Abdul Malik Hassan, 41, is the third-generation owner of Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak. He shelved his pilot dreams to work on his family’s business.
Abdul Malik’s grandmother used to peddle banana leaf-wrapped nasi lemak (coconut-flavoured rice with selected dishes) on the streets of the former Kampung Siglap. Malik’s father later opened a stall at Adam Road Food Centre, where it still operates now.
The current version of their nasi lemak has vastly evolved from the original: Selera Rasa’s coconut rice is famous for its use of basmati rice, a pricey ingredient-switch done for health reasons. Both of Abdul Malik’s parents were diabetic, and the basmati rice better suited to their diet since it has a low glycemic index. Abdul Malik also realised that the light, fluffy texture of this thin, long-grain rice gives the nasi lemak an exceptional texture. A long time was spent perfecting this recipe because basmati rice does not absorb coconut milk easily.
The hard work has paid off: the rice with the alluring, lingering fragrance is airy, fluffy, moist, with a subtle scent of coconut milk and pandan. It is the perfect base for their special blend of sweet-spicy sambal, and the addictive, crisp and well-marinated chicken wings.
Pick from a variety of combo sets ($2.50-$5.50), or go straight for the Royal Rumble ($5.50) which includes all side dishes (rice, sambal, egg, ikan bilis or fried anchovies, otah, fried fish, chicken wing and a bergedel which is a potato and chicken patty). This is truly nasi lemak fit for a king, or the Sultan of Brunei, to be exact: he orders and takes away packets by the dozens whenever he is in Singapore.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak is one of Singapore’s 12 hawker heroes who could be pitted against celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in SingTel’s Hawker Heroes challenge.