It is becoming common to see famous name-brand hawker businesses expanding their business from one original outlet to having branches and for some, even taking the path of franchising.
Whether the expansion are in the form of interstate – (Hameediayah, Lorong Seratus Tahun Penang Curry Mee, the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul) or via branches (Nyonya Colors, Kin Kin Pan Mee, Murni Discovery), the cravings for our favourite food are getting more accessible and easily satisfied.
A recent example would be the legendary Nasi Lemak Tanglin. This was actually surprising, more so when I found out they took the “foodtruck” route and of all places to park their truck, it was in my neighbourhood TTDI.
The TTDI FB Community group was all abuzz about it so it was hard to ignore, more so when pretty positive reviews were going around.
I’ve been to the original outlet many years back but it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
Still, it is now a mere 4 minutes drive from my house, so I thought – “why not?”
The RM2.00 basic nasi lemak was a miserable pack of rice and standard condiments of crispy ikan bilis (fried anchovies), crunchy peanuts and cucumber.
Gosh, I could get a pack with a quarter egg from most random roadside vendor (Al-Bidayah’s nasi lemak pack with egg is only RM1.50!) and most are priced between RM1.20 – RM1.60.
Besides, from a buyer’s point of view, buying it from a food truck isn’t that much different from buying it from a table on the roadside.
But of course, this is Nasi Lemak Tanglin that we are talking about, so we are paying for the nice truck and the name.
Since I must have egg with my nasi lemak, I requested for the standard hard boiled egg or at the very least, a fried egg. But no, they don’t offer “normal ” hard boiled eggs but only their “telur goreng” which is fried hard boiled egg stirred in sambal gravy. As for the standard fried egg, it was sold out by the time I was there, at about 8:30am.
Yes, crazy. At 8:30 am on a Friday morning, almost everything was sold out.
Fine, I thought.
I’ll make do with the sotong and a piece of beef then. The total was RM10.
5 minutes later at home, I immediately opened the pack and tucked in.
The rice was still hot and the mix of gravies from the sotong and beef plus their standard sambal made every mouthful pretty tasty.
Judging from the sambal and the portion of rice given, the RM2.00 price for a basic pack was now, acceptable to me.
The rice was firm and fluffy with nicely separated grains plus good aroma from a healthy dose of santan (coconut milk). The sambal was fair, slightly sweet but not spicy at all. Not my type but then again, not many places offer spicy sambal so I’ve resigned myself to nasi lemak with sweet, mildly spicy sambal now.
I’m more of a peanut person so I was slightly disgruntled the there were more ikan bilis than nuts (unlike some places where it’s more nuts and less on the anchovies). I wasn’t paying attention while the fella was packing my order so I’m not sure if I could have requested for more peanuts.
Anyways, it is highly unlikely that I’ll revisit so it doesn’t matter.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, Nasi Lemak Tanglin is acceptably tasty, but mild sambal and no egg for RM2.00?
Credit where it is due though, their famous sotong was true to its reputation – cooked to that elusive, admirable texture that was super tender, bouncy with a nice bite yet not rubbery.
The sotong gravy is good too. In short, if I ever need a reason to choose Nasi Lemak Tanglin over others, it would be for the sotong.
One of their popular add-ons is are their paru (beef lung). Personally I’m neither a paru or sotong person for nasi lemak. I’m all for the rice, sambal and at most, fried chicken. And yes, egg is a must.
While taste is subjective and the debate of “the best nasi lemak” in the Klang Valley will be one that goes on for eternity, few have managed to endure as long as Nasi Lemak Tanglin. Its legion of fans will continue to support it and along the way, there will be new devotees to the brand. Personally I’m a fan of their sotong and that’s about it.
1. Nasi Lemak Tanglin accepts bookings for functions/catering for events.
2. Tanglin started way back around 1948 by Suryati Jawirunnah and her recipe has been passed on to her son Zainal. The next in line is Zainal’s daughter. This is a brand of three generations!
Nasi Lemak Tanglin
1. Tanglin food court located near KL Bird Park
Waze ” Nasi Lemak Tanglin”
Address: Kompleks Makan Tanglin
Jalan Cendarasari, Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 7 – 11 pm. 4:30 – 7pm.
2. Nasi Lemak Tanglin Foodtruck/van (right in front of RHB TTDI)
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Waze: “RHB TTDI”
Hours: Daily 7 am to 10 am (go earlier if you want your favourite dishes)