up your meal with a slab of otah – it’s the ultimate combo.
International Muslim Food Stall Nasi Lemak, Stall 2, Changi Village, 3 Changi Village Road, Singapore 500002
Fong Seng Fast Food Nasi Lemak
Something to make the journey to the west worth it? Fong Seng. It’s run by Chinese owners (a sight you don’t see often), but you can still taste its authenticity in the richness of the coconut flavours in the steamed, fluffy rice. Keep add-on dishes simple with deep-fried chicken wing, fried sunny side up, and otah (plus chilli, duh) or let loose 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
No need for introductions. This brand’s combo of aromatic rice, crispy chicken wings, crunchy ikan bilis, smoky otah and dollop of spicy chilli served on brown oil paper is the epitome of Singapore’s hawker culture. The nasi lemak here is always a hit! Feel free to add on classics sides including fried fish, luncheon meat and fish cake.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre, various locations
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak
A comfort food haunt for Northerners, this Sembawang fixture has been serving its signature nasi lemak since 1973, so you can bet it knows a thing or two about the famed local dish! Side choices include otah, ngoh hiang (five-spice pork roll), and hash browns. The real standout, however, is its crispy, deep-fried chicken wings that will undoubtedly get your hands deliciously messy.
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak, 447 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758404
Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak
This spot is the answer to Ponggol Nasi Lemak for west-siders. The powerhouse (no pun intended) is open for business as early as 6am – now we know why the early bird catches the worm. You can up the ante by picking options like sambal sotong, paru (fried beef lungs) or beef rendang. Just don’t be surprised to see a long line of hungry diners ahead of you. Good things come to those who wait!
Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, #01-06, 210B Boon Lay Place, Singapore 641221