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A Traditional Malay Delicacy That Is Meant For Travelers

nasi tumpang

About “Nasi Tumpang” (a type of traditional rice)

Nasi Tumpang is one of several food items identified by the Malaysian National Heritage Department as being truly Malaysian.

Regarded as a traditional Malay delicacy, Nasi Tumpang is highly popular in the east coast especially in Kelantan from where it originated.

How “Nasi Tumpang” is made

Nasi Tumpang is delicious hand-made rice wrapped up in the shape of a cone with banana leaves. It was originally meant for farmers who had to work long hours in padi fields and farms.

In addition, Nasi Tumpang is also a favorite food among travelers due to the fact that it’s nicely packed in banana leaf and is highly portable. In fact, the word Tumpang literally means portable in Malay.

kelantan nasi tumpang

Nasi Tumpang wrapped in banana leaves.

Ingredients used

The ingredients of Nasi Tumpang consist mostly of rice which is cooked till it’s soft, tempe (fermented soy bean cake), omelets and sambal (shrimp paste). Today’s Nasi Tumpang variations may contain meat floss, chicken, fish and curry.

How does it taste

The flavor of Nasi Tumpang comes mostly from its delicious sambal or gravy which is made of fish (ikan bilis) and shrimps. The gravy sometimes can be spicy and yet sweet.

Today, Nasi Tumpang is available not only in Kelantan but in most places in Malaysia. Even upscale restaurants in 5 star hotels do serve this highly popular traditional Malay delicacy.

nasi tumpang

Nasi Tumpang beneath the banana leaves.

In short, Nasi Tumpang is highly recommended for travelers holidaying in Malaysia. You will most likely come across Nasi Tumpang when you dine in hotels and some Malay restaurants. Your trip will not be complete if Nasi Tumpang is never on your menu when you are in Malaysia.

Other heritage food in Malaysia that you might be interested

  • Rendang – Rendang is a popular dish not only among the Malays but also among all races in Malaysia. This delicious delicacy is made by stewing beef in coconut milk and mixed with spices like ginger, galangal, turmeric leaf, lemon grass and chili.
  • Nasi Kerabu – The nasi kerabu is a dish of Kelantanese origin. Its rice is uniquely blue in color, which comes from having been soaked and cooked with the extract of the purplish blue bunga telang or butterfly pea.
  • Ketupat – Ketupat is usually wrapped in a triangular shape using the leaves of the fan palm (Licuala). This sort of dumpling is usually eaten with rendang which is a type of dry beef curry.
  • Nasi Kunyit – Nasi kunyit or turmeric rice, after translated to English, is glutinous rice cooked with turmeric coloring and is usually served with coconut milk chicken curry or beef curry.
  • Lemang – The delicious lemang is made of glutinous rice that is cooked with coconut milk in hollowed bamboos.
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