I LOVE food programmes. I get hungry or inspired after watching them. Which is a lovely state of being compared to how I would feel after a love story (yuck), tear jerker (bleh), drama or horror flick (wired).
A few lazy nights ago, I tuned in to AFC and settled for a Best in the World marathon with Razif Hashim. I’m not normally a fan of locally produced food shows, but there’s something about Razif which makes me want to try the food he’s tried: his delivery is spontaneous and amusing, and he certainly can eat. Heartily.
So what particularly caught my attention that night was his entry on Nasi Lemak Atan at Chow Kit. Now, I’ve never been to Chow Kit and have never felt the need to go there, but after watching Razif wolf down several packs of nasi lemak and side servings of lauk, The Boy and I decided we had to try it out.
Getting there wasn’t easy, especially for someone who is sometimes directionally challenged like me. But, we finally made it after driving aimlessly along narrow streets lined with numerous stalls. Note: if you are a datuk or datin who’s used to traveling in a huge MPV, you may want to downsize to a much smaller vehicle.
Warm packs of nasi lemak in a basket. Picture courtesy of Fried Chillies.
What is it about Malaysians and their nasi lemak? For me, it’s about the warm, fluffy and subtly coconut flavoured rice, topped with spicy anchovy chilli paste and a simple hardboiled egg. All this wrapped in banana leaf and newspaper. This is best eaten not too long after it’s wrapped, or the rice would stick together in a big lump. It really is a matter of preference at the end of the day — not everyone minds lumpy rice like I do.
Nasi lemak at the stall is served in small packs — a practice Atan started and which his son continues to this day, after Atan passed on. Customers pick as many packs as they want into a basket, and they also get to choose from a variety of lauk (served in smaller plates) on the way to the cashier. Choices include fried chicken, chicken rendang, beef lung, cockles, cuttle fish….and more. If you prefer your rice on a plate instead of newspaper, be sure to ask for one.
So, my verdict for Nasi Lemak Atan?
I thought the rice was still suitably warm, but not fluffy enough. The sambal was decent — not too sweet — but not spectacular. We also had the cockles (mediocre), beef lung (too hard), cuttle fish (awesome) and chicken rendang (yummy) and one whole hard boiled egg on the side. All that, and three packs of nasi lemak shared between the two of us cost RM28.00. Frankly, I wouldn’t go back there again unless I had a crazy craving for the cuttle fish sambal. Or a very late night craving for nasi lemak!
Nasi Lemak Atan
Lot 1185 1A Lorong Haji Hussein off Jalan Haji Hussein,
Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur
Opens 6pm – 5am