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  • Nasi Campur – The Most Flavorful Buffet You’ll Ever Eat

    By Mark Wiens 29 Comments
    Nasi Campur
    Nasi Campur – Heavenly Mixed Rice

    Nasi Campur is normal, everyday Malaysian food.

    Yet even though it may be common and nothing out of the ordinary, somehow a meal of nasi campur is one of the most satisfying meals I can think of… in the world.

    Ever since my first experience with nasi campur in Indonesia, I’ve been an addict.

    Perhaps because it’s often setup as a buffet – a self service meal where you’re handed a plate of rice and it’s up to you to navigate the buffet line and pile on whatever looks most tempting.

    But unlike a buffet, nasi campur is normally just a single plate meal deal.

    Of course, one could pay for an extra plate of food, but without paying extra you can’t just keep returning to the buffet.

    This is a good thing.

    I know if nasi campur in Malaysia was a one-price-all-you-can-eat kind of thing, I would hardly be able to control myself.

    Just one plate, piled high, is perfect.

    Nasi Campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Nasi Campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    This visit to Kuala Lumpur, with more time than the last 12 hour binge visit, I found myself drawn time and time again to Kampung Baru, the local Malay, lesser developed area of town.

    It happens to be a neighborhood gastronomical paradise and the food is pure home style cooking.

    Nasi lemak, nasi campur, ikan bakar grilled fish, roti flatbread canai, versions of Malaysian laksa and other delicious Malaysian foods are in large supply throughout Kampung Baru.

    Lina Sea Food, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Lina Sea Food, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Partly covered by the extended patio of their home, partly sprawled into their backyard and sheltered by makeshift tarps, this nasi campur stall, known as Lina Sea Food, included a few of the positive attribues of any good street stall.

    Over 80 buffet style nasi campur dishes to choose from!
    Over 80 buffet style nasi campur dishes to choose from!

    My jaw dropped as I peeked over the buffet line.

    There was a sea of fully prepared, massively tasty Malaysian dishes, set up on about ten fold-up tables in the shape of an “L.”

    I’ve seen some nasi campur stalls and Thai khao gaeng stalls, but this display of cuisine was no short of awe inspiring.

    Over 80 different dishes!

    YES, I felt the urge to count – and the ladies were still cooking more in the kitchen!

    Malaysian nasi campur
    Customers eager for lunch

    It was no easy decision.

    Delicious Malaysian food
    Delicious Malaysian food

    It took a little browsing, but finally I had a plate I was proud of.

    Nasi Campur
    Tempeh soybean cakes and a mix of dishes

    A thick piece of fish curry, some stir fried veggies, seared purple eggplant in sambal chili sauce and the ever so delightful young jackfruit curry.

    I’m a jackfruit curry enthusiast. The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lankan food all have unique and wonderfully tasting versions of jackfruit curry.

    Topped with a few scoops of chili fried tempeh, a traditional soybean crunchy fritter, I was quite happy with my selection.

    Malaysian nasi campur
    Satisfaction.

    It was marvelous.

    The kitchen at Lina Sea Food
    The kitchen at Lina Sea Food

    The smiling ladies at the restaurant saw my enthusiasm for their cuisine and invited me back to the kitchen.

    This is where the magical cooking happened.

    Malaysian food
    1 of about 6 ladies that handled the kitchen

    Next on the menu, about to be added to the still growing 80 plus dishes already served, were deep fried potato cakes.

    Nasi Campur
    Right off the strainer, into my mouth!

    She handed me one.

    Literally, right out of the oil and straight from the strainer.

    I gladly accepted.

    Nasi campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Golden nuggets just waiting to be served to hungry customers

    They were about the size of eggs, mashed potatoes mixed with a vibrant selection of spices, nicely salted, and finally deep fried to a crisp on the outside.

    Malaysian style deep fried potato
    Malaysian style deep fried potato

    Despite being a little on the greasy side, it was absolutely mouthwatering delicious.

    Even though nasi campur may be as normal as Malaysian food can get, the home cooked dishes, the diversity of ingredients, and the vibrant flavors, make it always a winning meal!

    29 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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    • Jeff Stevens

      6 months ago

      The various kinds of dishes you mentioned, 80 and counting, really surprised me. That sounds like a great deal for foodie like me. Will definitely visit this place!

    • Vishal Kaushik

      1 year ago

      Wow…Nice.

    • vishal

      2 years ago

      Keep it up man

    • Sakeena

      6 years ago

      I think the one called Ikan Bakar something has OVER 80 dishes of nasi campur to choose from! I wanted to try all but ended up eating the same fav. food everytime. LOL!

    • Catherine

      8 years ago

      Where is this located? I have to visit it in March !!!

      • Mark Wiens

        8 years ago

        Hey Catherine, this is located in Kapmung Baru. Enjoy!

    • Delima

      8 years ago

      Hi Mark, the Malaysian style deep fried potato or Golden nuggets called as “Begedil” in Malaysia. You sholud try “soup gearbox” and Mentarang Bakar, its really delicious.

    • paul | walkflypinoy

      9 years ago

      80 different dishes?! That’s torture! Haha. We (Filipinos) have a similar jackfruit curry. One of my favorites. Then again, anything with coconut milk is my favorite. Haha. Delicious post!

    • Jeff

      9 years ago

      i have had Nasi Lemak in Kampung Baru, and it was the best I’ve ever had. I’m sure that Nasi Campur will be even more delightful where you will be spoilt for choice.

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        Hey Jeff, what place did you have the nasi lemak at? Was it Antarabangsa? Here are the two places I had awesome nasi lemak last time in KL: http://www.sfounderground.com/2012/10/nasi-lemak-malaysia/

      • Jeff

        9 years ago

        Hi Mark,

        I can’t remember the store’s name since it was quite a few years back. However, I do remember that the nasi lemak was awesome! Also remembered that there was a decent queue and long dining tables.

        Looking at your nasi lemak photos caused me to salivate

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        Ok, cool! Next time I’m back in KL will look for that place too.

    • sully86

      9 years ago

      mark: that is disgustingly beautiful to look at

    • Vincent C

      9 years ago

      Frankly speaking, after being in existence for 40 years in Malaysia, I haven’t gone through all the 80+ dishes (not counting those cooked in rural Malaysia kampung). I shall await your final deciphering of all the dishes in Southeast Asia. Keep it coming!

    • Dan

      9 years ago

      Fell in love with Malaysian food after my trip this past summer. Can’t get enough!!

      When I was in Kampung Baru though, everything seemed very… closed. I was pretty disappointed and thought maybe I was mislead by the information I read online.

      Now this post makes me: 1) realize how wrong I was, 2) angry that such deliciousness was withheld from me and 3) want to go back!

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        Hey Dan, glad you also fell in love with Malaysian food. Hmm, sorry things looked closed when you went. Every time I’m in KL I normally head to Kampung Baru during lunch and everything is open. Also restaurants are open during the evening. Check it out again next time!

    • karima

      9 years ago

      agree with kaboom….nasi kandar is especially great at Penang. My perfect nasi campur selection would be something red, something yellow and something green. And don’t forget the sambal if you like it spicy ??

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        Hey Karima, I can’t wait to visit Penang and eat soon! I love Malaysian sambal!

    • kaboom

      9 years ago

      should try nasi kandar. same concept, more flavour, much more expensive!! haha. i miss malaysian food!!!.

    • Turkey’s For Life

      9 years ago

      Mark, every photo (apart from your non-food photos that is) looks like the most flavoursome thing we will ever eat. I would have just been right in my element working my way through all of this! Can’t believe the ladies were still cooking more.
      Julia.

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        Thanks a lot Julia, I was impressed by the amount of dishes as well!

    • [email protected]

      9 years ago

      What a spread! Great concept with the one plate, costs less than all-you-can-eat but more importantly it’s much healthier to eat a normal sized meal than to lose control (like I do in those situations) and overeat. That way you don’t end up feeling beyond full, causing the need for extra rest later in the day.

      • Mark Wiens

        9 years ago

        I really agree Mike. I tend to go way overboard when it comes to buffets, so just having a single plate (but piled high) is good for me!

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