Besides food, what usually leaves an
impression when dining out has to be the heartwarming service, which we do not
get it often these days. A check list of simple good idea of sorts behind the
company works too. At Nasi Lemak Kukus, I was greeted by a friendly makcik (Malay
aunty) the moment when I stepped in (attentive service- check). She cheerfully
called out to me, ‘Hello, Sayang!’ She even made an effort to explain on their
self-service procedure. Customers are expected to help themselves to the rice
and dishes and they will be charge based on the amount of food taken, prices
are slightly steeper but definitely acceptable (save manpower and is
experiential- check). This friendly makcik is none other than Paima, the Head
Chef or the mummy of the shop.
Mr Lester Ching, 40, the owner, started
this shop in December 2010 and has entrusted the shop to Paima while he is away
working as a Commercial Pilot with an international airlines. Did he know that he is indeed lucky to have
such a dedicated staff? I guess he knew it all along. The exact words posted by
him on their facebook recently: “Paima is my rock which I can trust and rely on.”
(faith and trust in staff- check.)
Their signature dishes are Mutton
Rendang, Chicken Rendang, Curry Chicken, Fried Chicken Wings, Fried / Sweet
& Sour Fish, Sayur Lodeh along with crispy ikan belis, crunchy peanuts and
more. They serve it along with a free flow of coconut rice (good service idea-
check). The word ‘Kukus’ as indicated in their signboard means ‘steam’ in
Bahasa. The rice is steamed over a pot of boiling water rather than cooking it
traditionally in the coconut milk and water method. They only add coconut milk
after the rice is cooked and placed it back to the steamer. This is why their
rice has that edge that you’ll notice upon first bite and obviously this old
laborious method makes a difference- it comes softly aldente- like how it should
be. Best part about this it the free flow if you buy a minimum amount. Serving
it free-flow has given it a homely feel- check again.
More good news? They serve 2 types of
sambal tumis, a sweeter (for milder palates) and a rocking spicier one. As advised
by Paima, the level of spiciness of the spicier one can be quite intense. The
sambal tumis is free flow too- another check.
She suggested that I should try their
signature Vietnamese Drip Coffee served with individual drip filter. I ordered
the iced version and enjoyed it.
Their famous Power Burger is served only after
5pm, she tells me. I made another trip down just for it. I did not expect Paima
to recognize me the moment when she spotted me. She greeted with the same warm
smile and again, ‘Hello, Sayang!’(yep, check again).
You can order the Power Burger with
either single or double patties. I was told that they handmade the patties and
marinate it with a special rendang seasoning. The process is definitely tedious
and that explains why they serve it in limited quantities and only in the
evenings. My Power Burger came with the double patties nicely wrapped in the
thin egg omelet sandwiched between 2 buns. The patties definitely tasted
different as compared to your usual Ramly Burger. The texture was much softer
and rather meaty but flavorsome. This is, no doubt, a must makan item here.
Mr Ching posted on their Facebook in July
announcing his intention to offer his shop as a shelter to the less fortunate ones
after they closed at night (a big check yet again). Several people have
benefited from this arrangement but one particular beneficiary created an unpleasant
scene for them. “It just happened, we didn’t know what was going on when
reporters and policemen appeared at our shop on that day.” Paima said. Nonetheless,
this incident did not dent their pay-it-forward faith and believe.
Their current location is a cosy hideout where
patronized by the residents of Sembawang not just for their tasty nasi lemak
but also its laidback ambiance in this trendy Halal eatery. However, they have confirmed their relocation
to Selegie in mid-December due to MRT construction works (check, for those
around that area). This is going to affect the parking lots right in front of
their shop as well as the uncomfortable construction noises.
Nasi Lemak is an unpretentious comfort
food that touches the hearts and brings simple pleasures to many. This one, presented
by Nasi Lemak Kukus.com is not all about the deliciousness but also their
dedication in serving it with a wholehearted warmth and with a homely feel.
908 Upper Thomson
Road Singapore 787111
Operating Hours: 12
pm to 11 pm (Tue – Thu) / 12pm – 1 am (Fri – Sat) /12 pm to 11 pm (Sun) /
Closed on Monday