Nasi Lalapan

nasi lalapan

Nasi Lalapan is an Indonesian dish that’s very popular in Miri. I went to Muara Restaurant just now based on Jeanie’s recommendation to check out this unique incarnation of Indonesian cuisine. Muara Restaurant is self-dubbed “The Founder of Lalapan” – very lofty claims indeed. smirk

muara restauran nasi lalapan

This is the original restaurant at Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre. There’s another newer establishment in Miri but the first Muara Restaurant is located at a much more appealing location – it’s right beside the river!

nasi lalapan river

There is a very nice breeze and you can see the bustling activity of the river right from the vantage of your dining table.

muara restaurant

Muara Restaurant is supposed to serve the best nasi lalapan in Miri and coming from Jeanie (who doesn’t like spicy food) it was intriguing enough for me to check it out.

nasi lalapan crowd

We went there well past lunch hour (it was around 3 pm) and there were still heaps of diners eating nasi lalapan – a great testament to its popularity.

nasi lalapan tofu

Nasi Lalapan is basically a dish of vegetables, tofu and meat arranged around a unique sambal based sauce. You can choose the meat that goes with your nasi lalapan – there’s everything from chicken to prawn. The rice is served separately on a plate and there’s also a bowl of soup to go with your meal.

nasi lalapan stuff

Jeanie had the Nasi Lalapan Empal (beef) which costs RM 8. Here’s a top view of what nasi lalapan is all about – starting from the 12′ o clock position, there’s tempeh (a soy product which tastes like nuts), a piece of deep fried tofu, the meat (in this case, beef), some greens (spinach if I’m not mistaken), cucumber slices, uncooked long beans (called ulam in Malay), a lime, and some cabbage.


You start eating nasi lalapan by squeezing the lime into the sambal based sauce and mixing it up. The sauce is the cornerstone of lalapan and it tastes great – spicy, with visible flakes of chilli and a tangy finish.

dip vegetables

The vegetables can be picked apart using your fingers and dipped into the sauce. I saw people eating it this way so I emulated them.

eat veggies

It tastes much better when you use your hands to eat. Primal. 😀

nasi lalapan beef

I really liked the beef in Jeanie’s Nasi Lalapan Empal – it’s smoked beef and tastes delicious, with a lingering sweet aftertaste.

huge catfish

I chose Nasi Lalapan Keli (RM 10) for my late lunch. Ikan keli is catfish and I was surprised when the plate of nasi lalapan came out – the fish is humongous! I forgot to use something as a reference point so you can’t appreciate the sheer size of it, but trust me, it’s gigantic!

nasi lalapan catfish head

It’s deep fried to perfection. The skin is crunchy and the flesh is tasty – delectable! The presentation is awesome too! They must have a really huge wok to be able to fry that mutant catfish wholesale. I particularly liked the precision in which they sliced the fish so that you can easily use a fork to spear a segment of the fish.

nasi lalapan chicken

We also ordered a chicken drumstick – you can order the meat in the nasi lalapan variants separately. I saw a lot of people eating the chicken nasi lalapan and wanted to try it. Unfortunately, it’s nothing to write home about – I preferred my catfish and Jeanie’s smoked beef tastes much better.

nasi lalapan meal

Muara Restaurant has really good nasi lalapan. You can determine the authenticity of the food based on how many Indonesians visit the joint and the spicy tang of the sambal goes very well with the vegetables and meat. The dishes range from RM 8 – RM 15 depending on what you choose as your meat and the entire meal just set us back RM 21.80.

nasi lalapan us

I only realized that they forgot to charge us for the chicken when I looked at the receipt. 😡

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31 thoughts on “Nasi Lalapan”

  1. HB, my friends from Indonesian recommend a few restaurants in San Francisco that also have Nasi Lalapan. I will head to one of them to get this dish now and later make it at home too.

    • Hello Erica! 🙂

      Sounds good, I had a lot of Indonesian food with their iconic Teh Botol when I was in Melbourne too. Heh!

    • Haha! They have a different name for chap fan – you don’t get to choose the stuff in nasi lalapan, only the meat. 🙂

    • I’ve had nasi penyet and I believe the two are different. Nasi lalapan is Javananese cuisine and often described as a salad more than anything, with one meat inside. The chicken we ordered wasn’t cooked and flattened penyet style either.

      Interesting thought though…it might be from different parts of Indonesia – gotta ask more about this nasi lalapan. 🙂

    • Hello Charlene! 😀

      Oh yeah, it’s called tempeh. It contains beans then, not nuts. My bad. Thanks for the correction! 🙂

      It tastes very nutty though. 😀

  2. Ooooo….I’d love that! I love ulams… Yum! Yum! You’re in Miri now, bud? Coming back to Sibu? Give me a tinkle – we go one place that has great nasi ayam penyet!

    • Yeah, I’m in Miri now bro! 😀

      I’ll be staying here for a bit…don’t think I’ll be heading back to Sibu this trip though.

      Next time I’m in Sibu, I’ll give you a buzz bro! 😀

  3. Hi. Found your URL from a newspaper. Did you give them a permission to publish your photo? Come & have a look at my blog on my issue. I’m going to take action soon, wanna join?

    • Hello Roz!

      Nope, I wasn’t contacted for permission to use or publish that photo. I think it’s becoming quite a common thing for traditional media to do that. It’s happened to me A LOT of times before. I’ll email you.

    • Yup, that’s right, catfish are generally bottom feeders. Not all though, but most. 😀

      …but the same goes for clams (si ham) and I don’t mind eating that too. Heh!

      Catfish is pretty good as a fish, it’s not very bony, has a nice fleshy body and it’s cheap. 🙂

  4. Looks good! Will try it when I head down to Miri in 2 days time! By the way, if the fish is steamed, it is awesome! They have it in your hometown I think.

    • Hello Anna! You heading down to Miri? I’ll be here until the end of the month. 😀

      Having an extended stay here with my girlfriend.

      This nasi lalapan is seriously worth a try.

      Give me a buzz if you can’t find the place. 🙂

      Hmm…catfish is not a very popular option as a steamed fish in Sibu, at least not amongst the people I know. However, some people do eat it. 😀

    • Heh! Yeah, I love catfish coz it looks really cool. It has “whiskers” but the one in the photo has been trimmed off prior to frying coz it’s not edible.

      I do like catfish though, very versatile fish and cheap to boot. 🙂

    • Yeah the food is pretty good, never had nasi lalapan before and I’m craving for it again. 🙂

      I hear there’s a few places around here but this one is generally considered the best.

      I’ll be here for a bit so I still have heaps of time to check the others out. 😀

    • Heh! I seriously doubt that will happen again. 🙂

      I wore it on a Sunday afternoon and it was an add on so maybe that’s why it wasn’t tabulated in the total bill.

  5. Oh mah home town! Havent tried Muara Restoran before. They just opened the place the last time I went back. Gonna try the nasi lalapan for sure. 😉

    • Yeah, the nasi lalapan is really good. Apparently quite a hit with the Mirians. 😀

      I like Miri, it’s a nice place, small town and quite peaceful, kinda like Sibu but a bit bigger.

  6. They don’t serve this in Sarikei/Bintangor/Sibu i guess. I looked for it for years. In our cafe, they only serve nasi ayam penyet, mau sama stail dengan lalapan ayam. Can’t wait to go back Miri 🙂


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