Travel Tips For Eating Nasi Melayu in Malaysia
The operators of Nasi Melayu stalls are Muslim and the food served is Halal or Kosher. Most speak the Malay language, Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa. Some vendors speak English so ordering your food will not be a problem.
This category of cuisine is commonly found in the Halal section of food courts, hawker centers or even street food stalls. Some operate as a stand-alone restaurant or eating premises.
Eating More Green Ulams with Nasi Melayu
Ulam, a traditional green leafy salad is typically eaten with a spicy pounded condiment called ‘sambal belacan’. This is a must-have condiment and sometimes eaten as a main dish in traditional Malay villages.
All families have their special recipe for making ‘sambal belacan’, a raw pungent pounded red chilies, roasted belacan, garlic, a pinch of salt with a squeeze of lime.
The ulams are abundant fresh herbs made up of raw young shoots and leaves.
Nasi Melayu Dishes
In Asia, rice is a lunch or dinner staple. The Malay Economy Rice stalls or Nasi Melayu is the most popular with office workers and even families who don’t cook their meals at home.
Nasi Melayu stall provides a better and more nutritious serve of greens and proteins from say eating a noodle dish. This is a cheaper and better option of eating out.
Economy rice stalls typically have anything that ranges from 10 to 30 metal troughs of cooked food on display.
You will find curries, meats, vegetables, eggs, bean curd, and fresh raw greens. Sometimes you may find hot clear soups.
The cooked dishes are in many styles which include kerabu (salads), raw vegetable and herbs (ulam) sambal belacan dips, deep frying, stir-fries, and curries.
Hot Rice for Nasi Melayu
For a great Nasi Melayu meal, the white rice should be freshly cooked and very hot. Hence, the name in Malay, “Nasi Panas Panas”.
The is best eaten with a good solid sambal belacan.
They serve customers a plate of white rice from a huge insulated rice container. They select a combination of the dishes of their choice.
Most Malay dishes are not kept on a food warmer and sold as pre-cooked.
Packing it Home
Most patrons will pack back the white rice with heaps of choice dishes on a plastic sheet wrapped in a newspaper.
Some sambal belacan can be very spicy and pungent as the recipes add in Bird’s-eye chilies which are very hot.
Money Saving Tips
Most Nasi Melayu stalls charge by the ladle of dishes. Ask for the price of fried fish which are served as a whole fish.
If you’re eating with a friend, use the small plates and share.
You get to sample more dishes this way.
Nasi Melayu is a great sampler for cheap Malay cuisines in Malaysia where you pay street food prices to eat and experience life as a local.
Tips for Eating Nasi Melayu
Place your choice of dishes on your plate of white rice. If sharing, you may opt to use the small plates for the dishes separately.
You can opt to ladle the dishes on a plate of rice.
Order your drink at the cashier and they will serve it at your table.
The cashier will write the price on a small piece of paper or jot it down at the counter. You pay after you eat.
Eating Nasi Melayu during Ramadan
Muslims around the world fast for a full lunar month. For an experience, try going to the Bazaar Ramadan where many stalls gather to sell Malay delicacies and cakes and sweets.
- They do not permit pork and or alcohol on the premises.
- Please do not bring along your pet dogs.