Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures and flavours: Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai. This diversity is reflected in the menu of the best Malaysian restaurant in town: Nyonya. Hainanese chicken rice, roti canai, an Indian-influenced type of pancake served with curry sauce, and fried rice Pattaya-style are all served to the hungry – mostly Asian – crowd. The national dish of Malaysia, nasi lemak, resembles my favourite Indonesian rice dish: nasi uduk, mildly spiced coconut rice. The Malaysian version is as gentle as its Indonesian equivalent. It is served with sweet-and-sour vegetables, tiny fried fishes, mighty crispy chicken wings and a bit of Nyonya’s famous home-made sambal belachan, a spicy relish based on trassi, a shrimp paste with a peculiar smell. It takes the sweet, hard-working couple that runs this place hours to make this chilli paste. For one bit of sambal, the two have to crush kilo’s of chilli’s. They work in a kitchen where most people would get claustrophobic. The superb quality of their food proves that you don’t need a huge high-tech kitchen to shine. No skills, no glory.
Nasi lemak, one portion, €12.00
Kloveniersburgwal 38, Centre (Chinatown)
+31 (0) 20 422 24 47
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 1pm-9.46pm (kitchen closes at 9pm)