I am not a big fan of rice. If I can, I will always choose noodles over rice. But there are certain rice dishes that I love such as Nasi Kandar and Nasi Lemak. These two dishes are commonly popular in this country however, the east of peninsula Malaysia showcase a different art of rice making. The next time you want to go Kelantan or Terengganu, remember to sample these regional rice dishes.  

Nasi Kerabu (Herbal Rice)

I love this visually appealing blue rice. Apparently, the blue colour is the result of cooking rice with the petals of butterfly pea flowers. Nasi Kerabu has strong Thai influences and is commonly found in Kelantan. 

Apart from blue, some Nasi Kerabu is also prepared in plain white, yellow (turmeric) and green (pandan). The word, “Kerabu” in Malay is what the Thai would refer to as mango som tam. The dish normally comes with the rice, herb salad (kerabu), coconut, fish, spicy sambal sauce, salted egg, fried fish or chicken, fish cracker and stuffed green chillies. 

My verdict:Rest assured, a taste that will chase your blues away. 

Nasi Dagang (Trader’s Rice)

Nasi Dagang is steamed rice in coconut milk, fenugreek seeds and lemongrass to make it fragrant. This rice dish is well-known in the east coast especially Terengganu and Kelantan.

However, there is a distinct difference. The Terengganu version uses ordinary white rice but the Kelantanese one uses a little glutinous rice and wild purplish rice. They are normally served with tuna curry, pickles and other assortments.

It is believed that Nasi Dagang has Malay, Thai and Indian influences and popular among the traders in the olden days. I used to come across this dish being served during festive seasons especially during Ramadan. 

My verdict: If traders love it, why not us? 

Nasi Minyak (Ghee Rice)

Nasi minyak or ghee-cooked rice is considered as a ceremonial dish and often served in Malay wedding reception and special occasions. Believed to be originated from Sumatera, Nasi Minyak is a common breakfast dish in Terengganu.

Nasi Minyak is easy to prepare. Just spices, herbs and ghee. You can also easily find it in night market and buy the ready-to-cook pack in grocery stores. Whatever it is, the taste and aroma of Nasi Minyak is best served with curry, spicy fried chicken, sambal and other servings.

My verdict: The smooth taste is irresistible on the tongue. 

Text by Francis YipPhotos by Adobe Stock

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