Nasi Campur – The Most Flavorful Buffet You’ll Ever Eat

By Mark Wiens 7 Comments
Nasi Campur
Nasi Campur – Heavenly Mixed Rice

Nasi Campur is normal, everyday Malaysian food.

Yet even though it may be common and nothing out of the ordinary, somehow a meal of nasi campur is one of the most satisfying meals I can think of… in the world.

Ever since my first experience with nasi campur in Indonesia, I’ve been an addict.

Perhaps because it’s often setup as a buffet – a self service meal where you’re handed a plate of rice and it’s up to you to navigate the buffet line and pile on whatever looks most tempting.

But unlike a buffet, nasi campur is normally just a single plate meal deal.

Of course, one could pay for an extra plate of food, but without paying extra you can’t just keep returning to the buffet.

This is a good thing.

I know if nasi campur in Malaysia was a one-price-all-you-can-eat kind of thing, I would hardly be able to control myself.

Just one plate, piled high, is perfect.

Nasi Campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nasi Campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This visit to Kuala Lumpur, with more time than the last 12 hour binge visit, I found myself drawn time and time again to Kampung Baru, the local Malay, lesser developed area of town.

It happens to be a neighborhood gastronomical paradise and the food is pure home style cooking.

Nasi lemak, nasi campur, ikan bakar grilled fish, roti flatbread canai, versions of Malaysian laksa and other delicious Malaysian foods are in large supply throughout Kampung Baru.

Lina Sea Food, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lina Sea Food, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Partly covered by the extended patio of their home, partly sprawled into their backyard and sheltered by makeshift tarps, this nasi campur stall, known as Lina Sea Food, included a few of the positive attribues of any good street stall.

Over 80 buffet style nasi campur dishes to choose from!
Over 80 buffet style nasi campur dishes to choose from!

My jaw dropped as I peeked over the buffet line.

There was a sea of fully prepared, massively tasty Malaysian dishes, set up on about ten fold-up tables in the shape of an “L.”

I’ve seen some nasi campur stalls and Thai khao gaeng stalls, but this display of cuisine was no short of awe inspiring.

Over 80 different dishes!

YES, I felt the urge to count – and the ladies were still cooking more in the kitchen!

Malaysian nasi campur
Customers eager for lunch

It was no easy decision.

Delicious Malaysian food
Delicious Malaysian food

It took a little browsing, but finally I had a plate I was proud of.

Nasi Campur
Tempeh soybean cakes and a mix of dishes

A thick piece of fish curry, some stir fried veggies, seared purple eggplant in sambal chili sauce and the ever so delightful young jackfruit curry.

I’m a jackfruit curry enthusiast. The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lankan food all have unique and wonderfully tasting versions of jackfruit curry.

Topped with a few scoops of chili fried tempeh, a traditional soybean crunchy fritter, I was quite happy with my selection.

Malaysian nasi campur

It was marvelous.

The kitchen at Lina Sea Food
The kitchen at Lina Sea Food

The smiling ladies at the restaurant saw my enthusiasm for their cuisine and invited me back to the kitchen.

This is where the magical cooking happened.

Malaysian food
1 of about 6 ladies that handled the kitchen

Next on the menu, about to be added to the still growing 80 plus dishes already served, were deep fried potato cakes.

Nasi Campur
Right off the strainer, into my mouth!

She handed me one.

Literally, right out of the oil and straight from the strainer.

I gladly accepted.

Nasi campur in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Golden nuggets just waiting to be served to hungry customers

They were about the size of eggs, mashed potatoes mixed with a vibrant selection of spices, nicely salted, and finally deep fried to a crisp on the outside.

Malaysian style deep fried potato
Malaysian style deep fried potato

Despite being a little on the greasy side, it was absolutely mouthwatering delicious.

Even though nasi campur may be as normal as Malaysian food can get, the home cooked dishes, the diversity of ingredients, and the vibrant flavors, make it always a winning meal!