Nasi lemuni is a popular native Malay dish where the herbal rice is cooked with the juice from the lemuni plant, which lends the dish a slightly bitter-ish flavour. Malays traditionally serve nasi lemuni as a confinement food to women on post-natal care, and the leaves are also believed to have blood cleansing properties.
The best nasi lemuni I’d tried in Penang is from Sari Rasa stall at the Astaka Taman Tun Sardon in Bukit Gelugor (near Kampung Kastam), a mainly Malay/Muslim neighbourhood.
The Astaka (foodcourt) does brisk business in the mornings when the wet market next door is at its busiest. Sari Rasa operates from around 8am onwards and its hot, freshly-cooked dishes continue to be dished out throughout the morning.
Tell the lady manning the stall you’d like the “nasi lemuni” (there are other options there like the ubiquitous “nasi lemak” and “nasi tomato”) and she’ll dish out a serving of the rice for you on a large dinner plate. You then pick out your side dishes from the trays of freshly-cooked food at the counter yourself, before handing your loaded plate back for her to tally the cost of your breakfast selection.
I chose “daging masak kicap” (soy-braised beef), “sayur dalca campur hati ayam” (vegetable-dhal curry with chicken livers), “paceri” ( and a fried egg - it all came up to just RM6 or US$1.40.
Astaka Taman Tun Sardon
Taman Tun Sardon, 11700 Gelugor
Opening hours: 7.30am to 12.30pm daily.