Nasi lemak is a Malay dish that has long been a perennial favourite among Singaporeans regardless of race. It is a dish that features an eclectic mix of flavours from sweet, savoury to spicy—all in a single mouthful.
The fragrant one-plate-wonder typically comprises aromatic rice infused with coconut milk and pandan leaves, either a deep-fried fish or chicken wing, otah (grilled fish paste), fried ‘ikan bilis’ (anchovies) and peanuts, eggs, cucumber slices, and sambal (spicy chilli paste).
It is a hearty meal that is adored by the Malays as well as non-Malays who have their own version of nasi lemak. Some see rice boasting a greenish hue and others even use a different variety of rice grain altogether, but more often than not, it is the side dishes that set them apart.
The Chinese put their own spin on the dish with the addition of things such as a deep-fried chicken drumstick, chicken franks and fish cake to curried vegetables and luncheon meat. But one thing’s for sure, no matter who it is made by, it is almost always a palate pleaser.
#1 ALIFF NASI LEMAK
A meal at the bustling Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre is rarely ever a straightforward affair due to a number of amazing food stalls there. But for nasi lemak that will surely leave an impression, consider Aliff Nasi Lemak.
The nasi lemak at this Muslim-owned stall is one of our all-time favourites. Their food is not overly oily and the ikan bilis here are freshly fried to ensure that every plate is guaranteed a savoury, salty crunch. They are also one of the few around who use basmati rice which is much fluffier and firmer. Paired with the golden fried chicken wing, crispy ikan bilis and the delicious chilli, this is a meal that will surely leave you satisfied.
49A Serangoon Garden Way
#01-27 Serangoon Garden Market
Tel: +65 9091 0807
(Closed on Mondays & Fridays)
Tue to Sun: 7.30am – 2pm
Nearest Station: Serangoon
#2 CHONG PANG NASI LEMAK
Nestled in the Sembawang area, Chong Pang Nasi Lemak is a hit due to its massive selection of ingredient options. This humble stall is patronised by not only the residents in Sembawang but also the hungry soldiers from the various camps nearby.
Having their nasi lemak is always a delightful experience as their chicken wings and fried eggs are always fresh and hot from the wok. In addition, their sambal is super tasty without being too heavy on the spice.
447 Sembawang Road
Tel: +65 9655 1868
Daily: 5pm – 7am
Nearest Station: Yishun
#3 INTERNATIONAL NASI LEMAK
With a dish as iconic as nasi lemak, each individual component has to be executed perfectly from the aromatic coconut rice to the crispy chicken wing, right down to the sweet and spicy sambal. When in the east, our go-to is International Muslim Food Stall Nasi Lemak, who never fails to deliver just that.
This is one place where you are sure to get satisfying nasi lemak at reasonable prices every time and for those who do not live in the East, it is truly something worth travelling to Changi for.
2 Changi Village Road
#01-03 Changi Village Hawker Centre
Mon to Fri: 9am – 3pm, 6pm – 12am
Sat: 9am – 7pm
Sun: 10am – 12am
Nearest Station: Pasir Ris
#4 NO. 1 ADAM’S NASI LEMAK
At this humble stall in Adam Road Food Centre, you will not find any gimmicks nor any fancy ingredients, but what you can expect is a simple plate of nasi lemak done right. It may not be the best in town, but it sure will leave an impression nonetheless.
Their rice may not be the most fragrant around but their saving grace lies in their ingredients which are all done pretty decently.
#01-01 Adam Road Food Centre,
2 Adam Road
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Wed to Mon: 8.30am – 1pm
Nearest Station: Botanic Gardens
#5 POWER NASI LEMAK
For those of you who live in West, you would probably have heard of Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak—the popular supper time haunt that sells seriously good nasi lemak till as early as 3.30am. For avid fans of this iconic dish, this is probably among one of the few worth venturing to in the dead of night.
The beauty lies in their freshly cooked rice that uses the Thai Jasmine variety as opposed to the usual local variety that is often dry and less appealing. The aromatic rice boasts a wonderful coconut fragrance that goes excellently well with their various ingredients. Pair it with their homemade sambal chilli and what you have is a supper to be proud of.
#01-106, 221B Boon Lay Place,
Tel: +65 6266 4466
Mon: 4.30pm – 3.30am
Tue to Sun: 6.30am – 3.30am
Nearest Station: Lakeside
#6 PUNGGOL NASI LEMAK
Although a tad expensive, Punggol Nasi Lemak is a hit among many. They carry a reasonable variety of side dishes such as fried eggs, fried chicken wings/drumsticks, long beans, luncheon meat, lontong, ikan bilis and more.
Despite opening for long hours, their food is cooked in small batches to ensure freshness every time. We personally love their fried eggs, which almost always has a perfectly runny yolk.
965 Upper Serangoon Road
Tel: +65 6281 0020
Daily: 5.30pm – 3.30am
Nearest Station: Kovan
#7 SELERA RASA NASI LEMAK
This humble nasi lemak stall dishes out excellent plates of nasi lemak that come in a variety of sets, each offering different combinations of ingredients depending on how hungry you are. It is so popular that even the Sultan of Brunei makes it a point to have it whenever he visits.
What makes Selera Rasa’s nasi lemak so special to us is their use of basmati rice instead of the typical jasmine variety. This long grain variety is much fluffier and lighter, which bolds really well with the sweet and piquant sambal. It feels much lighter, allowing you to enjoy each and every component without feeling too stuffed too quickly.
2 Adam Rd, #01-02,
Adam Road Food Centre,
(Closed on Fridays)
Sat to Thu: 7am – 5pm
Nearest Station: Botanic Gardens