Hate it or love it, there is no denying that nasi lemak holds a special place in the hearts of almost all Malaysians.
Like Malaysia, it is made great with its diversity of ingredients; consisting of fragrant coconut milk rice, crunchy roasted peanuts, salty anchovies, fresh cucumber slices, spicy sambal and the complementary egg.
It is a uniquely Malaysian dish that no one (especially those from a particular island republic) can claim as their own.
As befitting any beloved classic dish, the nasi lemak has been subjected to the designs of culinary imagination, resulting in a great many strange renditions.
Whether they are good as the classic or not is up to your own tastes, but here are nine unique takes on everyone’s favourite nasi lemak.
1. Nasi lemak ice-cream
Who would have thought it? This is finally a world that has nasi lemak ice-cream!
It is certainly a strange combination in any case, with cold ice-cream coming together with the spiciness of nasi lemak.
It is however, better than it sounds and is worth a try; though it must be said that it is not for everyone.
2. Nasi lemak cake
For the most diehard fans of nasi lemak, perhaps the next birthday celebration ought to be topped off with a delectable nasi lemak cake.
Unlike the usual birthday cake, this cake seems more fitting to be eaten as the main course itself rather than as the dessert.
However, it just looks so adorably cute that there might be some trouble and guilt involved in cutting it to pieces.
3. Nasi lemak biscuits
Fancy some nasi lemak but prefer them to be literally bite-sized? Perhaps a container filled with nasi lemak biscuits will fill that hole in the tummy.
With peanuts and anchovies on the biscuit, the concoction of different tastes on a crunchy cookie is one to savour.
Unfortunately, these biscuits can be rather hard to find, but thankfully, they can be made at home with the many recipes available online.
4. Nasi lemak burger
When McDonald’s first announced the arrival of its seasonal nasi lemak burger, it was greeted with both enthusiasm and scepticism.
Some said that the chicken patty was too oily, others that it was not worth the price. And there was the question of where the titular nasi was.
But the nasi lemak burger does has it fair share of fans who eagerly look forward to the next time the burger comes rolling into town.
5. Nasi lemak sushi
The characteristics that all sushi types share are the seaweed wrapping and the sticky Japanese rice within. So what would the Malaysian take on this Japanese delicacy be?
Well, what if the seaweed was replaced with cucumber for one? And the insides were replaced with nuts, minuscule eggs and anchovies?
A very rare find, it is most certainly an interesting amalgamation of Japanese and Malaysian culinary culture.
6. Nasi lemak tea
It is one thing to eat a strange variation of nasi lemak, but it is another to drink it.
But through some means, a Singaporean tea parlour has managed to turn the dish into an actual beverage.
Its ingredients consist of houjicha, genmaicha, coconut flakes, dried pandan, dried chilli and flavouring, a concoction meant to replicate the distinct taste and smell of nasi lemak.
7. Nasi lemak pasta
Since Malaysia has already run the risk of damaging diplomatic relations with Japan, why not annoy the Italians as well?
Nasi lemak pasta is actually better than its sounds and the spicy sambal mixes well with the fresh taste of wheat noodles.
And of course, the side servings of cucumber and anchovies does everything to further enhance the taste.
8. Nasi lemak pizza
If pasta is already on the menu, why not throw in nasi lemak pizza?
Take the classic pizza and sprinkle it with the ingredients needed for a scrumptious nasi lemak and there will be a nasi lemak pizza ready to go.
Let us just hope that the Italians do not take offence to our spins on their national dishes. It is the best of both East and West after all.
9. Nasi lemak sambal omelette
You can never go wrong with adding eggs to everyday meals; the same goes for the nasi lemak.
In this interesting take on the conventional nasi lemak, eggs are first mixed with sambal to be turned into a spicy omelette.
The omelette is then used as a tasty wrapping for the nasi lemak before being served hot.