Intoxicating yourself with marijuana will get you in trouble – ‘nasi ganja’ won’t.
The day I went to this coffee shop as a little kid, I vividly remember that I refused to eat ‘nasi ganja’ because I thought it contained a legit ‘ganja’ or marijuana. It could be just me being so innocent or – maybe – too dumb to realise?
Anyway, Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah or widely well-known as ‘nasi ganja’ is definitely a must-eat whenever you’re in Ipoh. Operating at a Chinese-owned coffee shop named Yong Suan, ‘nasi ganja’ is probably the most notable nasi kandar in town. The term ‘nasi ganja’ came about when the die-hard-fans claim the rice is super addictive. Some may also claim that after eating the rice, you will get sleepy and hence, the name. Well, for me, any nasi kandar I eat will surely get me sleepy.
It is said that people will start flocking the coffee shop and lining up a long queue at about 10 a.m – and it is true. My friend and I popped by 9.50 a.m and immediately after we got our table, the crowd started to line up. However, fret not! The line is for those who wish to have their nasi kandar takeaway. If you’re dining in, you don’t have to line up, just quickly settle down and the friendly ‘anne’ (brother) will come right away.
So, what’s with the hype about this ‘nasi ganja’?
We ordered the signature plate of ‘nasi ganja’ which came with ayam merah (chicken marinated with spices, fried and coated with thick curry gravy), salted egg, okra and sliced cucumbers topped with their special chutney and flavourful ‘kuah banjir’ curries. Simply add other dishes like fish or squid curry if you fancy them.
What sets ‘nasi ganja’ apart from nasi kandar in Penang is that it has more lemak (creamy) and definitely spicier, so get a glass of iced water ready. The portion is satisfyingly big (I can attest to that – I have big appetite). The chicken is oomph-ly scrumptious – complimented with the soft and fluffy rice. The curry gravy that coated the chicken, however, is clearly the wow factor here – savoury and flavoursome. All these – mixed with smashed salted egg and a pinch of chutney – is definitely going to satisfy your craving for delectable, authentic nasi kandar.
After tasting it for the first time since my last one 10 years ago, I cannot emphasise more on how you MUST have this legendary ‘nasi ganja’ the next time you come to Ipoh. Trust me, you will regret it if you don’t.
Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah (Nasi Ganja)
2, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak.
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