Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Tony Boey johorkaki@gmail ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Dairy of Singapore active senior. Best years of food, travel, lifestyle

Bali Nasi Lemak @ Geylang Lor 15 ๐Ÿ™️ Midnight Comfort Food for the Picky & Sleepless in Singapore

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Need a fix for midnight cravings in the city but still wouldn't settle for anything but the best? Bali Nasi Lemak is probably the best nasi lemak one can find on the graveyard shift - it opens from 5:30pm to 4am.

Restaurant name: Bali Nasi Lemak Fast Food Shop ๅณ‡ๅŽ˜ๆคฐๅญ้ฃฏๅฟซ้ค


Address: 2 Lor 15 Geylang, Singapore 388596


Tel: +65 6841 4102


Hours: 5:30pm - 4:00am (Sun off)



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I like this rustic old building where Bali Nasi Lemak is in. It reminds me of old air traffic control towers I see around the world, though this, of course, is not ๐Ÿ˜‚

Bali Nasi Lemak has been in Geylang since 1985 and here at the intersection of Geylang Lor 15 and an unnamed side lane for the last 20 years.

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There's a constant stream of customers at Bali Nasi Lemak. There's folks who work or live around here, and fans from around the island as Bali Nasi Lemak ranks in the top band for the Chinese version of the Malay dish.

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Typical of Chinese nasi lemak stalls, Bali Nasi Lemak has a wide range of sides to go with the coconut flavoured rice. It's like an economic rice stall - affordable but Bali Nasi Lemak differs in that the dishes are freshly cooked in small batches.

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For nearly forty years, Mdm Susan Koh still personally cook the side dishes one wok at a time. So, you will get hot or warm food as the turnover is high and quick. Mdm Koh is busy in the kitchen, while her daughter and staff serve at the counter.

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Daughter Weimin helping out at the stall. I can smell the spices and aroma of charred banana leaf.

How did the name Bali Nasi Lemak come about? When Mdm Koh started the stall with her husband nearly forty years ago, she was wearing one of those pasar malam "I ๐Ÿ’— Bali" t-shirts and so Bali Nasi Lemak it is. No great ambitions, no brand consultants, just finding a way to earn money to raise their family. Till today, Mdm Koh has not been to Bali before.

(Kaypoh snippet: Mdm Susan Koh is the sister of the founder of Ponggol Nasi Lemak. Another sister owns Mount Faber Nasi Lemak.)

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Three of us, we went the whole hog, piling our tray with our favourites.

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First things, first - Bali Nasi Lemak serve a mix of good quality basmati rice and jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk. I like the mix of tender, nutty and fluffy textures. The rice grains were well infused with coconut sweetness but was not overly greasy.

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Mdm Koh cooks her sambal chili every day, so they are always fresh. Robust anchovy umami-savoury, sweet and mildly spicy.

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Ebony and Ivory - Bali Nasi Lemak serve a "white" and a black fried chicken wing.

The "white" fried chicken wing is actually crisp golden brown outside. The batter is thin but crackly like Indonesian keropok (crackers) with slight spice flavour and smell.

Mdm Koh started with the "white" wings and added the black wings on the suggestion of Weimin who was formerly a SIA cabin crew. From one of her flights to New York City, she tasted Buffalo wings during an excursion to Buffalo (to see the Niagara Falls).

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Based on Weimin's description, Mdm Koh came up with this black fried chicken wings with an Indonesian twist, coating it with kicap manis sauce. This is Bali Nasi Lemak mah and Mdm Koh can only rely on Weimin's description as she cannot tabao (takeaway) the Buffalo wings from New York mah.

Anyway, this sweet-savoury black chicken wing is one of Bali Nasi Lemak's signatures for decades.

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Mdm Koh occasionally cooks a spicy version spiked with dried chili pepper. Ask about it - it might be your lucky day.

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The fried ikan kuning fish is crisp outside, not too dry inside and still has a bit of natural fish sweetness.

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The fish otak otak has nice mild spice flavours with a bit of sweetness, toasty taste, smokey banana leaf smell as it is freshly grilled. Again, grilling is done in small batches so the otak otak is always fresh and warm.

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I prefer fried white bait than fried anchovies because white bait is less salty and has a subtle underlying sweet taste.

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I am a sucker for wet, runny egg yolk and hard yolks at nasi lemak stalls upset me ๐Ÿ˜‚ Weird unker 
๐Ÿ™„

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Get the hae bee hiam - savoury-salty, subtly sweet, not spicy. Perfect with the sweet coconut flavour rice.

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I could go on some more but you got the idea. There are many dishes and there are "surprise" ones depending on what Mdm Koh finds in the market. Yes, decades on, Mdm Koh now in her 70s still goes to the markets in her panel van to handpick her ingredients just like mums do.

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On the way home, can't help but stop to take a picture. It must be the psychedelic green light, or was it that suave man looking back at me?

Written by Tony Boey on 5 Mar 2021

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