Those of a certain age will remember this late night Bangsar nasi lemak way before Chawan claimed Devi's Corner's spot. For this week's Nasi Lemak Mondays, Farah revisits this nasi lemak joint and finds out if it deserves it's bold name...
Freshly fried chicken every time!
Bangsar Selera Food Court, Jalan Telawi 1, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 013 6741841 ( Netee ) – call after 5pm
Daily 5pm - 5am (closed on Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji)
A variety of lauks and yummy fried chicken.
It’s an open air food court, so don’t expect too much ambience here.
So, what makes Famous, famous? Their fried chicken, of course.
In the 90’s, Nasi Lemak Famous was a small stall in Bangsar, a supper spot popular with the post-clubbing crowd trickling in from the nearby watering holes in Telawi. At first, many came for the nasi lemak but in the end, many more returned for their juicy fried chicken. Now, more than 30 years on, Famous is still striving and doing well.
The Famous chicken is prepared and fried on-site. Skin is crispy and golden-brown, well-seasoned with curry powder, lemongrass and fennel, marinated for a day and then dredged in corn flour before frying to help bind all the wonderful spices together. You can also ask them to spoon in some of crispy bits of batter into your rice. Puan Zaleha doesn’t add turmeric in her marination as she says that adding turmeric will cause the chicken skin to burn easily. Customers keep on coming, so every few minutes, the fried chicken is constantly replenished. This means freshly-fried chicken with your nasi lemak every time.
It’s no surprise that Famous uses up to 30 chickens daily during the week and 50 chickens per day during the weekend. For the adventurous eater, crispy chicken feet is also available here. You pair the fried chicken with their fragrant rice and sambal and you get a killer combo. They don’t skimp on the ‘santan’ here, the rice has tons of ‘lemak’ flavour with a subtle aroma of pandan.
A 'famous' plate of nasi lemak with fried chicken and limpa
The sambal is a Johorean sambal, so it has the teeniest hint of belacan and a bit of tang from the addition of asam jawa. Its spiciness has a slow burn that teases your tongue with just enough lingering heat without the burning sensation. Not overly sweet as most of the flavour comes from the caramelisation of onions that has been cooked for 6 hours (9pm to 3am) daily.
Another specialty lauk here is the Rendang Limpa (cow’s spleen). The rich earthy taste of the limpa compliments the wonderful richness of rendang gravy. The limpa texture is soft, with just a smidge of chewiness. If offal is your thing, the limpa here is something you need to try.
If you want to venture from the fried chicken there's other stuff too!
Other lauks on offer are rendang kerang, sambal paru and rendang daging as well as the usual condiments of cucumbers, egg, peanuts and ikan bilis. The sambal coats the paru like second skin, Puan Zaleha told me the secret is blended peanuts (you can hardly taste it), it acts like a glue, adhering the sambal to the paru. I also love that they have kangkung which I usually opt for instead of cucumbers.
Famous is a family business. The matriarch, Puan Zaleha Ali started it and came up with all the recipes and now the day-to-day operations is handled by her sons and daughters. She is friendly and has no qualms in sharing her recipes with anyone who asks her. Their long tenure in Bangsar has garnered them regular customers from all over Malaysia, Singapore and even Indonesia. They have an Indonesian customer that makes a yearly pilgrimage to KL just to have a taste of their nasi lemak.
Due to the success of their nasi lemak business, now the Famous family also offer catering services. For a satisfying nasi lemak supper, head over to Nasi Lemak Famous in Bangsar and you’ll discover why they’re ballsy enough to put Famous in their name.