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It’s Chinese New Year and, by coincidence, we had for breakfast what’s usually referred to in Malaysia as nasi goreng Cina (Chinese Fried Rice).

Malaysian fried rice comes in so many varieties, such as:

  • nasi goreng kampung (village-style fried rice), which is pretty spicy and comes with cucumber slices and keropok ( fish crackers), sometimes with one or two skewers of satay (barbequed chicken or beef, served with peanut sauce)
  • nasi goreng Pattaya, which looks like a huge omelette except that it’s filled with fried rice
  • nasi goreng ikan masin (fried rice with salted fish), which is also usually SUPER HOT and spicy because, in addition to the salted fish and kai-lan (Chinese kale), it’s cooked also with bird’s eye cili a.k.a. cili padi in Malay or siling labuyo in Tagalog
  • nasi goreng ayam (fried rice with chicken)
  • nasi goreng udang (fried rice with shrimps)
  • nasi goreng USA, which is fried rice with telur mata kerbau (literally “cow’s eye egg”, which is actually just an egg fried sunny side up, also known in Indonesia as telur mata sapi) and daging masak merah (beef cooked in a red sauce)

Many restaurants keep coming up with their own versions of fried rice that they can already devote a whole page of the menu to fried rice alone.

Who would have thought ordering fried rice in Malaysia can be so daunting?