Nasi Le, Mak!
The Origin Of Malaysia’s Favourite Dish
By Wy Yee Chan
Ever since we achieved independence back in 1957, our country’s vision is always geared towards achieving national unity and carving our own distinct national identity. The one thing that unites the taste buds of all Malaysians however, is indisputably… Nasi Lemak! Every tom, dick and harry on the streets of Malaysia would know what Nasi Lemak is and it will always be Malaysians’ one true love.
Most of us have been eating Nasi Lemak since we were born but while we claim that it is our true love, we might not know how it all began. Well, from what we know, Nasi Lemak existed even before our forefather’s time and it all began right here on Malaysian soil. Legend has it that Nasi Lemak started in a small village near Malacca where a widow, Mak Kuntum, and her daughter, Seri, lived. It was created by accident when Seri was cooking rice one day. She accidentally spilt coconut milk into a pot of rice and the entire room was later filled with its fragrance. When Mak Kuntum came home for lunch later, she asked her daughter what it was and her daughter replied, “Nasi le, mak”. And from then on, Nasi Lemak was created!
Nasi Lemak’s popularity did not spread like wildfire in the beginning. It was a slow spread across the communities and gained its momentum when more and more people got a taste of it. Eventually, it became everyone’s favourite and the taste never left the hearts of Malaysians. The tale of Nasi Lemak is rather incidental and we thank God for it. Now that you know it, spread the love! Our love for Nasi Lemak shall never die!