Nasi Kandar Kampong Melayu, Penang

Hurry, hurry, hurry! Get your rice and curry! The best that’s found in Kampung Melayu, Georgetown. (Apologies to Dr. Bombay)

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu, Penang

Nasi Kandar Kampong Melayu Penang

Nasi kandar comes from “nasi” meaning rice and “kandar” meaning balance – hawkers in the olden days carried their rice and curries in buckets balanced on poles over their shoulders. Nowadays, bustling nasi kandar restaurants like Original Penang Kayu can be found all over Peninsular Malaysia, serving up Malaysian-Indian fare 24 hours a day. But one of the oldest – and arguably the best – nasi kandar stalls is found in the Kampung Melayu (Malay Village) enclave on Penang Island.

Annie’s uncle is a nasi kandar connoisseur. So, on the morning of Day 3 of our whirlwind trip to Penang, he took us for breakfast to Kampung Melayu Nasi Kandar.

Kampung Melayu Nasi Kandar is located in a couple of ground floor shoplots inside a low-income apartment building in a working class neighborhood. Parking is hard to find in the area, so we had to park out on Jalan Pisang Raja and walk in. It was late morning, so we were able to find a table inside. The manager came and took our order. They were out of goat that day, but there was still beef, chicken, and fish curry.

Out in front, workers quickly prepared our plates. Starting with a heaping mound of rice, they added on various meats, vegetables, and combined curries until the entire mound was flooded with the delicious sauce. They delivered the plates to our table. Spoons and forks were provided, but the best way to eat nasi kandar is with your fingers – just pinch off a piece of meat or veg, gather it together with some rice, and lift it up to your mouth.

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Curries

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Curries

I got a plate of beef and fish curry, with some perfectly cooked ladyfingers (okra) to go along with it. This is the same fish curry that we enjoyed so much at last year’s Chinese New Year party in Penang. At first, I didn’t think I could finish off that huge mound of rice. But the flavors of the curry were so good, the spices fragrant without being fiery, that I could not stop until my plate was scraped clean!

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Fish Curry

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Fish Curry

Flipping Out

While the nasi kandar curry stall sits out in front of one of the shoplots, the second shopfront hosts a busy roti canai stall. Here, the workers deftly flatten out oiled balls of dough before flipping them out into tissue-thin sheets, finally folding them into a square package, trapping air between the folds. Each package is then tossed onto a griddle and drizzled with more oil to fry up.

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Roti Canai Maker

It takes a lot of skill and practice to flip a roti canai out right, and these guys show their experience with how quickly they can turn out their flatbreads. I took a short video of the mesmerizing process of making roti canai:

My roti canai came with a small bowl of dal curry. It was perfect – cooked through and even crispy on certain parts but not burnt.  Even though I was full from the rice and curry, I did not hesitate to finish off this roti.

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Roti Canai

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu Roti Canai

When all was said and done, we walked away quite full and quite happy. I look forward to the next time we will return for our rice and curry. It can’t come soon enough!

Aloha, Nate

Other reviews of Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu by The Star Online, by VKeong, by Desmond-t, by Malaysia Best, and by Famous Chris

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu
Ground floor, Kampung Melayu Flats
Near the intersection of Jalan Pisang Raja and Jalan Pisang Tanduk
Georgetown, Penang


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Do you have a favorite nasi kandar stall? Tell us where it is!

I am entering this post in the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday roundup, created and hosted by Sharon of Test with a Skewer. This is the third post in a series of Penang food that we’ll be putting up, hopefully every Monday. Don’t miss any of them; be sure to subscribe to our blog via RSS or email!

11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. shaz says:

    Arrgh, argh, I have got to stop reading posts like this when I’m hungry. Makes me want to cry. And leaves me feeling homesick for the food:) Thanks for the great info, next tiem I head back to visit the folks, we’re definitely making a Penang road trip!

  2. Chris says:

    OMG…Drooling!!! I agree with Shaz on top…can’t read posts such as this one when I’m hungry. :-D

  3. mareza says:

    love the food….
    next time i go to Malaysia,i will read all your post again so i know where to eat…enjoyed all your post and tales…

  4. arif says:

    i fill sick now.help me.i feel so hungry for original nasi kandar.i don’t know about that place.but when i get home,i will ask my brother to bring our family to test this nasi kandar.coz i hope it was better than nasi kandar beratur near kapitan keling mosque in penang…

  5. Chan says:

    Wow, this is really nostalgic. I stayed in Kampung Melayu for the first 17 years of my life and I have seen these a gazillion times when I was there. The kuih and bread stalls near the bus stop; those roti canai, another bread vendor, and the sundry shop below Block A, the weekly Monday pasar malams (night market) and lets not forget the annual pasar Ramadan (fasting month food bazaar).

    I miss Malaysia so much now and so many things have changed in Penang and even at Kampung Melayu. Everywhere looks so foreign to me now as I was away (overseas) for so many years.

    I miss the karipaps. My favourite karipaps nearby the bus station and Air Itam school.

    • Nate says:

      Chan,

      I’m glad our post could bring back those memories for you. The nasi kandar there is certainly memorable!

      Now I’m going to have to find some Indian food for lunch…

  6. Max says:

    No doubt this is the best.

    Nasi Kandar Kg. Melayu at night?
    Yes they start at around 6pm -ish, till 9pm(at this time, not much left)

    Where?
    5.400478,100.289415 -Google Maps
    At a “3288 Food Court, not sure about the number or was it 2388 or something” operated by the same people (e.g the roti man in the picture), except no roti canai at night time.

    A more comfortable place/atmosphere at the food court, but you can’t beat the authenticity of being right smack in Kg. Melayu Flats area.

    Nice Blog!

  7. WAN HANIM says:

    hey i love this everytime when i balik kampung it’s amust to have this for breakfast if the trip is for a week then a whole week of nasi kandar for breakfast for me n hubby. No other nasi kandar can ever match the taste of this one i love the amount of onions that they use in the gravy…………

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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