Nasi lemak is a dish sold in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Southern Thailand. In Kuala Lumpur, it is called the national dish of Malaysia. The version sold in the east coast of Malaysia, Terengganu and Kelantan is called Nasi Dagang although both dishes can usually be found sold side by side for breakfast. There is a similar dish in Indonesia called nasi uduk.
With roots in Malay culture, its name is a Malay word that literally means 'rice in cream'. The name is derived from the cooking process whereby rice is soaked in coconut cream and then the mixture steamed. Sometimes knotted pandan leaves (screwpine) are thrown into the rice while steaming to give it more fragrance. Spices such as ginger (common in Malay cuisine) and occasionally herbs like lemon grass may be added for additional fragrance.
Traditionally, this comes as a platter with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, stir fried water convolvulus (kangkong), hard boiled egg, pickled vegetables (achar) and hot spicy sauce (sambal). Nasi lemak can also come with any other accompaniments such as chicken, cuttlefish, cockle, beef curry (beef stewed in coconut milk and spices) or paru (beef lungs). Traditionally most of these accompaniments are spicy in nature.