Royal Rumble – Malay Cuisine

Malay Cuisine is quite extensive. To name a few popular ones, there’s the Mee Rebus (boiled noodles), Mee Soto, Nasi Lemak, Sayur Lodeh and Satay. Their daily meal which is similar to Nasi Padang, (where rice is the main staple of the Malay community) has mostly spicy side dishes as accompaniment.

Although it is uncertain when the Malay culinary traditions took shape, the earliest record of it is from the 15th century when Malacca Sultanate became an important trade centre in the Malay archipelago.

The main characteristic in traditional Malay cuisine is undoubtedly the generous use of Asian spices. Coconut milk/cream is also important in giving the Malay dishes their rich, creamy character. Another primary ingredient is the shrimp paste (belachan), foundation for sambal – a dipping condiment made from belacan, red chillies, onions/shallots, garlic and lime (lime skins are julienned and used in dipping sambal belachan). Malay cooking also uses a lot of serai (lemongrass), kunyit (yellow ginger root) and galangal (blue ginger root).

Malay seldom make use of utensils or cutleries during meal times except for noodles and the like (serving spoons for gravy-based dishes), most meals are eaten with the right hand, and NEVER with the left, which is used for personal ablutions, lol…

Here’s my quick fix eaten at a salon while waiting for my girlfriend. I used fork and spoon 😀

My girlfriend was at the salon when I dropped by and she was not done so I went ot get myself some lunch. The owner of the salon highly recommended a stall selling Malay rice so this was my lunch.

My girlfriend was at the salon when I dropped by and she was not done so I went ot get myself some lunch (S$9.50).
The owner of the salon highly recommended a stall selling Malay rice so this was my lunch.

I picked curry mutton, sambal mussles, assam pedas fish (sour gravy) and cabbage to go as sides with my rice.

I picked curry mutton, sambal mussles, assam pedas fish (sour gravy) and cabbage to go as sides with my rice.

Closed up shots of my Malay Rice lunch.

Closed up shots of my Malay Rice lunch.

Below were some Malay breakfast (Nasi Lemak, Mee Rebus, and Mee Soto) I had at Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore, when I visited one weekend morning, upon the recommendation of Alvin and Tommy, for good Nasi Lemak.

Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore. Built in 1974, Adam Food Centre comprises 32 cooked food stalls. Although small in size, the hawker centre has a huge reputation for Nasi Lemak, Prawn Noodles (Soup), Roti Prata and BBQ Seafood.

Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore.
Built in 1974, Adam Food Centre comprises 32 cooked food stalls. Although small in size, the hawker centre has a huge reputation for Nasi Lemak, Prawn Noodles (Soup), Roti Prata and BBQ Seafood.

My friends, Alvin and Tommy, had recommended me to try the Nasi Lemak from a stall that sold their Nasi Lemak with poker game names. I found the stall and opted for Royal Rumble over Royal Flush as the former consisted of all the side dishes.

My friends, Alvin and Tommy, had recommended me to try the Nasi Lemak from a stall that sold their Nasi Lemak with poker game names. I found the stall and opted for Royal Rumble over Royal Flush as the former consisted of all the side dishes.
Btw, the “A” you see below the signboard denotes the cleanliness of the stall regularly checked by our Ministry of Health/Environment. Stall are rated A, B or C according to their upkeep and may be suspended for business if they do not meet with the authority’s standard guidelines.

Nasi Lemak is a rice dish made from cooking rice in coconut milk (instead of water) and pandan leaves, serving it with a variety of dishes.

Nasi Lemak is a rice dish made from cooking rice in coconut milk (instead of water) and pandan leaves, serving it with a variety of dishes.

 Royal Rumble - below S$6, is one of the variety offered on menu of Selera Rasa. It consisted of everything (sides) they had to offer; Otak Otak (fish paste), deep-fried Chicken Wing, Begedil (potato mash), egg, ikan bilis (anchovies) and ikan kuning (small fish).

Royal Rumble – below S$6, is one of the variety offered on menu of Selera Rasa.
It consisted of everything (sides) they had to offer; Otak Otak (fish paste), deep-fried Chicken Wing, Begedil (potato mash), egg, ikan bilis (anchovies) and ikan kuning (small fish).

What makes this stall's Nasi Lemak outstanding from the others was they used Basmati rice instead of Jasmine. My makan kaki (eating partner) commented that the rice was very fragrant, rich in coconut and not clumpy.

What makes this stall’s Nasi Lemak outstanding from the others was they used Basmati rice instead of Jasmine. My makan kaki (eating partner) commented that the rice was very fragrant, rich in coconut and not clumpy.

 Mee soto is a spicy noodle soup dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. They are usually made of chicken broth and meat and may be served with a piece of begedil, vermicelli, or ketupat (compressed rice cakes).

Mee Soto is a spicy noodle soup dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. They are usually made of chicken broth and meat and may be served with a piece of begedil, vermicelli, or ketupat (compressed rice cakes).

I had the noodle version this morning and this stall does not serve with begedil.

I had the noodle version this morning and this stall does not serve with begedil.

Mee Rebus means boiled noodles in Malay language. The gravy is usually made of potatoes and consists of yellow noodles, beansprouts and hard-boiled egg, garnished with calamansi lime, fried crispy shallots and Chinese celery.

Mee Rebus means boiled noodles in Malay language. The gravy is usually made of potatoes and consists of yellow noodles, beansprouts and hard-boiled egg, garnished with calamansi lime, fried crispy shallots and Chinese celery.

I found this stall's Mee Rebus too be too sweet for my liking. We had wanted to try the one from a "famous" stall but the food was sold out when we got into the queue.

I found this stall’s Mee Rebus too be too sweet for my liking. We had wanted to try the one from a “famous” stall (the one with red signboard) but the food was sold out when we got into the queue.

This is the stall with the red signboard - Selamat Datang, meaning Welcome. Contrary to the greeting, the ladies selling there can be quite grouchy but their food is really good. Mee Soto and Mee Rebus we wanted that day was sold out. The people in the queue  had already placed their orders and were just waiting to collect their food.

This is the stall with the red signboard – Selamat Datang, meaning Welcome.
Contrary to the greeting, the ladies selling there can be quite grouchy but their food is really good.
Mee Soto and Mee Rebus we wanted that day was sold out.
The people in the queue had already placed their orders and were just waiting to collect their food.

Adam Road Food Centre is a place where you can get food almost round the clock. It is a popular place with blue and white collar (as well as student) crowd during the day, family crowd during dinner time and late night party-goers for supper. It is THE place to go for for Muslim and Indian Muslim fare. I have indicated 3 stalls there that I like.

Ketupat - Malay-style compressed rice in palm leaf pouch.<br />There's no rice rice inside. These were part of the decor at Adam Road FC when I was there. Looks like they were still celebrating Hari Raya then.

Ketupat – Malay-style compressed rice in palm leaf pouch.
There’s no rice rice inside. These were part of the decor at Adam Road FC when I was there. Looks like they were still celebrating Hari Raya then.

Adam Road Food Centre
2 Adam Road,
Singapore 289876.

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Stall 2
Operating hours: 6.30am – 9.30pm.

Selamat Datang (Mee Soto)
Stall 9
Operating hours: 8am – 10pm (Closed Wednesdays)

Bahrakath Mutton Soup King
Stall 10
Operating hours: 11.30am – 3am (Closed on Alternate Tuesdays)

Rating for most of the food stalls there 7/10.

P.S. I have yet to review (I have eaten but that was long time ago) some of the Chinese-operated stalls there but I know I would not eat at the raved Noo Cheng Prawn Mee (stall 27) again unless I see Mr. Teo Aik Cheng there. I paid S$15 for a bowl of “dry” noodles a while ago and was deeply disappointed. I have patronised Noo Cheng since the days Mr. Teo now in his 40s, joined and later took over his father’s (after completing his national service – he should be in his early 20s then) stall. They sold a variety of noodles that time but their prawn noodles and laksa were outstanding! It’s a different story now even though he has specialised in jumbo-sized wild sea prawns in his dish. I did not see Mr. Teo manning the stall that day. There were two men (workers or new owners?)

Happy eating 😀

Click here to see Mee Rebus recipe.

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Comments
13 Responses to “Royal Rumble – Malay Cuisine”
  1. Truly fantastic food as well the presentation. Cheers.

  2. drunk ninja says:

    i didn’t know about using the hand to eat malay food, good to know haha… i love malay food but they usually put in peanuts which my kid is allergic to and also the malay restaurants here are usually clumped as indonesian and thai food.

    • Sam Han says:

      Hmmm… Indonesian and Malay food i can understand but to clum Thai into and as Malay cuisine? Btw, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, Mo. You got your son a lantern?

  3. Laura Lynn says:

    Malay food sounds right up my alley! Love rice and coconut and anything wrapped in a leaf. Wonderful stories and photos! Top job as per usual!

  4. the spiced otak-otak (fish cake) is uncommon food around here Sam…
    usually it’s got pale white color…
    i guess the spiced version is more suits eaten with rice

  5. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Sam! Great photos and excellent story. The sad news is you suffering from a spice intolerance. That just makes me sad. Hope it is only a passing phase.

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Janet, haha I’m going to eat as much as I can for now. Don’t think it’s a passing phase but the beginning of a new phase in my life but it’s ok, I’m learning to enjoy food as they are being served now without needing to add extra spices or dipping sauce 😀

  6. This may start a fight, but I think food in Malaysia is the world’s best – easily. And with all the influences (malay, thai, hokkien, hakka, cantonese, southern indian, indonesian,..) I like the Malay best.

    • Sam Han says:

      Hahaha, I haven’t had any Malay cuisine when in Malaysia, ironically, the Chinese (esp seafood and “dai chao – 大炒”) and Indian food are my fav when visiting Malaysia.

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