Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It all started out as taking a heavy but cheap breakfast so that I could skip lunch or have a light lunch, cause it's always better to have a full breakfast. But days passed, I've finally came to realize I am kind of addicted to Nasi Lemak. No not the one that is wrapped up in banana leaves, but those where you are able to freely choose your side dishes and they served it to you PIPING HOT~!
Yes one of the most simplest dishes of all. yet also considered as the national dish. Steamed coconut rice- Coconut CAN be omitted but NEVER leave out the ginger slices and pandan leaves, eggs- I prefer hard-boiled than fried one's (healthier and tastes nicer when you have it with sambal), cucumbers- fresh and thinly sliced, still retaining the cold temperature as if just taken out from the fridge (too bad the only greenery of nasi lemak), chicken- this side dish is sometimes flexible, as it can be substituted with others such as fish, beef, squid or so on. Never the less, this side dish is considered the main dish of all the side dishes, so it must tastes the best, if possible unique. Since a lot of Malay vendors and some Chinese vendors are selling nasi lemak, this is the dish that should be special to have a daily hoard of customers. Anchovies and groundnuts- Deep fried perfectly, but if possible, a bit on the burnt side, to give an extra crisp and flavor to them. However not coated with oil, and should not be stale. Last but not least, the sambal- also preferably unique, but the cliche type (grounded chillies cooked with onions or curry gravy) is enough to complement with the whole dish. Those are my criteria of what a good nasi lemak should be.
Ever wondered why nasi lemak is usually eaten as breakfast but seldom for lunch, dinner? Well at least in my hostel cafe usually and mostly nasi lemak is only served in the morning. Probably it's a trend or habit to eat nasi lemak as breakfast. But to me eating nasi lemak as breakfast takes on new meanings and reasons.
Generally I'm a food lover- I eat mostly everything. So being biased when it comes to food is totally nothing related to my tastes. Plus I am a self-admit food critique, where I believe my tastes when it comes to seasoning and tastes intensity will work out just fine, in fact perfectly as possible. There are really quite a variety of ways to kick start a day with a hearty breakfast, given that Malaysia is blessed with so many races, each of them having their specialty cuisine. Nasi lemak, wan tan mee, Hokkien mee, Roti Canai, Dim Sum are all just the few names one can think of when it comes to choosing one as breakfast.
The different thing or what's special about nasi lemak compared to others is, it is comparatively a simple dish. It does not require much preparation time compared to others- it is usually prepared beforehand and just requires choosing the side dishes you want and voila~ start eating. Noodles need to be cooked, roti canai dough needs to be flipped and fried once the order is taken, not nasi lemak.
Plus of all the dishes, I dare say nasi lemak is the most colorful of them all. White rice, flaming red sambal, brown fried anchovies, yellow egg yolk, green cucumbers. Just by the appearance itself nasi lemak triumphs over other dishes. I don't know about others but having to have something so colorful as breakfast really lightens up a sleep face's mood like mine~!
Nasi lemak is also special in terms of tastes. It is the individuality of the saltiness of fried anchovies, the bland yet springy hard-boiled egg, the crunchy and fresh cucumbers, fragrant piping hot rice, spicy and enticing sambal all mixed together, that gives it such a special flavor and taste, that makes you shove in a second mouthful of it even you haven't even finish chewing and swallowing the first mouthful. Indeed it is not a fusion or blend of different tastes to make a different flavor - it is the individual side dishes that one can still taste and differentiate, yet they can work together so well in harmony which gives an orgasm to your taste buds.
As much as I like it so much, I don't take it everyday though. But sometimes once in a while, I don't mind taking nasi lemak twice or maybe thrice in a row for each day's breakfast, if the vendor sells superb nasi lemak. As a Chinese guy who can take very spicy food, the food that definitely I will miss most, or maybe crave once in a while like mad should I be overseas, will definitely be none other than - The Nasi Lemak.