Budget Nasi Lemak

Having P140 in your pocket can present a real set-back when you’re trying to go out with a friend (“M”) during the day and have a good time. It’s not even enough to catch a movie or go to Chef  d’ Angelo for an inexpensive buffet lunch. I was SM Megamall-bound this afternoon to run an errand, so I had to budget my expenses just right.

Once I got hungry, M and I wandered around considering what to get. Eventually, I suggested hitting up the grocery for snacks. The temptation of French Baker’s garlic bread hung above us, but it doesn’t seem satisfying when you’re starving.

Megamall’s grocery (the older one) is a good place to start the hunt for reasonably priced food. There are small stalls and kiosks that line the outside of the shopping area. Food choices contain takoyaki balls, Jamaican patties, hamburgers, rice meals, etc. There’s also a Jollibee and Dunkin’ Donuts beside the grocery entrance. –Obviously, an easy solution would be to go to the fast food instead. But I was quite sick of the usual selections they had there.

I stumbled across a modest stall called Laki Tiyan Nasi Lemak, and I had to decide between that and a ham and egg burger from a neighboring kiosk. Laki Tiyan offered meals ranging from P45-P49. All meals come with a small cup of gulaman drink, and the staple to the sets are the famous coconut milk rice, some dilis (dried anchovies), some peanuts, thin slices of cucumber, a fried egg, and some sambal belacan. What differs is the main viand where you can choose from Singapore-style kikiam, crispy chicken wing, chili chicken wing, etc.) and the option to buy extra components of a meal (e.g. P10 for an extra fried egg).

Laki Tian NASI LEMAK

Menu

Upon settling on the nasi lemak meal (because sometimes rice just makes you full in a happy way), I opted for the chili chicken wing since the “original” variant is no longer available and the “crispy” one seemed too plain. Service was quick. The meal was put together in less than 5 minutes, considering that there was an order before mine.

The styro container.

The cashier explained to me that the specific way to eat Nasi Lemak was to, first, mix the rice with the sambal, peanuts, and dilis to have an authentic experience. Funny, because I’ve always eaten everything separately. I’d munch on the peanuts and fish before I’d eat the rest of the meal.

My Chili Chicken Wing NL Meal with extra sambal sauce on the side.

M and I settled on SM’s makeshift “dining tables”, which resemble oversized cocktail tables with a rubbish hole to one end. There is no other way to eat there but standing up. –On a side note, cocktail tables instead of tables and chairs is soo SM. It’s awful, but we manage to put up with it. WHY?!

I diligently mixed all the items I was told to mix. Then, I shredded the egg and tossed that together too. The chicken, has a THICK batter. If you’ve eaten a maruya (banana fritters), then you’d instantly recognize the same sort of batter underneath the chili glaze. The sambal sauce was more like a sweet chili sauce than some of the versions I’ve tasted that had more elements to them (such as tamarind or ginger). But the rice was good. If you taste it before you mix everything, you get the rich coconut milk.

M, who was still hungry, ordered the Nasi Lemak Meal with Porkchop. He found it okay, but said that the peanuts were too sweet for him. Also, he didn’t mix the rice.

Porckchop NL

What you get is definitely the fast food version of Nasi Lemak. You receive a heavily breaded piece of chicken, but I would have to say the same fore KFC or Jollibee. And the price is, at least, competitive. Your P50 gets you a viand with premium (read: timplado) rice, an egg, some peanuts, and a small cup of gulaman; whereas McDonald’s only offers fried chicken with plain rice, gravy, and a regular softdrink. And Nasi Lemak is certainly a more balanced meal.

I would try it again next time. Maybe I’ll have the spring roll viand with the sambal. Something like lumpia shanghai with sweet and sour sauce. :p

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