We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Nasi Lemak?

K.C. Bruning
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Nasi lemak is a popular Malaysian dish that consists of a ball of coconut rice which is often topped with anchovies and wrapped inside a banana leaf. Though the recipe is most popular in Malaysia, where it is considered to be a national dish, it is also common in Asian nations such as Brunei, Riau Islands, Southern Thailand and particularly Singapore. Nasi lemak is often confused with nasi dagang, a similar coconut milk rice dish that is primarily different because it is also prepared with fish curry.

The phrase nasi lemak means “rice in cream” in Malay. It is popular both as street food and as a restaurant meal. The dish is served any time of day, though it is most popular for breakfast

Nasi lemak is commonly served as part of a plate of food. Typical accompaniments include hard-boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, roasted peanuts, and hot sauce. It can also be served with heartier foods such as chicken, cockle, pickled vegetables called achar, and cuttlefish. Beef lungs, known as paru, and beef rending, which is a dish cooked in coconut milk and spices, are also commonly served with nasi lemak.

A ball of coconut rice is the base element of nasi lemak. Once the cooked rice is mixed with coconut milk it is seasoned with screwpine, also known as pandan, leaves. These leaves are not only a key ingredient of nasi lemak, but an important part of Malaysian cooking overall. Other flavoring such as salt, ginger, and shallots may also be added.

Ikan bilis is the Malaysian word for anchovies. The topping that most often accompanies the coconut rice ball is called sambal ikan bilis. To prepare it, a mixture of prawn paste and seasonings such as dried chilies and garlic are fried in a pan and mixed with onion rings. Then sugar, salt, and tamarind juice are stirred in. The final element is the addition of fried anchovies.

In Malaysia, nasi lemak is commonly sold by vendors from establishments known as mamak stalls. These dining venues can be anything from a makeshift stall to a small restaurant or café. They are popular gathering places due to the variety and low cost of the food and extended operating hours. Many mamak stalls are open most, if not all, hours of the day and stay open every day except for certain holidays. The eateries get their name from the Tamil Muslims who typically run them.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
K.C. Bruning
By K.C. Bruning
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and platforms, including WiseGeek. With a degree in English, she crafts compelling blog posts, web copy, resumes, and articles that resonate with readers. Bruning also showcases her passion for writing and learning through her own review site and podcast, offering unique perspectives on various topics.
Discussion Comments
K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning
Kendahl Cruver Bruning, a versatile writer and editor, creates engaging content for a wide range of publications and...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.