Merdeka! Merdeka!

Lok Lok Nasi Lemak

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Happy Merdeka Day. It’s been 55 years since Malaya had tasted independence. Malaysia, on the other hand will be 49 in 2 weeks time. During this time, we have had 6 Prime Ministers, gone from a mining and agricultural economy to a more industrialised and multi-sector economy.  We have gone from importing cars to making our own (albeit with the help of others). We’ve even won 6 Olympic Medals.

But one thing has not changed. We are still a multicultural country. Each race has their own identity, their own traditions and their own uniqueness. But we are also Malaysians. Each and every one of us are no longer living in a cocooned environment and have melded into Malaysians. Send a Malaysian Chinese to China and he will feel like a foreigner even though the cultural roots are the same. I reckon the same is true for all other races, even those that can truly say they originated from this land (like the dayaks). Face it folks, we have evolved. Evolved into this hodge podge culture that is Malaysian Culture. One and yet many. Different and yet the same.

Is this true for our cuisine though? I submit that it is true as well. Even though, the cuisine of each race is still distinct, we can see various dishes break through the race barrier. There is one dish however that I can say to be the dish of a united Malaysia and I think Namewee realised this as well. This dish is non-other than the humble Nasi Lemak. Although Malay in origin, this dish has not only conquered all the other races’ taste buds, it has lodged itself in the cooking repertoires of all races.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the various sellers of nasi lemak. I don’t believe there is another dish that is sold by all races and eaten by all races and by all levels of society. There’s all types of nasi lemak; cheap, expensive, hot, cold, on a plate, in a pack and there is even a vegetarian version,  which leads us to a review of a nasi lemak institution in Kuching, the Lok-Lok Nasi Lemak.

I used to still call it the Jupiter Nasi Lemak even though Jupiter Night Club has long since been defunct.  For those of you who don’t know or is too young to know,  Jupiter Night Club and hence Lok-Lok is located at the Jalan Tabuan roundabout, near to Chung Hua Primary No. 1 and Kuching High School. It has always been and still is the place for supper. While it is known for its lok-lok (they are named after that!), I have always had been a bigger fan of their nasi lemak and to be precise, their nasi lemak with fried chicken wing with curry sauce.

The nasi lemak here is definitely one of the better ones in Kuching especially compared to the others available at night. The rice itself is cooked nicely with a hint of santan. The sambal is just spicy enough (although I usually prefer something spicier) giving this dish a good kick. They added the ikan bilis (local anchovies) in the sambal rather than by itself. This does make it loose a bit of the crunchiness that I like but it is still sufficiently tasty.

There are also the standard roasted peanuts, hardboiled egg (I prefer it with a fried egg but oh well) and a couple of slices of cucumber.  They’ve also added in a salted fish, which I like but can sometimes be terrible because it has lost its crispiness. This can happen with the peanuts too which is a shame.

But the star of the show for me is the fried chicken wing. The nice crispy texture and its wonderful taste goes so well with the spiciness of the nasi lemak. Add to that the curry gravy and you have something that will make your palate dance for joy, proclaim themselves to be Peter Pan and run off to Never Never land. Sometimes I order an extra chicken wing for an added guilty pleasure.

So in order to celebrate this Merdeka Day, let us all enjoy the Nasi Lemak, our national dish! For in my eyes, nothing brings us together and makes us all Malaysian like this mouth watering delight.

PS. If you eat at Lok Lok, try their herbal tea as well.


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