"People still come to Tanglin for a nasi lemak fix"
Nasi Lemak Tanglin has been around for ages. If you're craving for a nasi lemak, queue up for theirs somewhere along Jalan Cenderasari (opposite the Poliklinik, Off Jalan Tanglin) with everyone else. They are now in the Tanglin Food Court. If you're unlucky, the queue is very long, if you're lucky, the queue is just long. If there's no queue, then they are probably closed or the food's all gone! Queue starts long way early at about 7.30am and tapers down by about 10am.
There are two great things in this food court we'd like to highlight. The nasi lemak and the kopitiam tea. Let's put the kopitiam tea aside first and try some nasi lemak tanglin style. Tanglin started way back around 1948 by Suryati Jawirunnah andd her recipe is now passed to her son Zainal which will soon pass down to Zainal's daughter. Three generations of history here.
Tanglin has the usual chicken rendang, sambal sotong and beef lung dendeng among others. From all the myriad of lauks available, my heart fell for their beef liver sambal and also sambal sotong. The sambal sotong recipe has ground peanuts giving it a slightly nutty taste with a slight chili kick. The beef liver has the sweet sambal way seeping deep into the cuts which makes it that more enjoyable eating. The rice is steamed 'ceroi' which means that Zainal's rice is not the sticky type, hence less starchy and able to soak up more of the other nasi lemak gravies.
"Your morning plate of cheer!"
It’s early weekday morning and the place is packed with people. This isn’t really surprising given the fact that for the last ten years, this restaurant has been steadily making a name in the business of booming breakfasts. While they have really great lauk campur lunches and fried dinner dishes, it’s the morning meals that customers go for. The restaurant started out as small one corner shop that has taken over a long stretch, scattered with tables starting from 6 a.m. If you’re a late riser, best make it before 10 as the food goes away fast.
Here’s what you should definitely aim for – the nasi lemak, and the cakoi. The nasi lemak is a steaming plate of full, creamy, home-made rice. It’s soft and fluffy, with a light scent of santan wafting away with the steam. A bite into its richness and you’ll find the secret to the restaurant’s success. The standard nasi lemak plate comes with a half boiled egg, slices of fresh cucumber, some nice salty nuts and the sambal. It’s enough to welcome your mornings, but Restoran Ceria offers the extra mile.
First off, there’s the basic sambal. Light in texture, it’s not too heavy on the oil and not super thick. It’s a solid, spicy and slightly sweet sambal mixed in with some anchovies. While it’s not out of the world, it does the trick to get your morning energy up fantastically. If you want to level up, have the sambal kerang. Tiny morsels of chewy, salty kerang flesh in hot sauce, with heavier tastes of garlic and chili. It goes amazing with the crunchy nuts, anchovies and soft egg that make up the dish.
But Ceria doesn’t stop there, as another option is to have your nasi lemak with the sambal sotong. This is by far one of the more popular sambal as it runs out by 10a.m. almost on a daily basis. Delicious, chewy cuttlefish drenched in the spicy sauce. It’s a scrumptious contrast between the slightly salted sotong and the sharp tang of the chili, in a mouthful with warm creamy rice. Mmm...