Food For Thought: When The Nasi Lemak Goes Bougie

In recent weeks, the humble nasi lemak dish has caused a stir online. An upmarket version costing $18.50 by Lemak Boys – a new casual brand by the Les Amis Group – sparked an uproar over its price, as well as being labelled a “Peranakan” dish in an 8 Days article. Then, for Malaysia Day on Sept 16, San Remo Malaysia shared a Facebook post of a recipe for nasi lemak spaghetti, made with the Australian brand’s pasta and without rice. To the outrage of netizens, the recipe involved cooking spaghetti like nasi lemak, with coconut milk and pandan leaves, and served dry with ikan bilis, egg sambal, toasted peanuts and sliced cucumber. Allegations of cultural misappropriation quickly surfaced. All this fuss is probably because the staple dish of aromatic rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with ingredients such as fried chicken, egg, ikan bilis and a dollop of sambal, is such a crowd favourite, whether from a no-frills hawker stall or fancy restaurant. Controversy or not, these days, some eateries are putting a spin on the dish by adding premium ingredients such as grilled lobster with cheese. Others are jazzing up its appearance, presenting it as a towering cake, crowned with a wide array of accompaniments. Here are five updated versions to dig into. Photos Eunice Quek, Penang Culture, Nasi Lemak Indulgence, Les Amis Group This article first appeared in The Straits Times  

This article is originally published on Female Singapore.

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