Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak is arguably the most famous nasi lemak stall in Singapore. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arranged for the nasi lemak from this stall to be served to Indonesian President Joko Widodo when he visited the Istana in November 2014. The Sultan of Brunei gets his breakfast from Selera Rasa each time he visits Singapore. There aren’t many nasi lemak stalls in Singapore with this level of recognition.
From the Hyatt Hotel to Adam Road Food Centre
Mr Hassan Abdul Kadir started selling his mother’s nasi lemak on a bicycle decades ago. Mr Hassan’s grandfather was a Japanese soldier and this allowed Mr Hassan’s mother to incorporate Japanese ingredients into her sambal sauce. Mr Hassan gave up peddling nasi lemak eventually and started work at the Hyatt Hotel in the laundry department. However, he continued making nasi lemak to sell to his colleagues at the hotel, where he ended up working for 20 years.
According to Mr Hassan’s son Mr Abdul Malik, the Sultan of Brunei often stayed at Hyatt Singapore, as the hotel is the property of the Brunei government’s investment arm. One day, the Sultan dropped by the laundry department and spotted packets of nasi lemak. On the Sultan’s enquiry, Mr Hassan gave the Sultan one to try. The Sultan would later tell Mr Hassan to open a stall with his nasi lemak.
Mr Hassan ended up doing just that in 1998, and the rest is history. His son Mr Abdul Malik gave up his promising pilot career path to follow his father’s wishes and take over the popular stall in 2004. The son improved on the ingredients and the processes, switching to basmati rice and improving the fried chicken marinade. Soon, the popular Selara Rasa Nasi Lemak stall became internationally famous. It received awards like the Singapore Street Food Master for best nasi lemak by Makansutra in 2006 and The Straits Times Readers’ Choice for nasi lemak in 2008.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
The all-star items here are the chicken wing, basmati rice and the sambal chilli. Their crispy ikan bilis (deep fried anchovies) are pretty good as well. This means that you would have to order either the Chicken Wing Meal, Full House, Royal Flush or Royal Rumble. Personally we prefer the Full House that comes with the chicken wing, otah, fried egg, ikan bilis, basmatic rice and the sambal chilli. It goes for S$4.50.
Selera Rasa does nasi lemak close to perfection. The basmati rice is super fragrant and it tastes so much better than the regular Thai rice, especially together with the sambal chilli. The chicken wing by itself is one of the best in Singapore, perfect crispiness with a fragrant delicious taste. Mr Abdul Malik’s marinade for the chicken wings has really hit all the right notes. From the picture you can just imagine how delicious the chicken wing would taste with the basmati rice and the sambal chilli. We rate the nasi lemak here 4.4/5. We note that you may encounter some problems with consistency, as the chicken wings that we had that day were very slightly overcooked. They would have received a higher rating if not for this issue.
The queue does not lie. Yes, that is a queue of approximately 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. If you happen to drop by on weekdays you will see office workers from afar buying tens of packets each to bring back to their colleagues at the office.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak has one of the best nasi lemak in Singapore, period. Mr Abdul Malik has opened a central kitchen for their nasi lemak and they intend to open many branches across the island. Look out for a branch near you!