* This article was published in the New Straits Times (Northern Streets) on 3rd May 2011.
One will find numerous hawker stalls serving a wide array of local delights at Gurney Drive Hawker Center in Penang. Nasi lemak lovers should try the all-time favourite at Nasi Lemak Cili Bilis. The stall specialises in nasi lemak kukus (steamed rice in coconut milk). (The owner, Hashim Haji Ismail who is the champion in the Battle of Penang Hawker Masters 2012’s nasi lemak category has switched to using palm milk instead of coconut milk).
The rice, cooked with ginger, coconut milk and pandan leaves that give it an amazing aroma, is steamed on the spot on large metal trays in a giant steamer.
Rice and egg steamed in the premises itself
Once cooked, the fluffy rice is transferred and kept warm in a wooden tub. They will repeat the entire cooking process once the supply runs low.
A plate of nasi lemak cost between RM2 and RM4. The basic set comes with a half hard-boiled egg, cucumber slices, sambal, deep-fried ikan bilis and fried peanuts. The sambal is not too spicy and is slightly sweet. Together with the ikan bilis, it gives a good balance with the rice.
Simple tasty meal of Nasi Lemak with fried egg cost RM2.50
Deep-fried chicken and crunchy peanuts and anchovies
Nasi lemak goes well with Ayam Goreng (deep-fried chicken). The well-marinated succulent chicken with crispy skin makes an excellent accompaniment. The chicken is replenished with a new batch constantly by the workers.
This stall also sells Santan Pulut. The glutinous rice steamed using fresh coconut milk is eaten with either durian or mango.
The pulut durian looked delicious and I had one packet on the go. The sticky rice comes with a generous amount of durian and a small packet of fresh coconut milk. The whole concoction was delightful, a burst of creaminess and sweetness. However, this mouthwatering sticky dessert is only available when the owner has the fruit.
The stall faces directly opposite Sunrise Mc Donald. If you are looking for hawker food in Gurney Drive, do consider dropping by Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. It is an idyllic place to sample the range of Indian, Chinese and other Malay hawker fare. Click here for the Map Location.
Nasi Lemak Cili Bilis
No 1 Gerai Kawasan Penjaja Gurney Drive (Anjung Gurney)
Padang Kota Baru
Tel: 017 4928848
Business Hour : 5pm to 10pm
Closed on Sunday
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