Malaysian Food Trail: The allure of nasi kukus

Malaysian Food Trail: The allure of nasi kukus

The nasi kukus ayam goreng berempah is an east coast delicacy.

It was introduced in the Klang Valley by economic migrants from across the stateline.

You can savour the nasi kukus here, but it's a totally different experience when you travel to Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

There is an abundance of roadside stalls selling this rice dish.

So, that said, what is so special about the nasi kukus?

For starters, rice is steamed in an aluminium bowl and served only when an order is placed.

This means that the individually steamed rice is fresh and fragrant.

The ayam goreng berempah (marinated fried chicken) is a side dish, and when it is added to the nasi kukus, a typical meal can come up to RM8 (S$3.10) (Klang Valley prices) a plate.

On my recent road trip to Kuantan in Pahang, I was taken to a very decent makan place in Balok.

Vincent Lau, my brother-in-law, had worked at the Gebeng industrial area for a couple of years and is very familiar with the street food in Kuantan.

We went to the nasi kukus seberang Balok for a shot at their ayam goreng berempah and the experience is an unforgettable affair.

A typical serving here costs RM6.50 (with a piece of fried chicken) and the rice dish goes very well with the kual dhal sayur and kari ayam.

And best of all, the gulai kaki ayam (chicken feet gravy) is given free of charge.

What made my day was the sambal that was very tasty. It has a spicy and tangy flavour which blends very well with the chicken feet gravy and vegetable curry.

On the Samo-scale, I would rate this nasi kukus ayam goreng berempah an 8 out of 10.

The nasi kukus is a stand-alone dish at RM4.50. Add RM2, you get a piece of chicken and if you love having plain steamed rice, the bonus dish is the free chicken feet where you can have a bowl all by yourself.

This stall along the Kuantan-Balok beach road opens daily for breakfast and lunch, except on certain public holidays.

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