Nasi Lemak Fail

It was a quiet Saturday morning. I was making a special “guest appearance” at Kent Ridge when I came across this new fast food outlet named Hawker QSR at Kent Ridge MRT station and decided to check it out. The auntie at the ordering counter was very polite. She greeted me and urged me to order something.

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The interesting menu was the first thing that caught my eye. The highly prominent Miss Tam Jiak website said that “Dedicated to sending out Asian fast food, Hawker QSR seems set to be the most popular fast food restaurant in town”. But as you can see, there were only two workers and two diners. In contrast, there was a queue of at least 5-6 persons at Burger King downstairs. You can read about Miss Tam Jiak’s writeup on the new fast food chain here but I suggest that you don’t take her hype too seriously.

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Without the “troops” that Miss Tam Jiak has to try out every single item on the menu, I ordered their most expensive set – the nasi lemak burger set. It set me back more than $10. That ought to have raised my expectations sky high, but objectively, I must compare it with Crave’s rendang nasi lemak which is priced about the same. At first glance, the presentation is pretty good, but let’s take a look inside.

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It’s got egg, chicken, onions and cucumber! Yao mo gao chor ah? How do you expect the two lumps of rice to hold everything together? At least the folks at MacDonald’s had that one figured out early and used a bun instead of rice. The secret to Mos Burger’s rice burgers holding together is that the stuffing is in thin shreds. Even glutinous rice will have trouble holding so many layers of ingredients together.

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Not surprisingly, everything just slips away when you try to hold it. Before long, you’re eating the burger layer by layer and yes with all that chilli leaking and flowing everywhere, it’s a mess.

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Like all genuine nasi lemak lovers, I want my nasi fluffy. This “cake” of a rice burger simply can’t make it. There is hardly any lemak taste and everything in between is really quite mediocre. You can get the same kind of ingredients (and better rice) at a nasi lemak/bee hoon stall for $3+ and a pricey nasi lemak at Crave tastes much better.

I have not tried any of the other things on the menu, but I’m seriously not keen. My conclusion – be as creative as you want, but nasi lemak should not be made into a burger – period. And I won’t even bother to give a char kway teow burger (or Miss Tam Jiak’s blog) a second look.

Crave Nasi Lemak

Prices have gone up! Below is the beef rendang version. Very pricey at $10+, but there is standard here. The beef is tender, tasty and not dry as leather like some of those you find at Indonesian food stalls. I won’t have this too often, but it’s a real treat.

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Chan’s Cereal Prawns

This is one of my son’s favourite dishes. It’s very tasty and not too difficult to prepare. First step is to fry the prawns until they are cooked through. Once that is done, I like to drain the excess oil before I add in some butter and curry leaves.

Fry at low heat until the curry leaves start to wrinkle. Then toss in some salted egg yolk powder (readily available at any supermarket in Singapore these days).

Be generous with the powder. It’s not as salty as you think. At this point, you can also add some chopped chilli padi. Finally the “cereal” goes in. I prefer to use tempura “crumbs”

Mix well and your dish is done.