On our side of the Causeway, it’s not easy to find authentic Malaysian cuisine. That was the case until I caught wind of Dickson Nasi Lemak on social media. Its recipe originates from an acclaimed nasi lemak store in Kuala Lumpur, and allegedly, three of Malaysia’s prime ministers have even cited it as their favourite version of the dish.
As I scrolled through all the positive reviews online, it only strengthened my desire to try their nasi lemak. What caught my attention was their tagline: “Rated Best Nasi Lemak in Malaysia.” I simply had to make the long trip down to Joo Chiat on a hot Thursday morning just to get a taste of it.
Located opposite the popular bakery Petit Pain, the takeaway outlet offers a simple and concise menu.
Its main dish is the Ayam Goreng Berempah (S$8.60), which includes spiced fried chicken, coconut rice, egg, and anchovies. Additionally, you can top up S$3.80 for extra chicken.
Also, you can opt for their Biasa (S$4.80) which features all the same elements except for the fried chicken. Each of the sets comes with a container of signature sambal.
When I entered the store, I was greeted by a simple, minimalist interior. There was no space for dine-in, so the area was just decorated with a few potted plants. Thankfully, I arrived just in time to beat the snaking lunch queue that slowly began to form behind me.
I immediately jumped for what I came here for – Dickson Nasi Lemak’s Ayam Goreng Berempah. I also got their Biasa, along with their Teh Peng (S$2.50) to wash the dishes down. I was really impressed by their service speed – I received my takeaway orders in a jiffy!
What I tried
As I opened the plastic takeaway box, the smell of the aromatic coconut rice immediately hit me. I loved how the coconut milk was creamy while not being too overwhelming. The rice was also fragrant and fluffy, making it very satisfying to chew on. However, I felt like they could have been a little more generous with the rice.
Then, my eyes turned to the three pieces of fried chicken. They were served hot and fresh, with plenty of chicken skin crumbs littered on top of it. The crumbs were incredibly addictive, and I found myself constantly reaching for them.
When I took my first bite of the tender chicken, I was pleasantly surprised at how crispy its skin was. Inside, I could distinctively taste the perfumed hints of lemongrass and turmeric, which provided a really nice touch to the chicken. In particular, I really enjoyed the succulence and juiciness of the massive chicken leg. Not only that, it was very well marinated.
I am a huge fan of sambal, but Dickson Nasi Lemak’s rendition absolutely captured my heart. Made fresh every day, their sambal is made from 18 different ingredients and put through a grueling five-hour long process. The dark red sambal also contained plenty of onions and anchovies.
What really stood out to me was how this container of sambal strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and spiciness, something which I do not come across very often. If I could, I’ll definitely take home multiple servings of this!
As for the Biasa (S$4.80), the lack of the main star (aka the glorious fried chicken) was keenly felt. However, the other elements still maintained the same consistency and quality.
This was definitely one of the better nasi lemak dishes I have tasted, and I’ve to say Dickson Nasi Lemak does live up to its name as one of the highest-rated ones in Malaysia.
At S$8.60, it’s certainly not the cheapest nasi lemak out there, considering the fact that its portion sizes aren’t the biggest as well (especially if you are on an empty stomach). Yet, I still feel that judging by the quality of nasi lemak you are getting, its price point is well justified.
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