[By Gloria Ngu]
Food is undeniably one of the best tools for bonding. So what more can you ask for when social life meets food in a huge event, especially when it’s featuring the epitome of good Malaysian food―nasi lemak?
Nasi lemak is definitely one of Malaysia’s most famous foods. With its name literally translating to ‘fatty rice’, you can imagine how rich and flavourful this dish is. This legendary meal-time favourite packs so much power in it that FriedChillies held an event just for nasi lemak!
Last year’s I Eat Nasi Lemak lasted five hours and was a huge success, so much so that they decided to extend this year’s event to a total of seven hours, running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year, it was held on 2 November, a Sunday, in Menara T M, Bangsar.
I decided to go in the afternoon, rationalizing that the vendors should have prepared more than enough since they knew it was going to be seven hours long. Upon reaching the place, I was overwhelmed by the smell of nasi lemak and the sound of people chattering away. The turnout was much bigger than I had expected, and everywhere I walked, I would bump into people who were waiting in line. As I explored the area, it was to my disappointment that I noticed many empty stalls; crimson sambal stains, stray peanuts and anchovies were the only hints of their previous activity. Fortunately, my mom and I managed to find two stalls that were still open and had relatively shorter lines, so we each queued up at one.
Stomach grumbling, I inhaled the mingling scents around me and took the opportunity to observe the people at the event. There were those who were patiently queuing up, there were some who were already done with their haul and others who were looking around at the various queues, pondering which to join next. The air buzzed with electricity and the excited chatter of hungry Malaysians. Live interviews were being held in the area: person after person took turns to proclaim their love for nasi lemak.
After ten minutes (which seemed like an hour), I reached the front of the line and hastily placed my order.
The variation of nasi lemak by Greenlicious that I succeeded in getting was very unique: brown rice instead of the regular white variety, sambal with the overtones of lemongrass and kari labu (pumpkin curry) complete with seaweed crackers. Upon further research, I found out that Greenlicious’ nasi lemak is packed with organic ingredients―a plus point for the health-conscious nasi lemak lovers!
My mom, meanwhile, managed to get a few packets of Nasi Lemak Seri Mesra Port Dickson, and we shared it. This basic yet palatable nasi lemak had a sweet sambal to accompany the fragrant, steaming rice. Beauty in simplicity!
We found an empty cocktail table and stood there, eating our nasi lemak and talking through mouthfuls of rice, sambal and anchovies. I was happily opening my second when it dawned on me that I had been so busy in the past month that I had almost never had the time to sit down (or stand up, in this case) and have a proper meal and bond with my friends and family. All my meals were either accompanied by work or hastily swept into my mouth so I could get back to my assignments and work. It feels almost sad that it had to take such an event for the full realization to hit me.
Dinner used to be one of the major highlights of the day for my family, as we could all sit down and eat together, and coming to this event and being part of the throngs amassing for their love of food got me thinking that perhaps it’s time to bring that back. Food really does play an important role in our lives as Malaysians. We bond best through our makan times; we forge and strengthen relationships when we share meals and laughter together.
Let’s not lose that, because that’s what makes us Malaysians.
Talking about nasi lemak, there are 18 other stalls’ that I have not tried yet…nasi lemak road trip this weekend, anyone?
This event was organized by FriedChillies.
If you missed out on this event, fear not, as the organizer, FriedChillies, has the list of the 20 vendors present on that day. View it here: The FriedChillies TOP 20 Nasi Lemak 2014 !