Overwhelming love for nasi lemak

Truly Malaysians: TM Convention Centre was packed with people last Sunday for the I Eat Nasi Lemak event.

Response to 'I Eat Nasi Lemak' event proves choice of Malaysians' favourite food. So vote for the best nasi lemak in The Star People's Food Awards!

THE phrase Bawa Bertenang dan Makan Nasi Lemak (Keep Calm and Eat Nasi Lemak) was the mantra that everyone stood by during last Sunday’s “I Eat Nasi Lemak” event, organised by Friedchillies.com.

The TM Convention Centre was packed to the brim with people who arrived as early as 9.30am, jostling to get their nasi lemak fix for the day.

This was the second time that “I Eat Nasi Lemak” was held, where 20 Nasi Lemak Heroes came under one roof to treat their fans.

Five of those sellers came from Penang, Kedah and Negri Sembilan while the rest comprised sought-after KL vendors, such as Nasi Lemak Tanglin, Nasi Lemak Alor Corner, Nasi Lemak Ujang and Nasi Lemak Bus Stop a.k.a Kak Hani, to name a few.

After last year’s overwhelming response, FriedChillies doubled the size of the hall and extended event hours from 10am to 5pm.

There was even an al-fresco area for vendors to do deep-frying and steam their rice on site.

Highlights this year included nasi lemak ikan keli and a nasi lemak kukus goreng. There was also a vegetarian nasi lemak vendor from Kepong (Ru Yi Nasi Lemak) and a fully organic one — Greenlicious.

Other fun activities included the Ultimate Nasi Lemak Eating Championships (UNLC) and a ‘Bungkus’ Challenge against radio announcers from Suria FM.

FriedChillies CEO Mohd Adly Rizal said the 20 Nasi Lemak heroes were selected from a long list of vendors and finalised after a two-month selection process.

“They were chosen from the best of the best and each of them have something special or unique that elevated the dish,” he said, adding that he estimated about 18,000 nasi lemak lovers to have attended the event.

“After the event last year, we wanted people to come back with a bigger appreciation of the craft of nasi lemak, its tradition and also its innovation, that’s why we also classed them under five different categories,” he added.

The categories were Outstation, Lauk Power, Ayam Goreng Best, Unique and Institutions.

Numerous packets of freshly packed nasi lemak up for grabs at the I Eat Nasi Lemak event organised by FriedChillies

As with last year, the concept was "Hari Kantin" where visitors purchased coupons and exchanged it for nasi lemak and various gravy as well as drinks.

Each coupon was in RM2 denominations and came in booklets worth RM10 (RM2 x 5 coupons).

To add to the excitement, this year the first Ultimate Nasi Lemak Championships was held where contestants competed for the UNLC Belt.

There was a Diva Division for ladies and a Heavyweight Division for men.

This unique eating competition pitted the best and fastest nasi lemak eaters done in a mock-wrestling style.

As for the Bungkus Challenge, Suria FM DJs Bob Ringgo and Reza came on board and challenged their fans to a 1-on-1 nasi lemak wrapping contest.

Some nasi lemak fans came all the way from Singapore just for the event.

Public relations consultant Dean Johari said he hopped on the 7am flight from Changi airport and left the same day at 7pm.

“At first I thought I wouldn’t have made it but luckily I found cheap tickets online,” he said.

“I Eat Nasi Lemak is a great event and it’s good to see the captains of the industry do Malaysia a favour. Food always unites people.”

As for Bartosz Kluczny from Poland and Florian Ludwig from Germany, they found the event listing online and decided to attend a day after they arrived in Malaysia.

“We love it. The atmosphere is enjoyable and the food is excellent. In Europe, food festivals are different...it’s a bit subdued. This I Eat Nasi Lemak event is vibrant and exciting,” said Ludwig.

From Nov 1 to 10, be sure to nominate your favourite nasi lemak stall/eatery under The Star People’s Food Awards via Metro Online Broadcast (MOB) on mob.com.my.

Those who nominate, vote or successfully share a link stand to win attractive prizes such as hotel stays and dining vouchers at top-rated establishments.

Nominations are open for the first 10 days of the month, followed by voting from Nov 15 until the end of the month.

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