One would typically associate Malay food with Nasi Lemak, Mee Rebus, Nasi Padang etc.
However growing up as a Malay in Singapore, most of us would probably have never heard of this Malay dish called Nasi Beringin.
This Malay dish was once sold in Singapore for a short period of time in the 1950s but gradually disappeared from the local Malay food scene.
Chef Fahmi Rahaman decided to revive this long lost Malay dish that was once served to the Johor Royalties in the late 1890s.
Reviving A Long Lost Dish
Introduced in the late 1890s, Nasi Beringin was first popularised within the compounds of the Johor Royalties. Sultan Sir Ibrahim, then the 2nd Sultan of Johor in the modern era, regularly had this dish in his feasts especially when guests were invited to dine in the palace.
Nasi Beringin, was also called the “Nasi Bering Harum” (Fragrant Beringin Rice), as the scent from the dish never fails to invigorate one’s palate.
Owner of Fifty50 Empire, Fahmi Rahaman who was an ex Assistant Head Chef with Timbre Group recently set up stall at Yishun Park Hawker Centre together with his partner, Khairul Afnan selling Nasi Beringin.
Nasi Beringin is served with traditional favourites such as the Ayam Kurma, Rendang, and Achar which combines all the sweet, sour, spicy and savoury elements into a harmonious unity within a plate.
At Fifty50 Empire, you are given a wide range of meat to choose from – Fried Chicken Wing (Signature), Fried Fish, Beef Rendang, Tiger Prawn, Fried Squid which comes in various portion size (lite, double, triple).
They also provide three different sauces – rendang, kurma and masak merah. The sauces are really unique as they were taught to him by his mother.
If you’re wondering how Nasi Beringin tastes like, its basically a cross between Nasi Lemak and Nasi Briyani. Fahmi uses short grain basmati rice that is cooked with a variety of spices and oil resulting in rice that’s temptingly fragrant. Delicate hints of cardamom, cloves, star anise and fenugreek can be discerned in the rice.
The prawns were definitely the star of the entIre dish. The prawns were fresh and battered to give it a slight crunch. We recommend pairing the Prawns with Masak Merah Sauce.
The chicken wing was as impressive as the prawns. Instead of coating the chicken in a thick batter, the wings are lightly coated with flour and his blend of spices before frying. This makes a lot of difference to the chicken as the batter won’t soak up the oil and this also keeps it crispy.
If you’re looking for a traditional way of eating Nasi Beringin, we highly recommend pairing the Chicken with Kurma Sauce which is made from coriander, cumin, coconut, curry and chili.
The Beef Rendang is another favourite of Fahmi’s. The beef was tender and tore apart easily. I also liked the fact that the rendang was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
Each plate of Nasi Beringin comes with sambal belacan for the extra kick, achar to cut the acidity of the dish as well as a crispy piece of papadum.
As compared to Malay dishes such as Nasi Lemak and Nasi Padang which can be pretty heavy as a lunch option, the Nasi Beringin did not leave me with a food coma.
If you’re ever in Yishun, and looking for a change from your typical Malay fare, you know where to go for a good meal.
Fifty50 Empire Nasi Beringin
Address: 51 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore, 768867
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm daily. Closed for Friday Prayers from 1pm- 2pm
(Header Image Source: Discover SG)