Travel like a local

Nasi Kandar

What is Nasi Kandar?

An Indian-style dish invented in Penang. It's basically a plate of rice (plain white or biryani) with a mixture of curry sauces, meat, fish and vegetables from a selection of trays. Ask for "sauce banjir" to have your plate flooded ("banjir" means flood) with different curry sauces. It's an assault on the taste buds in a very good way!

How to eat Nasi Kandar

First there might be a choice of different rice, but usually they just put a heap of fluffy white rice on your plate and await your instructions.

There will be a lot of dishes to choose from. It's worth finding out what the speciality of that vendor is, but non-meat favourites are: omelette (if not, they usually have whole boiled egg and sometimes half salted eggs), cabbage (which most people seem to add) and okra (also known as lady fingers). I usually get one or two meat/fish options: fried chicken (ayam goreng), black chicken, mutton curry or anything that seems to be popular.

Make sure you ask for "sauce banjir" (literally means to flood your rice with sauce), you can specify "kuah campur" (said like "kuah champur", it means mixed sauces) but that's usually implied when you say "banjir". This makes a bit difference.

It's normal to eat everything with your right hand, which I do too, but it's ok if you feel uncomfortable as most places will have cutlery.

Sometimes you pay before you eat but usually you're given a piece of paper with your order and you pay afterwards (having washed your hands at one of the sinks). Someone will come over and ask if you want a drink. I always order "teh o ais kossong" (iced tea with no milk or sugar).

Typical price of Nasi Kandar

RM4 - RM12

Where to eat Nasi Kandar?

The best Nasi Kandar in Penang:

The best Nasi Kandar in Kuala Lumpur: