Sunday, 7 March 2010

Nasi Ambang

It's back-to-back posting about food this week.

On my travel from KL to JB on the North-South Expressway, I would normally make a rest stop at Pagoh RnR. Apart from being located at about halfway of the total distance, the other main reason for stopping here is to taste the nasi ambang sold at one of the foodstalls. In all my travels up and down the NSE, there is only this one stall that sells it.

Nasi ambang is a speciality of Malay kampung folk of Javanese ethnic origin. It is basically plain rice with portions of beef rendang or chicken, sambal goreng tempe (a mix of vegetables and soybean cake), serunding kelapa (fried grated coconut), salted fish and sambal belacan (pounded chilli and prawn paste), all served on a piece of banana leaf. Sometimes a small portion of mee goreng is also added.

I have fond childhood memories of nasi ambang (sometimes spelled as nasi ambeng, because of the specific way to pronounce it). We lived in a neighbourhood of mixed communities but with a fairly large number of orang Jawa. Almost every month, there would be khenduri or thanksgiving feasts, and the ones held by my Javanese neighbours were those I most look forward to... because the nasi ambang they served were simply delicious.

After recital of the surah Yasin and prayers, the meal would be served in large round trays (dulang or talam, in Malay). Plain rice would be packed on the tray and layered with a piece of banana leaf, cut to a round shape slightly smaller than the tray. The other delicacies (meat, chicken, vegetables etc.) are then placed on the leaf. Four persons would share to eat from one tray but we were not supposed to finish it because the balance is meant to be packed and taken home. The task of splitting the stuff on the tray into four equal portions, so that no one party feel deprived, is actually quite enviable. The person who does it has to make sure that one guy doesn't get more meat or chicken from another. In the end, it is the spirit of cooperation and semangat bertimbang rasa that wins the day. That's why the relationships among neighbours were so close in those days.

I had a craving to eat nasi ambang again today... and so for lunch, we headed out to Bandar Baru Uda in Tampoi, JB where the best nasi ambang stall is located. The stall is called Mat Corner and a normal plate of nasi ambang daging or ayam costs RM4. The special plate which has both beef and chicken, costs RM5.50. My wife had the normal plate while my son and I both went for the special, of course. Selagi selera masih ada...

22 comments:

Kama said...

aiseh oldstock, you make me terliurlah. i had nasi ambang eons ago in JB.... about time revisit this dish..

matahari said...

Nasi ambang?
1st time dengar..
But it looks delicious..
Mmg terliur tengoknye...

Patricia said...

I've never had nasi ambang per se, but I've had all the individual bits you mention - though not all at the same time! Hahahah!

I'm usually a little wary about trying out stuff like this, because I'm takut it will be too pedas for me!

But it still makes me berliuh, just like it did for Kama!

VersedAnggerik said...

I had my first nasi ambeng at Jogja a few years ago. It the rice was compacted conically shaped in the middle and the lauk2 was arranged around it.

Mmg sedapppp!

mamasita said...

Waah..macam ni sure we all semua bertambah2 montel..you keep telling us about more delicious meals and mana nak makan..

So Oldstock! You're fired in our food channel! Baju we all semua dah sendat!

melayudilondon said...

Adussss... lamanye tak makan Nasi Ambeng. They sell these almost everywhere in Singapore. Only the ones during kenduri are the best

pakmat said...

..oh, well..there goes my diet..now, let's see if I can find it in Kelantan..:)

Rina said...

Laahai, boleh sangat singgah rumah, dekat sangat ala2 macam just a click away gituu...

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Interesting. Never heard of it or seen this dish before. Can you get this in KL?

DrSam said...

my wife really like this nasi ambeng and I was first introduced to this special delicacy when I got married to her.

Anonymous said...

oldstock...
nasi ambang/ambeng tak lengkap kalau takde gareng asem & opor... hehe..

miezarra.

Oldstock said...

Kak Kama,

I don't think I can find nasi ambang being sold in KL, otherwise I can recommend it to you. Nak tunggu sampai ke Johor, bila la agaknya tu..

Oldstock said...

alahai... cik matahari tak pernah dengar pasal nasi ambang ni ye.. masakan orang jawa.

Tapi yang herannya, kat kawasan orang jawa kat Selangor, tak jumpa pun nasi ambang ni.

Oldstock said...

Pat,

This nasi ambang is more of a Johor thing... I couldn't find it being sold in KL when I stayed there for a few years.

Oldstock said...

Verse,

Wow... nasi ambang kat Jogja must be the real thing! I can imagine the tastiness.... ummm, sedapnya.

Oldstock said...

mamasita,

Plump or slim, I love all you ladies just the same :-)

Oldstock said...

Hi melayudilondon,

How's the weather over there? Is it spring already?

Nasi ambeng kenduri memang yang paling sedap.

Oldstock said...

Pakmat,

Apa susah-susah nak diet... let's taste all the variety that we can while we have the opportunity. You can always jog it off at the lovely beach near your house.

Rasanya tak jumpa la nasi ambang ni kat Kelantan... unless you know some org jawa yg dah migrate ke sana.

Oldstock said...

Rina,

Camna nak singgah umah awak... daya tarikan nasi ambang Mat Corner lebih power, heheheh...

Oldstock said...

Andrea,

I stayed in KL for about three years and I never come across it being sold. Even the other favourite javanese dish of lontong, is difficult to find... finally found a stall near HKL that sells it.

Oldstock said...

Dr Sam is married to a Johor lady huh? Lucky guy, hehehe...

Oldstock said...

Zara,

kalau ada opor memang lagi sedap. tapi apa yg ada pun kira dah ok la tu. Yang paling penting to me is the sambal goreng... it's the one that really signifies the dish.