Greetings fellow gNOMes! When it comes to Malaysian food, there is commonly this debate that never ends: Where is the best Nasi Lemak served? Well this post is not to once and for all settle the argument, but most people from Johor Bahru would definitely put this place forward as a very convincing contender for that title.
Just as the name of this restaurant suggests, “Where else?” Where else can one find better Nasi Lemak? For the uninitiated, gNOMe 1 comes from Johor Bahru. gNOMe 1 also happened to grow up in this neighborhood known as Taman Perling, and this was the regular haunt on a night where you just feel the urge to have some hot, nice nasi lemak!
This is not your usual run-of-the-mill packet nasi lemak; this is a full blown shop! It didn’t use to be this way, though. Mana Lagi started off as a small stall and because of the unique taste of their nasi lemak and lontong (vegetable curry), they soon moved into their own shop. At the height of their success, one would even have to queue up to get seats all the time! Celebrities visited from all over the country and Singapore. At one period it even got so crazy that their rivals spread rumors that they hired demons to cook their tasty sambal!
A string of rumors led to reports which shut the shop down for good, or so we thought. About what seemed like a whole year later, the shop was revived! Although they never could achieve THAT astronomical standard set before they closed, it still makes a pretty convincing case for the best Nasi Lemak in Malaysia.
Forgive the sloppy pictures, as this was taken with phone. This place does not exactly have the ideal lighting for photography. First thing to do when one steps in the shop, get a seat then line up to get your hot plate of Nasi Lemak, then pick out your selection of chicken, chicken liver, chicken lungs or gizzards. The rice is very fragrant and not soggy, just the way the gNOMes like it. The sambal (chili paste) is also slightly on the manis (sweet) side – there is masin (salty) and sweet types – and is a perfect match for the rice. The gNOMes cannot decide if it is the rice, or the sambal, that makes it special.
The fried chicken and chicken parts are also special, as they are fried with their own special seasoning, and armed with something that looks like kerisik (flavored rustles) which leaves people wanting more. The chicken is juicy and crispy as well. If there was a Petaling Jaya equivalent of the chicken standard, we would say it is as good as the chicken sold at Nasi Lemak Bumbung (affectionately known as Maybank Nasi Lemak) in Sea Park.
The lontong is also one of the specials in this restaurant, and is a must-try. This curry is fragrant with it’s spices and santan (coconut milk), with cabbages, vermicelli, and long beans among another ingredients, topped off with good ol’ sambal to complete this culinary delight! Overall, the whole meal wouldn’t come up to more than RM 50 for a whole family of five.
Verdict: The gNOMes have eaten many many Nasi Lemak all over Malaysia, and we do not say this lightly. This place served arguably one of the best Nasi Lemaks not just in Johor Bahru, but probably most of Malaysia. And they are not asking us to say all of this!
How to get there:
Address: 569, Jalan Persisiran Perling 1, Taman Perling, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact them on Facebook!
or you can map it right here!