Friday, May 9, 2008
The most popular nice recipe in Sandakan, Sabah is the Nasi Kuning, or
yellow rice. It is a version of the Nasi Lemak, but with additional
tumeric to make it look yellow and without the Ikan Bilis(tiny dried
It tastes better than standard Nasi Lemak and costs just as much,
RM1.50 in Sandakan and much more nourishing because of the larger
amount of fish in the form of portions of larger fishes.
Nowadays the fishes tend to be Tuna(Ikan Kayu) especially popular
among Filipino recent migrants. Locals tend to prefer Ikan
Putih(Travely) and Ikan Merah varieties. Garoupas are not usually
preferred because it is expensive and not as tasty in the recipe used
to accompany this Nasi Kuning, stir fried Fish Sambal.
You will have difficulty in finding it in Kota Kinabalu because large
fishes are more expensive in Kota Kinabalu.
If sellers can reproduce the quality of fish accompanying the Yellow
Rice, I'd prefer it over the standard Nasi Lemak but the best rice
recipe that I had ever tried was the Nasi Briani of Shirav Hotel in
The second best and still operating is the Nasi Briani of Azmeer
Restaurant, at Mile 3, Jalan Utara, Sandakan, especially its mutton
curry. It is also very cheap at RM6 per plate. I've tried a few Nasi
Brianis in Kota Kinabalu but none can match the one at Azmeer
The third is the Nasi Ayam of Kampung Bahru, Kuala Lumpur. It should
be still operating but I've not managed to locate it since the 1990s.
Normal Nasi Ayam, even at 5 star restaurants cannot match the Nasi
Ayam at that restaurant. As a muslim, I can only eat at halal
restaurants so cannot comment on the Chinese Restaurants except those
that are located at hotels.
The fourth was a Nasi Lemak stall that I tried once somewhere at Chow
Kit, Kuala Lumpur, but I only tried it once. I cannot duplicate this
taste anywhere or anytime after this. It is the special aroma of
pandan and other ingredients in the rice.
Nasi Kuning may not be able to beat the best of the other rice recipes
but at least it is easy to duplicate and produce. It is certainly
better than normal Nasi Lemak that I had tried at stalls and hotels.
The turmeric ensures its unique flavour.
For a picture of this Nasi Kuning, please go to my blogspot