The next big thing in UK: nasi lemak as an Ipoh-born woman wins Masterchef UK with the dish. Nasi lemak, or cai fan on steroids, should be one of our national dishes: everyone loves it, it unites us all. Rice is cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, giving it robustness and an irresistible fragrance. Sides may include fried ikan kuning fish, egg, cucumber, ikan bilis, sambal, fried chicken wings, and otah.
We excluded restaurants such as Ujong and Madam Kwan, because it’s unfair to compare apples with oranges. We shortlisted 25 famous hawker and kopitiam stalls, but when we visited Yi Li Xiang Nasi Lemak (Hougang) and Sheikh Najib Nasi Lemak (Dunlop St), they were closed for good; and Famous Nasi Lemak (Redhill) is rebranded as Famous Delights, selling Chinese breakfast food now. We ate at 22 stalls till we wanna puke. We don’t want to eat nasi lemak for at least the next 2 hours.
We ranked them based on rice, sambal, and sides. This is not a definitive list. If you have any recommendations or disputes, comment and let us know. In ascending order:
#22. Makan Sutra Nasi Lemak Pandan Rice
Blk 6, Tanjong Pagar Road, Tanjong Pagar Market #02-39, Singapore 081006
6am-1pm, closed Sun & PH
Rice: Nice texture but no fragrance. 4.5/10
Sambal: Sweet and gooey. 5.5/10
Dishes: Generous but no good. 5.75/10
Pros: Central. No queue. Generous portions. Affordable. Friendly.
Cons: Short hours.
#21. HJH Salbiah Muslim Food
Blk 2 Changi Village Road, Changi Village Market #01-04, Singapore 50002
8am-sold out in evening, Closed: W-F
Rice: Sour. 4/10
Sambal: Had onions in them. So-so. 5.75/10
Dishes: Some parts of the chicken wings were dry. But the Indonesian-styled fish was awesome. 7/10
Pros: Halal. Opens till late night. Easy parking unless during peak hours.
Cons: Far from anywhere. Not cheap. Think this stall should concentrate on its nasi padang, not nasi lemak.
#20. Hon Ni Kitchen 红泥小厨
Blk 216, Bedok North St 1, #01-07 Market and Food Centre, Singapore 460216
7.30am-2pm, closed Sun-Mon
Rice: Buttery rice. 5.75/10
Sambal: Pungent then salty. 6/10
Dishes: Chicken wing had strong greasy taste but other sides not bad. 6/10
Pros: Multi-storey carpark. Many dishes to choose. Affordable.
Cons: Long but quick queue.
#19. 106 Nasi Lemak
120 Bukit Merah Lane, Alexandra Village Food Centre #01-12, Singapore 150120
10am-7pm, closed Sun
Rice: Hard, not fragrant. 5.25/10
Sambal: Sweet then very spicy. 6.5/10
Dishes: Everything was so so but sambal sotong was deliciously smokey. 6.25/10
Pros: No queue.
Cons: I think the hawker saw that I’m fat, so he gave me small serving. Expensive.
#18. Chong Pang Nasi Lemak
447 Sembawang Road, Singapore 458404
T: 6756 0048
Rice: Loose, slightly dry, and strong coconut fragrance. 8.25/10
Sambal: Sweet, not spicy. Watery. 4.25/10
Dishes: Ikan bilis crispy, sweet, sticky. But the other dishes, even the fried chicken wings, were so so. 6/10
Pros: Variety of dishes to choose. Good value. Opens late night.
Cons: Tired service. Hard to find parking. I hate eating on styrofoam plates and with plastic utensils: destroys environment and doesn’t have a good feel. At the drink stall, a dishonest uncle sold us drinks at $1.60 a can. Daylight robbery.
Cost: $8.30 for two plates of nasi lemak.
#17. Ponggol Nasi Lemak
965 Upper Serangoon Rd, Mee Sek Food Court, Singapore 534721
T: 6281 0020
5.30pm-5am, Closed Th
Other outlet: Tanjong Katong Rd
Rice: Texture like normal cze-char rice but with a coconut aroma. 6.25/10
Sambal: Got kick, sweet, and spicy, with a hint of hae bee. Came in the form of paste, different from the other stalls’. 7/10
Dishes: Finally! A runny sunny side-up. Drumstick was slightly overfried, though still tasty and succulent at parts. Other dishes, like okra and achar, quite tasty. 7/10
Pros: Opens late night. Queue goes quickly.
Cons: Almost twice as expensive as the usual price (deduct 0.5 from total score). Impatient service. Didn’t taste like nasi lemak, more like caifan with coconut rice. Don’t park around the kopitiam, I got a parking fine. There is a small carpark across the street or a big one diagonally across.
Cost: $12.90 for two plates of nasi lemak.
Rating: 6.750-0.5 = 6.250/10
#16. Shui Huat Nasi Lemak 瑞发椰浆饭
Blk 216, Bedok North St 1, #01-35 Market and Food Centre, Singapore 460216
Rice: Salty! 4.5/10
Sambal: Dense, sweet then spicy. 8/10
Dishes: Awesome chicken wing, but limp long beans and overcooked and over salty egg. 6.5/10
Pros:Multi-storey carpark. Many dishes to choose.
Cons: Long queue moves slowly.
#15. Mizzy Corner Nasi Lemak
Blk 2 Changi Village Road, #01-26 Changi Village Market & Food Centre, Singapore 500002
Rice: Coconuty, fluffy. 7.5/10
Sambal: More sweet than spicy, stir-fried with ikan bilis. 6/10
Dishes: So-so chicken wings but the otah tasted artificial. 5.5/10
Pros: Halal. Easy parking unless during peak hours. Friendly makcik. Pretty plate.
Cons: Far from anywhere.
#14. Golden Shoe Nasi Lemak
50 Market St, Golden Shoe Food Centre #02-14, Singapore 048940
Rice: Green but only mildly flavored. I’d prefer less colouring. 5.75/10
Sambal: Spicy, less sweet, with hint of hae bee. Tasted more Chinese than Malay. 6.25/10
Sides: Runny sunny sideup, wings very tasty with 5-spice but a tad dry. 7/10
Pros: City area. Cheap. Cheerful auntie. Visually appealing.
#13. Haji Maksah Barkat Chahya, aka Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak
Blk 221B Boon Lay Place, #01-106 Boon Lay Food Centre, Singapore 642221
T: 6266 4466
M 6pm-4am, T-Sun: 6am-3pm, 6pm-4am
Other outlets: Square 2, Causeway Point, Yew Tee Point, & Admiralty Point
Rice: Loose, a mild coconut fragrance chased by a hint of ginger. 8.5/10
Sambal: Sweet then spicy with a nice aftertaste. Pity no kick. 6.25/10
Dishes: Sotong in sweet chili sauce was nice, ikan kuning was meaty and they gave two. Bland chicken wing, and overdone egg: underwhelming. 6/10
Pros: Variety of dishes to choose. Halal. Opens long hours and till late night. Good value. Market is beside a carpark but may be hard to find a lot during peak hours.
Cons: Impatient service. Revolting to eat cold food, they should switch to a display that has heater. Deduct 0.5 from total score.
Cost: $8.50 for two plates.
Rating: 6.917 – 0.5 = 6.417/10
#12. Pandan Leaf Nasi Lemak
Blk 6, Tanjong Pagar Road, Tanjong Pagar Market #02-25, Singapore 081006
6.30am-1pm, closed Sun
Rice: Lumpy with an eggy taste. 5.75/10
Sambal: Dense, with texture. What were those delicious bits in it? 7/10
Dishes: Pick any 4, by most were processed food. Chicken wing was awesome. 6.75/10
Pros: Central. Affordable.
Cons: Long queue. Small portion.
#11. D’Authentic Nasi Lemak
Blk 84 Marine Parade Central, #01-156 Marine Parade Central Market & Food Center, Singapore 440084
Rice: Super coconuty, a little undercooked. 6.25/10
Sambal: Pleasing, made for a general public with an oniony aftertaste. 6.75/10
Dishes: Average chicken wing, runny egg yolk, very crispy ikan bilis. 6.5/10
Pros: No queue. Halal.
Cons: Hard to find parking.
#10. Sri Sujana Nasi Lemak
Blk 2 Changi Village Rd, Changi Village Food Center #01-30, Singapore 500002
8am-2am, Closed on Monday
We went twice, and the second time was bad.
Rice: Fluffy rice with a good balance of coconut-ness. Got umami feel. But on second time, it was overly moist, and lumpy, and had no coconut fragrance. Average: (10/10 + 3.5/10) 6.75/10
Sambal: Sweet and spicy, but not fiery. Good for both people who like spicy and people who can’t take spice. On the second time, it was charred and sour. Average: (8.5/10 + 2.75/10) 5.625/10
Sides: Throughly marinated chicken wings, salty, crispy and succulent. Ikan bilis was awesome, crispy and sweet. On second time, chicken wings remained tasty and succulent, and redolent of turmeric (which we liked), something not in the first time’s wings. Ikan bilis was normal the second time. Average: (9/10 + 6.5/10) 7.75/10
Pros: Halal. Opens till late night. Easy parking unless during peak hours. Old school plate.
Cons: Far from anywhere. Inconsistent. No side dishes, you can only choose chicken wings or fish.
#9. Li Xin Nasi Lemak 利兴哪唏噜吗
7 Maxwell Road, Amoy Street Food Centre #02-81, Singapore 069111
T: 96574319/ 62240839
Weekdays till 1pm. Closed weekends and PH.
Rice: Almost loose, almost fluffy, a little saltiness to bring out the richness of the coconut. 8.25/10
Sambal: Sweet and not spicy. 6/10
Dishes: Forgettable. 6/10
Pros: Central location. Really friendly boss. Affordable. Taste catered to a general public.
Cons: Short hours. Limited food choices.
#8. Bali Nasi Lemak
2 Geylang Lor 15 Singapore 388596
T: 9069 6881
Rice: Plump, fluffy, and super duper coconuty. Might be an overkill for some. 7/10
Sambal: More spicy than sweet, might be too spicy for some. 6.5/10
Dishes: Super shiok drumstick, crispy and succulent, but slightly bland. Other dishes were so so. 7/10
Pros: Variety of dishes to choose. Serves on banana leaf. Sells bottled liang teh. Opens late night. Good value.
Cons: Seedy area (but that may be a pro? Get it?? prostitute). Hard to find parking.
Cost: $9 for two plates.
#7. Warong Jawa
Blk 16 Bedok South Road, #01-17 Bedok South Rd Market & Food Centre, Singapore 460016
Rice: Very coconuty and moist. 8/10
Sambal: Super unique. Diabetically sweet, giving way to fieriness. 5.5/10
Dishes: Awesome chicken wings, very tender, moist, thoroughly marinated with a sour, tangy aftertaste. The other sides were so so. 7/10
Pros: No queue. Affordable. Lots of seats. Multi-storey carpark. Halal.
Cons: Fixed dishes.
#5. Selera Rasa (Draw with No. 1 Adam’s)
2 Adam Rd #01-02 Adam Road Food Centre Singapore 289876
T: 9843 4509
7am-5pm, closed Fri
Other outlet: Blk 603 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5
Rumored to be Sultan of Brunei‘s favorite nasi lemak in Singapore.
Rice: Very coconuty, long grain, but lumpy. 8/10
Sambal: Sweet and spicy but had an alkaline taste. 6.5/10
Dishes: Great otah but so so chicken. 6.25/10
Cons: Long queue about 30 minutes. People take away tens of packets at a time. Hard to find parking. Not cheap.
#5. No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak (Draw with Selera Rasa)
2 Adam Road, #01-01 Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore 289876
8.30am-1pm, closed Tue
Rice: Long grain and such milkiness. 7/10.
Sambal: Sweet then fiery 7/10
Dishes: Wings not well marinated, overcooked egg, but tenderest mutton rendang. 6.75/10
Pros: Halal. Serves on banana leaf.
Cons: Queue wasn’t long but very slow service. They cook their wings only when they run out (they don’t plan ahead), so when you’re queuing for 30 min, they may come to you and tell you no more wings and ask you to wait for another 30 min. You can’t buy extra wings or request for extra sambal. As diva as Mariah Carey, this stall.
#4. Tong Yi Nasi Lemak 统一椰浆饭
Blk 446 Pasir Ris Drive 6, 446 F&B Pte Ltd, Singapore 510446
Rice: When chicken rice and nasi lemak have a baby. 8/10
Sambal: Sweet, then spicy, then sweet again. Thick and dense. 8/10
Dishes: Thoroughly marinated chicken wings with a hint of har cheong (prawn paste). Pity about run-of-mill otah. 6.25/10
Pros: Near multi-storey carpark.
Cons: Needs a better warming system, dishes got cool, but at least not as bad as Power Nasi Lemak (see #14). Cut-throat drink stall at $1.50 a can. BYOBeverage.
Cost: $10 for 3 plates.
#3. Latiffa Huri Nasi Lemak
498 Jurong West Street 41, 7 Stars Coffee Shop 七福星, Singapore 640498
There are 2 queues here, left queue for mee, right for nasi lemak. Don’t waste time queuing wrong side. Seems like the mee is more popular.
Rice: A little lumpy but coconuty. 7/10
Sambal: As good as International’s. Fried with ikan bilis. 9/10
Dishes: Well marinated chicken wings, very crispy. Lots of onion in omelette. 7.25/10
Pros: Halal. Many tantalizing dishes on display. Ample parking. Everyone spoke Malay to the servers, felt like Malaysia, buzzing atmosphere.
Cons: Not a long queue, but service was so slow. Expensive drink stall.
#2. Mount Faber Nasi Lemak
47 Kreta Ayer Road Singapore 089006
T: 6323 5601
Also read our previous review.
Rice: Texture was, hands down, the best: loose, plump, moist, with a bite, and when eaten with the dishes, created a gestalt. Tastewise, slightly salty, slightly coconuty. I’d have given a 8/10 but my friend claimed the essence of nasi lemak is the aroma must reach you before you eat, and there was no fragrance here. Everyone is a critic. 6.5/10
Sambal: Spicy and sweet, fried with onion and ikan bilis. 8.25/10
Dishes: The best side dishes we had. “This fried chicken tasted like KFC!” said my friend enthusiastically. “The chef must have worked at KFC last time.” Two days later, we had KFC, and I told him, “Mount Faber’s chicken is nicer.” 8.5/10
Pros: Late night option. Central area. Easy parking along Keong Saik on non peak hours. You can park along the road and watch out for TP. Lots of taxi drivers eat here, so you know it’s good. Near Outram MRT. Hardworking cleaner. Quiet, can get seats easily. Central location. Serves on banana leaf.
Cost: $10.20 for two plates.
#1. International Muslim Food Stall
Blk 2 Changi Village Road, #01-03 Changi Village Market & Food Centre, Singapore 500002
M-F: 9am-3pm, 6pm-midnight, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-midnight
Rice: Loose and not dry, with a hint of ginger. 9/10
Sambal: Onions, and ikan bilis in sambal, giving it a rich, almost XO sauce taste (XO sauce is made from dry scallop, not alcohol). 9/10
Dishes: So-so chicken wings and ikan kuning. 5.75/10
Pros: Halal. Opens long hours and till late night. Easy parking unless during peak hours. Pretty plate.
Cons: Far from anywhere. Not cheap. The service was very slow. Though the queue wasn’t very long, it didn’t move. We queued for 35 minutes. Babies have been made in a far shorter time.
Best Rice: Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, and International Muslim Food Stall
Best Sambal: International Muslim Food Stall, and Latiffa Huri
Best Chicken Wings: Sri Sujana Nasi Lemak, and Warong Jawa
Best Side Dishes: Bali Nasi Lemak, and Mount Faber Nasi Lemak
Best 5 Nasi Lemak in Singapore:
#1. International Muslim Food Stall
#2. Mount Faber Nasi Lemak
#3. Latiffa Huri Nasi Lemak
#4. Tong Yi Nasi Lemak
#5. (DRAW) No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak, and Selera Rasa
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Categories: $0-$20, Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay, Bukit Timah, Changi, Chinatown, East Coast, Eunos, Geylang, Halal, Hawker/ Food Court/ Kopitiam, Joo Chiat, Jurong, Kovan, Late Night, Marine Parade, Novena, Outram, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Raffles Place, Redhill, Sembawang, Serangoon, Singaporean, Tanjong Katong, Tanjong Pagar, Tiong Bahru, Woodlands, Yew Tee, Yishun