So I was with a friend recounting my first try of the Nasi Lemak Ambeng at CRAVE the other day and her first question to me was “What’s Nasi Ambeng really?” My friend in question is not Malay so before you go “Alamak, melayu don’t know ambeng?” I declare first. Haha!
It stopped me in my tracks to be quite honest cos I wasn’t exactly sure how to explain its history. We’re so familiar with it that we probably took it for granted. So if you’re there scratching your head wondering what exactly it is, or wondering how to explain to your non-malay friends on what it is, or if you’re non-malay yourself and you’re wondering what exactly it is, well … here you go:
Nasi Ambeng is a Javanese dish served in a large “dulang” or tray in a kind of a sharing platter sort of way. The dish is made up of rice which is placed in the middle and surrounded by several different side dishes all around it. Usually these are dishes like sambal sotong (sambal squid), fried paru (fried lungs), sambal goreng (fried bean curd, tempeh & long beans), and many others I can’t really think of now cos I’m salivating. Nasi Ambeng is served during special occasions and sort of encompasses the kampung spirit of sharing. Everyone just digs in altogether. It’s fun.
Ok I digress. Back to what I’m here to talk about – CRAVE Nasi Lemak & Teh Tarik (CRAVE) is reviving this same kampung spirit at its newly launched White Sands Mall outlet and introducing new exclusive dishes with a fresh outlook – the Nasi Lemak Ambeng and Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi.
Nasi Lemak Ambeng (S$19.90)
CRAVE’s version of Nasi Lemak Ambeng comprises a mountain of fragrant basmati rice with its newly created Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi, signature bergedil and sambal, appetising acar, fish fillet and sambal goreng. Imagine a super-sized nasi lemak – that’s what you get with this. The platter is made ideally for 2 pax but we had 3 pax the other day and still had leftovers. Then again we topped up our meal with their popular fried chicken and otah (both fish and squid). Oh and not to mention their delicious Teh Tarik. So yeah! Our conclusion though was that if you have 2 people with big appetites, this would go down just nice.
The Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi which was served in the Nasi Lemak Ambeng was really good. Personally Lemak Chilli Padi is my favourite kampung dish. If my mom or aunt cooks it, I’ll be all up in it. CRAVE’s version, I would have to say, hit the spot. I could have done with more gravy though but that’s just me. I like to douse my rice with gravy. If you’re like me, request for extra gravy when ordering.
If you’re not into sharing but still want to try the Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi, it is also available in a la carte portion.
Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi (S$9.90)
Fragrant, enticing and irresistible, the chicken thigh is marinated with a potpourri of onions, turmeric, galangal, ginger, chilli padi, lime leaves, turmeric leaves, shrimp paste and other ingredients. Relish its creamy, coconutty goodness!
If you’re visiting White Sands Mall, you can spot CRAVE by its wood beams and wood-look laminates. So kampung-style, right?
CRAVE’s White Sands Mall Outlet
1 Pasir Ris Central Street 3 #B1-K16
Operating Hours: 10am – 10pm