Nasi lemak is a Malay dish that is a staple not just for breakfast but lunch and dinner. You can find pre-packed or a la carte nasi lemak in practically all parts of Singapore.
I grew up on the pre-packed version comprising coconut rice, ikan bilis (anchovies) or small fish, and a slice of egg topped by hot sambal belacan (prawn paste-based chilli) wrapped in banana leaf. To me, this simple meal is tasty enough for me. I can feel myself drooling just describing this as it evokes the fun times of having a packet by the beach or after sports.
The other version of nasi lemak is the kind where customers can choose their condiments such as ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, fish, otah (spicy fish paste), fried egg, fried chicken wing, and even squid. This is more pricey but the variety does make a difference for some.
Imagine my surprise when I saw another way that nasi lemak was presented while attending a function at Coriander Leaf. The nasi lemak roll (see top) looks like a piece of maki — that’s why I turned it down the first time the server offered me. It was only when my associate said it was a nasi lemak roll that I decided to check it out.
The restaurant has creatively wrapped the coconut rice in a slice of fried egg and topped it with ikan bilis and a dab of sambal belacan. I took it in one bite — OK, if you have a smaller mouth, you can nibble and finish in two or more bites — and it was good. In fact, it tasted like those wrapped in banana leaf.
Needless to say, the nasi lemak roll won me over and I went for a second.
That was not the only item that Coriander Leaf adapted differently. Butter chicken rice is usually presented on a plate but the restaurant gave it a unique spin.
Housed in a handy cup, it comes with basmati rice at the bottom topped by the butter chicken. Again, this is an interesting take and the taste was good. The butter chicken was creamy and the curry gravy goes well with the basmati rice. It’s like nasi briyani minus the yellow rice.
Coriander Leaf is at 30 Victoria Street, #02-01 CHIJMES, Singapore 187996.