15 Types of Nasi Goreng in Malaysia You Must Try
Fried Rice or Nasi Goreng in Malaysia is one of the most popular dishes that travellers love to order.
Every Asian country has its version, but Malaysia has more fried rice variations than you can think possible.
The original Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian stir-fried rice dish.
Nasi Goreng is a terrific Malaysian side dish option.
You can order this to replace white rice for a little something different that packs a bit of a flavour punch!
The versatile one-plate meal is a hot meal that you will enjoy for lunch, dinner, or supper.
You will find the different styles — from spicy to tomato-based, Thai, fusion, and even Nasi Goreng U.S.A. — to try.
Origins of Fried Rice or Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
We believe fried Rice to have originated from Yangzhou, China, where it was first introduced during the Sui Dynasty.
In Chinese culture, fried rice is what you make when you have leftover cooked rice or day old rice from last night’s dinner.
The original Yangzhou fried rice used cold leftover rice cooked at least a day in advance.
Today, you can order a Yangzhou Fried Rice in Chinese restaurants.
The Yangzhou Fried Rice contains straightforward ingredients in the Chinese kitchen – green peas, Chinese waxed sausages, shrimps, and an egg with chicken stock and light soy sauce.
The results are a steaming plate of white rice made fragrant by the addition of the ingredients.
This simple fried rice dish has been adopted by other cultures in Malaysia and cooked in so many ways.
Is Nasi Goreng unhealthy?
A typical Nasi Goreng has most of its calories coming from fats and carbs so it has a high potential for poor weight management.
Nasi Goreng in Malaysia is a wholesome dish.
Although Fried Rice can be easily prepared at home, it is a popular order at hawker stalls, coffee shops, and restaurants.
Whenever I have foreign friends in town, I would take them to local restaurants and order one or two of the Nasi Goreng choices.
One of the most versatile dishes, Nasi Goreng, can be eaten as a meal on its own as part of a Malaysian buffet.
What is the difference between Nasi Goreng and Fried Rice?
Nasi Goreng’s literal translation is “Fried Rice” in Malaysia.
The thing that distinguishes it from other Fried Rice dishes is the sauce.
In Indonesia, it is made with Kicap Manis, a sweet soy sauce that stains the rice dark brown and caramelizes the rice when it cooks.
You can check out Jamie Oliver’s version of Fried Rice here.
What is Nasi Goreng?
The literal translation of Nasi Goreng is “fried rice” in Malaysian,
Nasi Goreng is a carb-laden meal mainly white rice with just a little bit of meat and a little bit of onion for the vegetables.
How to serve Nasi Goreng?
Nasi Goreng is traditionally served with a sunny side up egg and a side of fresh raw cucumber and tomato to make it a complete meal.
Both these side options are atypical in Malaysia to add protein and vegetables.
Nasi Goreng is also a terrific Malaysian side dish option.
You will want to try this in place of plain white rice.
How many carbs are in Nasi Goreng?
According to myfitnesspal, the Malaysian Nasi Goreng has a whopping 638 calories per 330g serve.
What is good rice for fried rice?
Cooked fragrant Jasmine rice produces fluffy, sturdy grains that don’t clump or fall apart when fried.
Short grain rice like sushi rice or glutinous rice is softer and tends to stick together – this type of rice cant be used for Nasi Goreng.
Types of Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
Most of the menu in Malay warungs is in Malay without English translation or illustrations.
So, if you’re travelling to Malaysia for the first time, this will help you decide what to order.
Here are the most common types of fried rice in Malaysia, with photos. I will add on more types as I try the dish when I travel around Malaysia.
You will be able to impress your Malaysian friends and the restaurant staff with your outstanding knowledge of Nasi Goreng when you place an order.
Chinese Style Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
1. Nasi Goreng Biasa (Normal Fried Rice)
Stir Fry Nasi Goreng Biasa is the purest rice fried with some soy sauce to add brown colour and flavour.
Most versions don’t include eggs or chilli and are served for breakfast.
2. Nasi Goreng Cina (Yong Chow Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Cina cooked with scrambled eggs, frozen mixed veggies (green peas, diced carrot, and sweet corn) is the least spicy version without any sauce other than a sesame oil dash.
If you’re averse to spicy food, this should be your safest choice.
You can order this for children.
Those craving for some flavour may request chilli and soy sauce served on the side.
3. Nasi Goreng Ladna
Nasi Goreng Ladna is fried rice served with a side of seafood and vegetables (usually cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, and tomato).
The stir fry style gooey brown gravy is made of garlic, oyster sauce and thickened with cornstarch.
Sometimes it is also poured on top of the rice.
The Chinese version is called Lam Pui (Fried Gravy Rice) or Chinese Style White Rice With Nutritious Gravy – Mui Fan, aka Lam Fan (Cantonese).
If you like to eat your rice wet or swimming in gravy, you will enjoy this in a minute.
Mamak Style Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
4. Nasi Goreng Mamak (Mamak Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Mamak almost always tastes of curry.
A spicy version contains tofu, fish cakes, and most importantly, Maggi instant-noodle curry powder, chilli paste and sometimes topped with a fried egg.
Malay Style Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
One of the recent twists is the Malay version of Nasi Lemak Goreng made with fried coconut milk infused rice.
The Nasi Lemak Goreng is made with a spicy sambal sauce, served with Fried Chicken and topped with Cucumbers and soft boil egg – certainly makes for an interesting experience.
5. Nasi Goreng Kampung (Village Style Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Kampung is cooked with soy sauce, bird’s eye chilli (very tiny but spicy), Kangkong (Water spinach), blended shrimp paste, and anchovies a dash of spiciness from chillies.
Unlike other types of nasi goreng, this one does not contain eggs.
6. Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin (Salted Fish Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin is fried with pungent Salted Fish.
Malaysians have an affinity for strong-smelling food and love ingredients like Belacan, Prawn Paste, Budu, and our national fruit — the infamous durian.
7. Nasi Goreng U.S.A.
Nasi Goreng U.S.A. doesn’t have any American influence.
The U.S.A. originally meant for ‘Udang’ (Prawn), ‘Sotong’ (Squid), and ‘Ayam’ (Chicken).
For some reason, this dish has evolved into something different from its name.
Now, if you order Nasi Goreng U.S.A., you will have a choice of two types of meat: beef or chicken.
The fried rice will be cooked in red sauce, very spicy Beef Gravy served with a sunny-side-up fried egg and spring onions.
8. Nasi Goreng Pattaya
Nasi goreng Pattaya is plain fried rice wrapped in a thin omelette and drizzled with chilli sauce and is not a Thai dish.
Thai Style Nasi Goreng in Malaysia
The Thai influence has a significant impact on Malaysian food.
These influences extend from the combinations of spices used in the Nasi Goreng.
9. Nasi Goreng Paprik (Padprik Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Paprik originates from Thailand. The word ‘paprik’ is a combination of two Thai words: ‘pad’ (fried), and ‘prik’ (chilli).
Nasi Goreng Paprik is served with a side of vegetables and chicken, cooked in sauteed chilli paste and fish sauce.
10. Nasi Goreng Tom Yam (Tom Yam Fried Rice) Thai Influence
Nasi Goreng Tom Yam is fried with Thai Tom Yam paste, lemongrass, fish sauce, and lime to give it that distinct Thai flavour.
Nasi Goreng Tom Yam contains seafood.
11. Nasi Goreng Nanas (Pineapple Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Nanas has the lovely flavour of pineapple, with a slight curry flavour.
The tangy and sweet pineapple with the spices added gives a refreshing twist to an ordinary fried rice dish.
Most Thai restaurants in Malaysia serve this Thai style fried rice in a pineapple bowl.
Unique Fried Rice
12. Nasi Lemak Goreng (Nasi Lemak Fried Rice)
Instead of plain white rice, fragrant Nasi Lemak is fried with Sambal Belacan (shrimp paste), Anchovies, julienned Cabbage, and topped with a sunny-side-up egg.
Chinese Style Fried Rice
13. Nasi Goreng Belacan (Belacan Fried Rice)
The flavour in this easy Malaysian fried rice dish comes from two ingredients – Dried Shrimp and Belacan (Shrimp Block).
14. Nasi Goreng Sambal Tumis (Sambal Fried Rice)
Nasi Goreng Sambal Tumis’ chief ingredients are the Sambal Paste, Belacan, and pounded Red Chillies, Shallots, Garlic with Frozen Veggies, Mackerel, and Eggs.
Nasi Goreng Sambal Tumis is best paired with fish, specifically oily fish like Mackerel.
15. Nasi Goreng Nyonya (Nyonya Fried Rice)
Easy Nasi Goreng Nyonya is a favourite of the Peranakan household.
It contains prawns, dried prawns (rehydrated and pounded), shallots, Sambal Belachan (shrimp paste), Eggs, and shallots.
There are very few places that sell this dish, and it is something the Baba Nyonya makes at home as comfort food.
Instead of a fried egg, you will get scrambled eggs infused in the fried rice.
Nasi Goreng in Malaysia in Alphabetical order includes:
- Nasi Goreng Ayam (Fried Rice served with crispy fried chicken with sweet chilli sauce)
- Nasi Goreng Belacan (fried with leftover Sambal Belacan and fish or other meats)
- Nasi Goreng Black pepper (Fried Rice with chicken or beef in black pepper sauce)
- Nasi Goreng Cendawan (Fried Rice cooked with mushrooms)
- Nasi Goreng Cili Api/Masak Pedas (spicy Fried Rice served with chicken/beef)
- Nasi Goreng Dabai (a Sarawak speciality Fried Rice with a seasonal native fruit called ‘buah dabai’).
- Nasi Goreng Daging/Kambing (Fried Rice with beef or mutton)
- Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin (fried with salted fish)
- Nasi Goreng Kampung (fried with anchovies/leftover fried fish, kangkong)
- Nasi Goreng Kerabu (Fried Rice with local salads)
- Nasi Goreng Kunyit (Fried Rice served with turmeric and meat with onions, long beans and carrots)
- Nasi Goreng Kari (Fried Rice cooked with curry)
- Nasi Goreng Ladna (Fried Rice cooked with seafood and vegetables in white gravy)
- Nasi Goreng Masak Merah (Fried Rice with chicken or beef in chilli gravy)
- Nasi Goreng Mamak (Indian Muslim style Nasi Goreng)
- Nasi Goreng Nenas (Fried Rice cooked with Pineapples)
- Nasi Goreng Paprik (Fried Rice served with Paprik dish, usually chicken)
- Nasi Goreng Pattaya (Fried Rice in an Omelette envelope, sometimes includes chicken)
- Nasi Goreng Petai (Fried Rice cooked with Parkia speciosa)
- Nasi Goreng Seafood (Fried Rice with Prawn, Calamari slices and Crab sticks)
- Nasi Goreng Sotong (Fried Rice cooked with Calamari)
- Nasi Goreng Telur (Fried Rice served with Fried Eggs)
- Nasi Goreng Tom yam (Fried Rice cooked in Tom yam paste)
- Nasi Goreng Udang (Fried Rice cooked with Prawn)
- Nasi Goreng USA (Fried Rice with three ingredients Udang (Prawn) Sotong (Squid) and Ayam (Chicken)
- Nasi Goreng Amerika (Fried Rice with Stir-Fried Chili Sauce and a Fried Egg)
- Nasi Lemak Goreng (Fried Rice with Nasi Lemak, Spicy Sambal Sauce served with Soft Boiled Egg and Fried Chicken)
Now that you are an expert on Malaysian nasi goreng, go ahead and order yourself one. But where can you find them?
Just go to any Malay restaurant. Some Mamak restaurants also serve Malay food.
The nasi goreng dishes are usually only available in the evening though – from 6 pm onwards.
If you want to make fried rice remember to start with a low fire using medium heat – leave the open flames shooting up from the pans to restaurant chefs!
Let me know your favourite Nasi Goreng in Malaysia or which you want to try cooking at home.
I’ll link you to some perfect Nasi Goreng recipes!