“Do you have nasi lemak goreng in Singapore?” I curiously queried Aaron, my colleague and go-to guide on Singaporean cuisine. He shook his head no in response.
The first thought that came to my mind was “Dang, the Singaporeans are missing out.”
I recalled the rather hazy first time I was introduced to this sinful, calorie-laden nasi lemak- inspired dish. After one too many gin and tonics, I swung by a nearby local mamak for the ultimate post-drinking supper (by a recommendation of a friend): the nasi lemak goreng. One bite and my booze-soaked tastebuds were hooked.
So when word spread of an ex-hotel chef turning heads with his nasi lemak goreng, I was intrigued. Time to make a trip to Chef Fauzey Nasi Lemak Goreng, which is located in Old Town, PJ. Clang! Clang! Clang! The audible sound of Chef Fauzey frying the rice in his huge wok along the assortment of nasi lemak fixings and a huge vat of sambal— I knew I was in the right place.
What I tried at Chef Fauzey Nasi Lemak Goreng
“Mak cik, Nasi Lemak Goreng dengan Ayam Goreng Berempah satu (RM9),” I placed my order excitedly to the auntie patiently waiting to take my order. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bahasa Melayu, that translates to ‘one order of fried nasi lemak with the spiced fried chicken’.
The kind-looking auntie (which I later discovered is Chef Fauzey’s wife) moves at lightning speed as she tops off my huge plate of nasi lemak goreng with a generous pool of sambal, cucumber slices, fried prawn and their famed ayam goreng berempah.
I found a seat nearby and wasted no time digging into the inviting plate of nasi lemak goreng. This was not your ordinary nasi lemak rice— instead of the usual white coconut milk rice, Chef Fauzey fries the santan rice with his homemade sambal in the fiery wok.
I was also delighted to learn that the sambal is cooked for four whole hours every morning. Talk about dedication! And this meant that every bite of the delicious rice was packed with wok hei and had a subtle spicy flavour. Having wok hei flavoured sambal rice instead of regular nasi lemak rice was certainly an interesting experience.
I paired the rice with more of the homemade sambal, secretly hoping for spicy sambal to further elevate the flavours. Unfortunately the sambal was very much on the milder side, so it didn’t really elevate the taste of the rice. But it’s perfect for those who are unable to tolerate heat.
Hoping to get some respite from the sambal, I dug my fork into the ayam goreng berempah. For those of you who are unfamiliar, ayam goreng berempah or spiced fried chicken is a type of Malay fried chicken that is full of herbs and spices.
And I have to say, Chef’s Fauzey’s ayam goreng berempah is out of this world! It’s crunchy, it’s juicy, has a light crispy crust and bursting with the aromatic flavours of fresh herbs and spices in it. This of course comes from Chef Fauzey’s double-frying method.
In fact, the ayam goreng berempah was so yummy that my dining companion suggested we order another two. Why not, right? I shook my head happily and seconds later, I was tearing into a well-marinated drumstick with crispy skin. Oh happy days!
Before I lose track just talking about the ayam goreng berempah, the fried prawn is also extremely flavourful and not to mention, on the sweet side. Honestly for RM9, it is extremely affordable as the portion of rice is sufficient for a really big eater.
It’s 9pm but customers are still queuing up for a taste of the nasi lemak goreng. As expected the ayam goreng berempah is almost all sold out.
As I ngaw on my chicken bone, I think about how nasi lemak puritans might snub their noses at this nasi lemak-inspired dish, but I really plead you to have a taste. Then I leave you to make your own decision about this. If it really is not to your liking, Chef Fauzey offers other variations: Nasi Lemak Kukus & Ayam Goreng Berempah (RM8) and Nasi Lemak Biasa (RM3).
And my dear Singaporeans, you’re truly missing out. Do make your way to Old Town, Petaling Jaya for a plate of Chef Fauzey’s amazing nasi lemak goreng. Oh, and get the ayam goreng berempah while you’re at it. Trust me, you’ll keep making a trip back for more!
Expected damage: RM3 – RM9 per pax