One of the best things about living in Singapore is the sheer diversity that’s entrenched in our food scene. That diversity is a reflection of our multiculturalism, and classic dishes from the broad range of ethnicities found in Singapore are part and parcel of our collective national identity. Nasi lemak is one of those dishes, and you’ll find the best plates at these hawker stalls and restaurants in Singapore.
What is Nasi Lemak?
While its provenance is Malay, this dish has crossed cultures, spawned different variations, and become a Singaporean icon. Whether nasi lemak is breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper to you, it is, at its heart, comfort food, and Singapore’s hawker scene is rife with options round the clock to satisfy.
Nasi Lemak (in Malay) translates and refers to the rich creaminess of coconut milk in cooked rice. The steamed rice also acquires a unique flavour from aromatic plants that’s cooked together with it, such as pandan leaves, bay leaves, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. A traditional plate is usually accompanied by humble toppings such as fried anchovies, sliced cucumbers, egg, and sambal chilli, and fried fish (ikan selar kuning), which is fried till crisp and can be eaten whole, including its bones.
The set of rice and side dishes are kept warm in a banana leaf, which is then folded into a conical pocket.
In the past, nasi lemak could be found at roadside stalls or sold from vans to purchase for breakfast. Now, diners can consume it for any meal and choose from an array of fancier and heartier side dishes, including meat rendang, fried chicken wings, fish otah, and achar (pickled vegetables).
We help you gather our take on where to find the best nasi lemak in Singapore the next time you get hit with a craving.
(Hero and featured image: The Coconut Club)
15 best nasi lemak stalls in Singapore to hit up this week:
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When we were discussing the best nasi lemak in Singapore amongst ourselves, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak was a name that kept coming up, and if you’ve ever had it for yourself, you’ll know why. The stall embraces the idea that simplicity is best by serving up nasi lemak sets with all the classic trimmings — an over-easy egg, cucumber slices, peanuts and ikan bilis, along with your choice of fried meat, all sitting pretty on top of delightfully light coconut rice and a splash of sambal that has plenty of punch.
(Image credit: @patricia_l0h)
The Coconut Club was divisive when it first opened in Ann Siang Road, because the general consensus amongst Singaporeans is that hawker food should never cost above a single digit, and here was one restaurant pushing out nasi lemak for an upwards of S$20. Still, don’t knock it till you try it, because this Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand-ranked nasi lemak has become a fast favourite in Singapore, for so many reasons.
Now reopened at Beach Road and Siglap, expect the same lush coconut rice made with coconut milk squeezed in-house, fried chicken so crisp and brown thanks to the rub of spices used, and a fragrant sambal that hits all the spots. Plus, it doesn’t cloy with oil, so you can feel less guilty as you tuck into a bowl of The Coconut Club’s signature chendol right after. Don’t forget to hit up a tropical cocktail or two while you’re there, or a coconut shake to cool off after your fiery meal.
(Image credit: @thecoconutclubsg)
If you’re trying to watch your waistline, Bali Nasi Lemak lets you swap out your fried fare for other equally delightful dishes like sambal petai and kecap manis chicken. This Geylang stall prides itself for its distinct Indonesian slant to the heritage dish, with fragrant coconut milk-infused Thai basmati rice that’s light and fluffy. Expect a slow burn from the sambal, the addictive dollop of chilli is piquant and has chilli seeds dotted throughout, so this is one for those addicted to spicy food.
(Image credit: @ivanbotakyong)
Opened by two Malaysians who grew up in Damansara Uptown, this stall in the trendy Telok Ayer neighbourhood was established to bring the authentic taste of their hometown to Singapore. There are many options to choose from here; their signature Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Berempah is rife with the fragrance of coconut milk, while the fried chicken is well-marinated and juicy. Sides here include acar, as well as the usual trimmings of crispy ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber slices and half an egg. Opt for Beef Rendang or Sambal Sotong if fried chicken’s too greasy for you.
(Image credit: @hazeldiary_)
Best known as Adam Road Nasi Lemak, this famous hawker stall is a go-to for many Singaporeans craving a hearty plate of the dish. The stall is best known for its fluffy coconut rice, and the plethora of side dishes you can get alongside it — from begedil (a deep-fried potato patty), fried chicken wings, and a deliciously smoked otah.
(Image credit: @yum_seng)
Another iconic destination for nasi lemak in Singapore is Mizzy Corner in Changi Village, which draws snaking queues of both locals and tourists alike. There’s a reason why this stall has been going strong since time immemorial — one of the biggest reasons is the robustness of its sambal chilli, that’s just utterly moreish when eaten with the rice and the crackling, crisp chicken wing.
(Image credit: @anna_foodiecrew)
Lawa Bintang’s lobster nasi lemak made serious waves on social media when it was added to the menu, but the stall also has a variety of other decadent toppings for the dish, including salmon, crayfish and squid. The lobster remains the most popular — marinated with herbs and topped with cheese, we’ll take it over kuning fish anyday.
(Image credit: @luqdhaniel)
Formerly a home-based business, Nasi Lemak Indulgence – which sold Nasi Lemak cakes – now operates in a brick-and-mortar store and sells delicious fresh nasi lemak on a plate. Their signature is the attractive blue pea rice paired with a delectable secret marinate coating the generous piece of fried chicken.
The Nasi Lemak here tastes as good as it looks. The fragrant rice isn’t overpowering on the lemak scale and complements well with the flavourful herb-battered fried chicken thigh. Besides the juicy protein, this Nasi Lemak set includes a sunny-side-up, fried peanuts, anchovies, and an addictive slab of homemade sambal chilli.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday (9am – 5pm). Closed on Mondays.
(Image credit: @the.coco.rice/Instagram)
A hidden find in the Jalan Besar/Bendemeer neighbourhood, Wild Coco has seen a steady stream of diners queueing for their tasty Nasi Lemak in a modern-furnished kopitiam. Both chicken and fish options are stellar here. The former is Nasi Lemak Ayam Berempah, which comes in either breast or thigh parts. Its ginger and lemongrass marinade makes it a moreish bite.
Alternatively, the Nasi Lemak Sambal Fried Fish highlights the tender fish meat with in-house made sambal concocted from fresh chilli that becomes a thick addictive paste.
Opening hours: Wednesdays to Mondays (10:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm). Closed on Tuesdays.
(Image credit: @wildcoco.sg/Instagram)
Although only available for takeaways, Dickson Nasi Lemak still draws a substantial following for their coconut-infused creation. Their offerings are presented in packed boxes and available in Chicken Rendang, Beef Rendang, Sambal Sotong, and Ayam Goreng Berempah options.
Dickson Nasi Lemak’s signature has got to be the Ayam Goreng Berempah. The fried chicken spiced with herbs like turmeric powder, ginger and lemongrass pairs with the elaborate 18-ingredients sambal chilli.
Opening hours: Thursdays to Tuesdays (8:30am – 10:30am, 11:45am – 3:30pm). Closed on Wednesday.
(Image credit: @dicksonnasilemak/Instagram)
Located within the food haven that is Bugis Cube, Husk Nasi Lemak gives a contemporary take to their Nasi Lemak with their protein options. Besides their signature Taiwanese-style chicken cutlet and grilled chicken choices, the menu includes Sous Vide Beef Rendang, Fried Tilapia Fish with Assam Pedas Sauce, and Slow-Cooked Mutton Curry.
The rice here is deliciously lemak without overwhelming the flavours of its accompanying ingredients in this dish. Fusion tastes are also applied to the grilled chicken option, which is Moo Ping-inspired (ala Thai grilled pork skewers).
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays (11am – 9pm), Saturdays and Sundays (11am – 7pm).
(Image credit: @husknasilemak/Instagram)
Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang is a Michelin Guide Singapore-recommended establishment that’s worth a try. With various outlets islandwide, their most recognisable store is the one at Yishun Park Hawker Centre.
Instead of crispy or grilled chicken, Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang features a juicy chicken slab blanketed with bright and peppy sambal chilli. Have them in an entire spoonful with the aromatic rice for a toothsome bite. If straightforward spice doesn’t suit your fancy, the sweet-and-spicy Nasi Lemak Kecap Samba tones the fieriness down a notch.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays (6:30am – 7pm). Closed on Mondays.
(Image credit: @ahbuneats/Instagram)
With a name like Spicy Wife, you’re bound to expect intense heat with their Nasi Lemak. Mainly serving Malaysian-style Nasi Lemak, diners make a beeline to their store even before they are ready for business, proving their popularity.
Their signature Aromatic Chicken spotlights a palm-sized chicken leg that’s marinated overnight in a fragrant rempah spice-mix that includes garlic, ginger, onion, lemongrass, and cumin. The coconut-infused rice also has an adequate flavour that pairs well with the savoury sambal.
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays (10:45am – 2pm). Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
(Image credit: @yellowcarnivoreeats/Instagram)
NUS students will definitely recognise Fong Seng Nasi Lemak as it’s a popular haunt for supper due to the long operating hours. What keeps them coming back for more is the pleasantly tasty coconut-laced rice.
Diners can mix and match their own side ingredients here from fried chicken wings and crispy ikan kuning to sunny side up and otah.
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays (6am – 4am). Closed on Sundays.
Relocating to a Kopitiam in the Cantonment neighbourhood, regulars can breathe a sigh of relief as they can continue to savour delicious sets from Mr & Mrs Nasi Lemak.
Catering to the nearby working crowd, diners can enjoy uncommon signature sides here like the crispy house-made deep-fried pork belly, sambal petai, and Curry Cabbage alongside familiar favourites like fried chicken with the comforting and fragrant coconut-flavoured rice.
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays (7:30am – 2:30pm), Saturdays (8am – 2:30pm). Closed on Sundays.
(Image credit: @thebelly_eats/Instagram)