The food court at Northpoint City in Singapore is home to a myriad of cuisines, so I’m attempting to try different dishes that I have yet to try, and reminisce different memories by ordering those that I haven’t tried in years. This time, I tried a unique-looking dish that’s completely different and new to me – nasi kuning.
Nasi kuning, which is translated to ‘yellow rice’ in the Indonesian and Malay languages (nasi = rice, kuning = yellow), is a dish that’s native to this region in Southeast Asia. The rice’s vibrant yellow color is derived from a combination of ingredients, namely turmeric (which is known for its orange/yellow color), and coconut milk makes the rice fragrant and delicious. Apparently its color symbolizes prosperity, hence it’s traditionally served on special occasions.
When I first saw my plate, I was both intrigued with the vibrant dish and stunned at the portion size – it was MASSIVE! It’s most certainly a good find, especially at $5.90 SGD for a plate. A quarter of a chicken with a whole lot of sauce and a generous helping of the achar on the side, a crispy papadum (an Indian touch for crunch!) and a huge helping of rice looked like a feast that I couldn’t wait to try.
When I first spotted the delectable-looking chicken curry in the nasi kuning picture on the menu, I was expecting it to be ultra spicy. I was mentally prepared to reach for a bottle of water and a packet of tissues to ease the potential kick of spice that would test my tolerance to chili peppers. On the contrary, I was surprised when I took my first bite – it wasn’t spicy at all!
Even if chili was included in the chicken curry, it was incredibly mild. The curry’s consistency isn’t like regular gravies or curries, it was much rather like a stew. The chicken itself was reminiscent to tandoori or tikka (but a moister version), and it’s very possible that the curry’s base comprised of either one of those flavors. Additionally, it has subtle notes of tomato and onion flavors in its curry base.
The achar was delicious too! The combination of pickled cucumbers, chili and other veggies and herbs with pounded peanuts elevated the dish and included refreshing flavors. Plus, it’s wonderful to have some veggies to balance the dish, especially with that wonderful portion of chicken!