Rating: 7 / 10
Nasi Lemak is on the minds of a million waking Malaysians, every single day. Memories of the first time they mixed together a plate, adding some spicy sambal, and pawing it into hungry mouths, brings a wash of nostalgia to even the most ardent emo-phobe. Raucous arguments erupting at the mere statement that "this or that place" has the greatest, or "this or that" lady does the best version.
A population of humans all carrying their own ideas of what the best is, like secretive chastity belts in a world of horny hedonists.
Having been a visitor to Malaysia for over twenty years, and dizzied myself numerous times with the bounty of amazing food on offer, Nasi Lemak was something I had only eaten out of need, and never gone out of my way to procure, until now. Mind made up, after evenings of fraught study, reading KLfoodie, and a host of other blogs for hints of the best to try, Village Park kept propping up and since I'd never made it to Damansara before, the choice was simple.
Grab shuffled me through the traffic without any major incident, dropped me at the corner, and just as I arrived an outside table was made available, and I took to it like a duck to water. In a few minutes my food arrived along with an ice cold 100 plus.
I'll be the first to admit that of all Malaysias culinary bounties, I never have cravings for Nasi Lemak. There is something about the "dryness" of the dish, and the sweetness of the coconut rice (not a big sweet fan), however, if you're going to visit a country repeatedly over two decades, then you are an idiot to not at least try a decent version of their favourite dish.
It was, as expected. Tasty, but not to my taste. I find little joy in a hardboiled egg, sweet rice does nothing to dispell my ennui, sambal is tasty when combined with the excellent crispy chicken, and cucumber serves it's own purpose in the hallways of life's ingredient purgatory, but stuffing all these individual items on one plate seems to lose their own integrities. I know I am fighting a losing battle here, but give me a roti canai, a koey tiao, a laksa anyday over Nasi Lemak.
For what it's worth, the version served at Village Park is definitely the best of the few smatterings I have had over the years, accidentally. The fried chicken was a triumphant moment, and I would rush back just to order a crispy plate of that.
As for the other assortings on a plate of local luxury, i'll leave it to those who swoon over such revelations, and hide myself in the back of a noodle shop slurping hot soup, toothsome noodles and interchangeable proteins.
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"