Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nasi lemak at Leadenhall Market

An anonymous commentator left a comment a previous post on Pret A Manger about this stall in Leadenhall Market peddling nasi lemak for a mere £4, I had to go get some. It was quite a walk from my office but I figured that after spending the entire morning on my butt, I would need the exercise.

Leadenhall Market, which dates back to the 14th century, remains a thriving lunchtime venue till this day. Accessible through Gracechurch Street, it is a mere 5 minute walk from Monument Tube station. Filled with the likes of S&M, Pizza Express, Regis Snack Bar, Bedales Wine Bar and Chamberlain's (which I normally hang out at), Leadenhall Market is hugely popular with those working in the City.

leadenhall+market+nasi+lemakI did some sleuthing online and found that there is indeed this nasi lemak stall over at Leadenhall Market during between Wednesdays and Fridays lunchtime, and decided to pop. Prominently set up in the centre of Leadenhall Market, the stall not only sells nasi lemak, there was an entire array of Southeast Asian (Straits) cuisine including fried rice, vermicelli and egg noodles.

Not wanting to hold up the queue, which was fast forming behind me, I quickly asked for a nasi lemak that came prepacked in a plastic container. Being a makeshift stall, there was no seating provided so I had to make my way back to the office before tucking into my lunch.

Although the nasi lemak was lukewarm when I first got it, it was fast turning cold but nothing that a quick bout of microwaving could not solve. I must be famished by then as I didn't even bother checking whether the flimsy plastic container was microwave-safe before pushing the start button. 2 minutes later, the nasi lemak is hot and piping again.

leadenhall+market+nasi+lemak

To the uninitiated, the key difference between a good nasi ("rice") lemak ("fragrant") and a mediocre one is the consistency of the nasi and how lemak is it. Cooked with bunches of pandan leaves, it is not easy to produce really fragrant rice with just the correct texture unless the timing and proportion is done right. The other component will be the chilli paste. Interestingly, while Malaysians prefer the salty variety, Singaporeans generally go for the sweet chilli paste. The side dishes accompanying the nasi lemak really doesn't matter that much.

The Leadenhall Market nasi lemak is not exactly out of this world in this aspect. Though I was treated to a faint whiff of pandan after microwaving the rice, the fragrance was easily overpowered by the stir fry chicken that comes with it. The hard boiled egg tucked in a corner of the container had turned somewhat rubbery by then. However, I must add that the chilli paste tended towards the sweet variety, which was all fine by me.

Though the nasi lemak doesn't really make the mark, it is nevertheless a break from Wagamama and the good o' Pret. At £4 per serving, you can't really expect much, can you?

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5 comments:

Deb said...

I am dieting b4 two upcoming trips next month. This sort of posts are baadd for my waistline!

foongpc said...

For me, a good nasi lemak must have good side dishes. I would love to have chicken rendang, omelette, ikan bilis, and maybe even acar and petai! And the rice must be fragrant otherwise I won't call it nasi lemak! Haha!

Dutchie said...

Recently we saw Nasi Ramas in another town n thought it might be worth a try. De restaurant is runned by Indo Chinese.

For 12,50 euro, a plate of rice was garnished along the perimeters with red-cooked beef (yum n tender), fried boiled egg (too plain), sambal tempe (hubby detest it), 1 curry chicken drumstick n sambal bean sprouts.

For 1 euro extra, their chinese take-away offers rice with 3 satay or char siew, foo yong hai (omelet) n 2 mini springrolls. It does sound appealing but the food is too bland. Adding sambal badjak on the side just dont hv the same effects as a well seasoned dish.

Previously in SG, I was also roped into trying the office-lunch delivery (they need a quota). I stopped after a month bec the rice is always soggy from the sauce of the side dishes. Same goes for the lunches that colleagues brought back after they had their lunch *sigh*. It was then back to the hawker centre n jostling in the heat !

Amilia Gani said...

I am wondering if it was cooked by a Malay. I am quite sure there are many Msian Malay in London.
BTW CK, I have relocated back to SGP & have a new blog: http://oftravellovelife.blogspot.com/
....still very new with only some postings of my recent vacations.

C K said...

@Deb,
More food posts coming up! :p

@foongpc,
I would love to have a huge chunk of crispy fried chicken with my nasi lemak! Oh, oh, and crunchy peanuts with my ikan bilis as well. Mmmm...

@Dutchie,
Have not heard from you for eons. Hope that you are well.

I don't mind my nasi lemak a bit soggy... especially with the chilli paste oil that it is packed with. :)


@Amilia,
The owner of the stall sure looks like a Malay. His Caucasian wife is helping out at the stall as well.

How's it back home now? Oh, and more importantly hope that you're coping fine. Will be dropping by your new site. Cheers!