Home-Style Nasi Lemak 

Greetings, Makan Kakis! This week, we welcome a new foodie friend to our rolling panel of culinary personalities and she is someone you might remember from her Maxwell Market, Wok & Barrel or Ujong days – she is Mod-Sin Chef Shen Tan, who’s also Culinary Directory & creator of bespoke gastronomic experiences with Gastrogig.

She’s currently serving up a menu of her “greatest hit” dishes at Revolution Coffee over at Infinite Studios – in particular, her fantastic Nasi Lemak with decadent toppings! Do scroll all the way down for more.

In the mean time though, we’re talking about her first foray into cooking, childhood culinary memories, Grandma’s cooking, her approach to food, what her perfect meal would be (hint: it’s spiky, pungent and absolutely fruitiluscious!) and where this Nasi Lemak aficionado goes for her own Nasi Lemak fix (promise, it’s not her own kitchen – haha).

HEAR:

  • Click for Part 1 – we talk about her own Nasi Lemak and taking that leap from Events Management to Cooking.
  • Click for Part 2 – Chef Shen’s memories of Grandma’s cooking, her food philosophy & what her perfect meal would be.
  • Click for Part 3 – the Friends of Mitzo collaboration!
  • Click to hear all about one of Chef Shen’s favourite Nasi Lemak stalls.

SEE:

Photo of Maria’s Nasi Lemak courtesy of Chef Shen Tan

Ok, so we’ve established that Chef Shen is well-known for her Nasi Lemak and it’s no surprise she likes to eat Nasi Lemak too, but not necessarily her own! That’s because when it comes to Nasi Lemak, everyone has a different style, so there’s no real need for comparison. When the mood strikes for a super-comforting Nasi Lemak meal strikes, Chef Shen heads to one of her favourite places in Tanglin Halt. Located in a charming, retro coffeeshop, Maria’s Corner is a quaint little stall run by a cute Makcik, where you get rustic, good old home-style cooking. It’s so good, she sells out very out very quickly. You get a heap of her fragrant coconut rice, then you choose from the array of delicious dishes to pair with your rice. Chef Shen particularly likes these:

  • Urap – spicy wing bean salad with grated, toasted coconut with lime & beansprouts, all tossed with Tempeh chips.
  • Paru (beef lung)
  • Sambal Telur (egg)
  • Sambal Goreng – spicy-fried tau kwa, tempeh and veggies
  • Dollop Sambal Belachan all over and you have a satisfying, truly tasty meal!

TASTE:
Maria’s Corner Nasi Lemak
Guan Kim Coffeeshop
47 Tanglin Halt Rd, Singapore 141047
Only open for breakfast & lunch, or till she sells out

___________________________

CHEF SHEN’S NASI LEMAK

Chef Shen Tan’s Nasi Lemak at Revolution Coffee

In the picture above, you see twice-steamed coconut rice that’s been seasoned with 8 different herbs and ingredients, crunchy Ikan Billis, fried egg and a sinfully crisp deep-fried pork chop. The 2 types of chilli takes thing over the top – one is fresh and tangy, the other is a super-umami coffee sambal! Also must try: her rich beef rendang! Also available, deep-fried chicken chop and chicken rendang.

Coffee Pork Confit!
There’s an extra bowl of Beef Rendang on the table with my name on it!

Get Chef Shen’s Nasi Lemak here:
REVOLUTION COFFEE
Infinte Studios
21 Media Circle, #01-03A, Singapore 138562
Tel: +65 67772110
Open Daily: 9am -6pm

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Nasi Jenganan & Rawon!  


HEAR:
Click to listen to this week’s gravy-laden rice episode!

SEE:

This week sees the return of our Makan Kaki, Batik Fashion fashion designer, avid home cook & rice-mad “Nasi Girl”, Oniatta Effendi. There’s not a day that she doesn’t eat rice, so really, you should trust her when she says this makan place that specializes in two unusual rice dishes is SO GOOD! Have you heard of Nasi Jenganan or Nasi Rawon? Frequent customers to Bedok Corner Food Centre may be familiar with these complete plate meals, but Denise confesses to never having heard of them till now. And after a trek to the East to try Oniatta’s recommendation, you have a convert in Denise.

Here’s why:

Both dishes come with the same ingredients – steaming hot rice, Paru (fried beef lung), Begedil & Sambal Sotong. The difference is in the wonderfully aromatic and tasty gravies poured over each rice dish.

For Nasi Jenganan (which is only available on Sundays), the gravy is a thick, peanut sauce with a spicy chilli kick that’s not too sweet. So deliciously rich and nutty, it smothers a serving of boiled kang kong, bean sprouts and fried bean curd. Everything mixed together is a wonderful experience of textures and spicy-savoury-sweet flavours.

The Paru is delightfully crisp & springy, yet tender, with a hint of that beefy, metallic offal flavour (but not unpleasantly so). The squid is soft and yielding having been simmered in a sweet and spicy sambal.

The Begedil is outstanding here, as it is cooked to order and arrives on your plate fresh out of the kwali, hot and crispy on the outside, meltingly soft and creamy on the inside.

As for the Nasi Rawon, the gravy is an earthy sauce made from Buah Keluak! The bitter-sweet, pleasingly muddy flavour of this nut is cooked with beef shin, seasoned & sweetened, then poured liberally over the rice plate, till every ingredient is bathed in the liquid black gold!

Chunks of meaty beef shin soaked in the Rawon sauce dot the plate & with the addition of a mind-blowing sambal chilli that’s salty & tangy, you have the perfect balance for the sweet, earthy Rawon gravy.

The rice is topped off with crispy, sweet and spicy Serunding, which takes the entire plate just over the top!

Satay Solo also serves classics like Satay, Ayam Penyet as well as Mee Soto, but truly, it’s their Nasi Jenganan & Rawon you should try. Just remember the Nasi Jenganan is served exclusively on Sundays only and Satay Solo sees long queues from as early as 8am. But thankfully when we went on Sunday at 12.30pm, we still managed to get 2 plates of Nasi Jenganan despite the queue! While you’re at Bedok Corner Food Centre, Oniatta also recommends the Chang Tng stall for an icy dessert to complete your meal!

TASTE:
SATAY SOLO
1 Bedok Road, Bedok Corner Food Centre (opposite Bedok Army Camp)
Stall No. 9, Singapore 469572
Open 7am – 10pm (Tues – Sun, closed Mon)
Tel: +65 97110116

VIDEO: NASI LEMAK FOR NATIONAL DAY!

CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEO!

Hello Makan Kakis! In recent weeks, our nation and its netizens have been all abuzz with opinions about MacDonald’s NASI LEMAK BURGERS, which, to the disappointment of many, sold out in 2 weeks. Personally, I think a nasi lemak burger should at least contain nasi (rice) so come with me as we follow the coconut-fragranced trail of one other worthy nasi lemak burger, that could fill that empty space left by said fast food restaurant! But if it’s the un-burgered, original form of Nasi Lemak you prefer though, then I have another recommendation for the purists.

Click the on the picture above to WATCH this latest video episode of Gold 905’s feel good food guide, in which I recommend two Nasi Lemak options – one hipster burger, one hearty tradition – on offer.

HEAR:
Click here to LISTEN to our aromatic on-air episode!

SEE:

TRY THIS: With National Day on the horizon, a little tasty competition seems to have emerged amongst several makan places which have come up with their own versions of the new-fangled Nasi Lemak Burger. From the fray emerged one that stood out – in description, that is. I was delighted to hear that my Makan Guru KF Seetoh had persuaded the folks at HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay branch) to bring back their Nasi Lemak Burger all this month of August. It sounded like an improvement on the fast food restaurant version, so I made it my mission to try it the very day it launched.

Caution: Sensory overload! Make no mistake, this is one dirty, decadent, minyak and lemak creation, featuring coconut rice mixed with otah (for extra umami and colour), shaped into “buns” using a ring form, then wok-fried till crispy and toasty brown on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside.

These rice “buns” sandwich a breaded fish fillet, fried egg and a mellow-sweet smear of sambal scattered with crunchy ikan billis and peanuts. This Nasi Lemak Burger is delicious and definitely gives you all the taste and aroma of the rice dish. This is a novel re-imagining of a Singapore classic, with lots of punchy flavours and contrasting textures, but be warned though, you’ll probably find it hard to finish even one on your own.

It may be small in size, but this $7.50 Nasi Lemak Burger is hefty on your tastebuds and stomach. Bring a friend to share, or a takeaway container. If you’re looking for a uniquely Singaporean dish to feast on this National Day, you could do much worse than enjoying alfresco dining by Marina Bay, soaking in the views as you soak up the greasy goodness of the Nasi Lemak Burger here.

TASTE:
HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay Branch)
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
8 Raffles Avenue, #01-15H,
Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802.
Open Daily 3pm – 1am.

OR THAT: If you’re thinking why go to the trouble of turning Nasi Lemak into burgers when you can have it the old-fashioned, traditional way, then you’ve got to try Nasi Lemak Kukus.

Kukus literally means “Steam” in Malay and this is the really old school, traditional way to cook the coconut rice. To save time and effort these days, most Nasi Lemak restaurants will just use a rice cooker to boil the rice and cook it. But steaming is what sets Nasi Lemak Kukus apart from others. A lot of care is taken to steam the rice, which means you get a more springy product, with a light coconut fragrance that permeates each and every grain. What you don’t get is an overpoweringly coconutty, sticky mush. This one has great texture that’s firm to the bite and beautifully flavoured with coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt. Honestly, it’s so good, you can eat the rice all on its own. Best of all, servings are unlimited!

Help yourself to as much of it from the large steamer they have set up at the buffet-style counter, along with the unlimited helpings of  sambal tumis. Nasi Lemak Kukus has two types – a sweet and mild one and then there’s the “power” one – super spicy, but with just a touch of sweet to balance out the fire.

All-you-can-eat rice and sambal aside, another star item on their menu is the deep-fried chicken wing. Delicately seasoned with spices like turmeric that gives it its golden yellow hue, these are fried in small batches for maximum freshness and crispiness.

As an introduction to what’s on offer, try the Nasi Lemak Kukus standard meal set, which gets you unlimited rice and sambal, along with 1 chicken wing, 1 piece of egg omelet, 1 whole ikan kuning and a scoop of crunchy ikan billis and peanut mix. For just $4, this is one satisfying, value-for-money meal.

But with so many other dishes on display, you’ll be hard-pressed to resist naughty tidbits like the super-tasty deep-fried chicken skin and otah-otah.

You can also get other add-ons from their special pots bubbling away on burners, including lip-smackingly lemak sayur lodeh…

…savoury-sweet beef paru (lung) and the rich, tender mutton rendang.

Depending on your mood, wash down your hearty meal with a strong and sweet Vietnamese drip coffee, or a freshly squeezed home-made calamansi lime drink.

Nasi Lemak Kukus is a great stop for a quick lunch at its sun-drenched premises, but also pretty special at night in their courtyard complete with twinkling lights, hanging wall creepers and a gorgeous distressed spiral staircase.

What you get here is unpretentious quality food, friendly staff and a relaxed self-serve atmosphere in a charming old Selegie shophouse, its interiors charmingly adorned with the colourful scribbles and artwork of customers (a lot of who are Lasalle students). TASTE:
Nasi Lemak Kukus
229 Selegie Road, Singapore 188344
Open Monday – Saturday 12pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sunday.
Tel: 8222-9517/ 91443764

Nasi Nasi Very Nice!

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s steaming hot episode!

SEE:
Oniatta Effendi, our gregarious foodie friend, gets even more animated when she talks about Nasi Padang because she is, as we have previously discovered, a self-confessed “Nasi Girl” – she has to have rice with every meal, including breakfast! As early as 7am, Oniatta can be found up and ready for a steaming hot plate of Nasi Padang from her favourite place in Singapore. Warong Pariaman has a very special place in her heart because this is where she met her husband Nizam and its also her favourite because of the nostalgia factor – shes been eating there with her family since she was a young child.

Warong Nasi Pariaman has its beginning back in 1948 as a family-run corner coffeeshop at Kandahar Street. For the uninitaited, Nasi Padang hails from West Sumatra in Indonesdia and Pariaman is the name of a city there. Essentially, you get hot, fluffy white rice that is paired with a variety of dishes, sides and condiments. If you enjoy rich flavours of coconut, chilli, lime, lemongrass and lengkuas (galangal), then you’ll love Nasi Padang!

Oniatta recommends their signature dish of Ayam Bakar (see above: barbequed chicken in a mild coconut-spiced gravy). She calls this one of their “hard core” dishes, along with Rendang Daging (beef (simmered in chilli, spices and coconut milk), Ikan Bakar (charcoal-grilled fish marinated in tamarind sauce, slathered in a sweet black soya sauce with fresh onion, green chilli and lime) and Sambal Goreng (fried long beans, beancurd & tempeh), but you’ll probably have to wait till about 10am for these to be ready for eating!

But early-riser Oniatta has simple tastes, when she gets there at 7.30/8am she is very satisfied with their delicious Ayam Gulai as well as Sotong.

If you’re wondering, Gulai is a rich and spicy Indonesian curry-like sauce paired with poultry, beef, mutton, offal, & seafood, as well as fruits and vegetables unripe jackfruit & cassava leaves. Gulai is packed with spices like coriander, black pepper, galangal, ginger, chilli pepper, shallot, garlic, fennel, lemongrass, cinnamon, caraway and turmeric (which gives it its vivid, deep yellow colour), all of which are ground into a paste and cooked in coconut milk with the meats, seafood or veggies. Piled on a heaping plate of hot rice, washed down with a bracing cup of teh, this is a breakfast that hits the spot for her!

Breakfast not your thing? No worries! Warong Pariaman is open all day for lunch and dinner too. With such a wide and varied menu, youll be spoilt for choice from one of Singapores oldest Nasi Padang institutions!

TASTE:
WARONG PARIAMAN
736/738 North Bridge Road Singapore 198704 (Behind Sultan Mosque)
Open Daily: 7:30am – 8:00pm
Tel:+65 62922374 / +65 62925958

Dive into this Kacang Pool!

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s episode of Deliciousness!

SEE:
This week, our foodie friend and cook-performer in Singapore Festival of the Arts’ forthcoming O.P.E.N. KITCHENS, Asha Adnan, introduces us to a retro restaurant that’s a throwback to the 70s/ 80s. Mukmin Restaurant features several established stalls serving up really delicious home comforts. Case in point, Kacang Pool, which Asha describes as a Malay take on hummus. Asha loves the texture and taste of this dish, which comes with chopped green chillies, red onion and a fried egg on top. Better yet, you can ask for a runny centre (Asha recommends you do) and sop up all the eggy, kacang goodness with the toasted French bread served on the side!

If you’re early enough and lucky enough to be there on Fridays, be sure to get in line to grab the freshly fried Goreng Pisang (batter-fried banana)  – sweet, savoury and so irresistible – BEFORE 2pm. They sell out really quickly, a testament to how good they are!  And don’t forget to ask for the crumbs – you know, those crunchy bits of excess batter? Other must-tries at Mukmin include their Lontong Goreng, Mee Soto & Laksa. It’s really a restaurant that has everything tasty under one roof! 

TASTE:
MUKMIN RESTAURANT
Block 129 Bedok North Street 2, #01-26, Singapore 460129
Tel: 64434724
Open Daily: 7am – 10pm

Nasi Lemak to the Max!

HEAR:

SEE:
This week, we introduce you to TWO new foodie friends who are avid and prolific cooks, soon to be seen in the Singapore International Arts Festival’s O.P.E.N. Kitchens, a series of interactive and delicious culinary performances, in which you get to prepare a meal with them, whilst enjoying stories and perhaps even songs! Please meet Asha Adnan of Asha & Co. and Oniatta Effendi of Baju by Oniatta, both with wonderful stories and dishes to share (Listen to the audio of them sharing above)! For today’s episode of Makan Kakis, we begin with self-confessed “Nasi Girl” Oniatta recommending a restaurant that ruined her for ordinary Nasi Lemak. She says this place turned her into a Nasi Lemak snob and no other will do. Nestled in a cosy part of Ann Siang Hill, Coconut Club has made waves with their instagrammable environment and food, but aesthetics aside, this is really a solid, outstanding plate of coconut rice and dishes. The brainchild of 3 friends who went to a Nasi Lemak convention in Malaysia, Coconut Club was opened with the best quality in mind.
Nasi Lemak in itself is a basic comfort food, but Coconut Club really elevates the humble home dish with their expert handling of quality ingredients – from the otak-otak to the fried chicken, everything is truly sedap, says Oniatta. And on days their sambal lala is available, be sure to get your order in ASAP – soooo good!
Be sure to leave room for their array of coconutty desserts, traditional kueh-kueh, from Kueh Salat to Kueh Bingka Ubi.
Coconut Club lives up to its name with their Kueh Ko Swee or Kuih Kosui, absolutely smothered with grated coconut!
Oniatta has since discovered that the intense coconut flavours that pervade all their dishes come from special coconuts they source at a secret plantation in Malaysia…
Finally, wash all that coconutty goodness down with a excellent teh tarik or kopi, from Master Desmond, who usually plies his trade outside Changi Prison but was lured over to Coconut Club to serve up his fantastic drinks. All in all, Oniatta says whilst there has been a lot of hype about Coconut Club and their “atas” Nasi Lemak, the $12.80 price per plate is more than worth it!

TASTE:
COCONUT CLUB
6, Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
Open for lunch: 11am – 3pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
Open for dinner: 6 – 9.30pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 6635 2999

Must-try Nasi Lemak – Surprising Discovery at Secret Location

Old-fashioned Nasi Lemak (photo courtesy of makansutra.com)

HEAR:
Click here for awesome audio – this week’s secret & surprising discovery of local breakfast delights hidden in the East!

SEE:
This week, what a special treat! Fresh off the presses of eating guide Makansutra 2017, our Guru of Gluttony KF Seetoh reveals a recent gem of a discovery. This is a place recommended by a friend who also introduced him to the famed JB Ah Meng, so you better believe this is gonna be good!

Definitely a bit of a secret, off-the-beaten-track place, you’d never guess this simple, average, neighbourhood mama shop/ convenience/ provision shop/ minimart would be dishing out yummy old-fashioned local breakfast delights on a daily basis. You know the kind of convenience store in the void deck of your flat? This is what we’re talking about! And early every morning, you’ll see a rack full of hot, home-cooked packets of Nasi Lemak for sale at this Pasir Ris void deck. The food is prepared by someone who lives nearby and brought in fresh daily. The lemak is not too heavy, rice lightly fragranced with coconut and a little salt, so it doesn’t overpower the delicious fried fish (Ikan Kuning). This old-school delight also includes a little packet of ikan billis & kacang, as well as a fried egg on the side with a slice of cucumber for fresh crunch. Seriously, get there early to get it hot and when you unwrap the banana leaf, the smell of the Nasi Lemak will transport you! So good, so simple, so unadulterated.

But that’s not all, grab a packet of their Nasi Sambal Goreng and some Mee Siam too. In particular, Seetoh loved the latter. The Mee Siam isn’t much to look at, sitting in its plastic container, but he swears the moment he took that first bite with a squeeze of lime, he had a “Ratatouille” moment. 😀 You know in the movie where the food reviewer gets swept back to a moment in his past and has the most sublime taste experience (actually, watch it here – it’s such an evocative scene!)? Same experience for Seetoh – it took him right back to his SJI days, in his white shirt and shorts, tie double-pinned so nobody could flick it, standing on the field waiting to play football with his friends before heading across to the sarabat stall for Mee Siam.The flavour of the Pasir Ris Mee Siam gave him those memories and more! Its a distinctively nostalgic taste that he’s been searching for that he hasn’t been able to find till now.

Now you know why it’s sold out usually by 10.30am and people in cars line up to swing by and pick up breakfast on the way into the city for work! So if you’re hankering after a taste of the past, you’ve got to try these home-cooked delights (apparently, the minimart gets their supply from a lady who lives in the area and has her own home kitchen catering business). Read more about it on page 156 of Makansutra 2017, or online here.

***UPDATE***
Since this was published, we have returned a couple of times and discovered that the supplier of the nasi lemak to this minimart has changed and it is no longer the same one described by Seetoh. If you happen to go for the nasi lemak now, be warned, it’s gonna be a generic packet mass-produced by a factory that supplies many places.

There’s been crazy-enthusiastic response to this week’s makan recommendation – thanks for sharing it on your FB and telling your friends! But we did get a call from the lady who runs the mini mart because of the sheer number of people turning up for the home-cooked breakfast delights. She’s completely overwhelmed, so go easy on her, ok?

Just to clarify, she caters the food to sell, she does not prepare it herself!

Also, the food we mention in this post may not always be available, so visit at your own peril! Try your luck, you may get the Nasi Lemak or some other form of packet rice.

Seetoh was lucky enough to get a taste of all 3, but apparently, the Mee Siam may not be available currently.

TASTE:
Pasir Ris Mini Mart
Block 773 Pasir Ris St 71, #01-380
Hot food available daily 7.30am-12noon (but usually sells out by 10.30am!)

Creature Comforts – Inspired Heritage Food

img_6731HEAR:
Click here to catch up with KF Seetoh and what he’s been up too, including details on the latest on his ultimate food guide, Makansutra 2017 edition!
Click here to listen to this week’s mouth-watering makan recommendation, or simply read on…

SEE:
Our very first Makan Kaki, KF Seetoh is back! He’s got 5 copies of the latest edition of Makansutra for you to win and you can go straight to Gold 905’s FB page to enter our contest! For today, let’s talk Asian Heritage food that’s creative, beautifully presented and completely delicious! Seetoh loves meeting people who love and embrace their culinary heritage and move forward using that history to create amazing meals. Case in point, CreatureS, which serves up “comfort food with an Asian flair while staying true to the origins of the dish”. Check out some of Seetoh’s favourites from this little restaurant dishing out big flavours on colourful Desker Road in Little India:

cod-and-nasi-ulamNasi Ulam balls with Miso Cod. Nasi Ulam, in particular, is such a labour of love, involving rice cooked in rich fish stock and perfumed with lots of finely chopped Asian herbs. CreatureS does theirs Japanese onigiri-style and they are WONDERFUL!

lamb-shank-rendangLamb Shank Rendang. Spicy, rich and fall-apart-fork-tender, add a little lontong and you’re in meaty heaven!

babi-gulingCreatureS’ version of Balinese Babi Guling is another winner, as is their Nyonya-inspired Babi Pongtay, of which the pork belly is outstanding – a deep, burnished soy-brown, the babi is caramelised soft and is absolutely delicious.

babi-pongtayDurian Lovers, you’re gonna combust when you check this dessert out…

durian-cake-2CreatureS’ Durian Cake sounds very simple, but trust us, it is so layered in favour, you’ll want to eat the whole cake, not just a slice.

durian-cake-1Can you imagine smooth Mao Shan Wang durian paste (pungent, unctuous durian meat mixed with cream) layered between soft pandan sponge cake and smothered in pandan-vanilla chantilly cream? They make it a mind-blowing reality at CreatureS and it is a definite must-try!

If it’s yummy, satisfying, Asian-inspired food that stays true to its heritage, this is the place to eat at. Bonus is, CreatureS have got what it takes in both the style and substance departments – skillfully-made, delicious food that still looks great, is beautifully presented and totally instagrammable!

TASTE:
CreatureS
120 Desker Road, Singapore 209639

Tel: 6291 6996

Opening Hours:
Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Sunday: 12.00 noon –10.30 p.m.
Friday / Saturday: 12.00 noon –11.30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays.

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