Kota Bharu, Kelantan - Capital Cafe Nasi Dagang
Kelantanese "Nasi Dagang" (steamed semi-glutinous rice with coconut milk, ginger and fenugreek seeds) is insanely addictive. I can't think of any other dish in the Malay world that comes close to this in terms of flavor and its intoxicating fragrance.
Traditionally a breakfast dish, accompaniments include chicken, beef or fish curry, hard-boiled eggs, poached vegetables, "saman" (grated, toasted coconut with chilli flakes) and "achar" (pickled vegetables).
One of the foremost purveyors of "nasi dagang" in Kota Bharu has to be Capital Cafe on Jalan Post Office Lama, with its perpetual queues. It opens at 7am and, on some days, sells out before 10am - so be forewarned.
The lady-chef meticulously serves out her "nasi dagang" at a measured, leisurely pace: ladling spoonfuls of curry gravies onto the fragrant rice, dropping a couple of pieces of ultra-crisp salted fish, and one's choice of curry.
Most Kelantanese love "gulai ikan tongkol", a local tuna curry with turmeric, coconut milk and tamarind. I went for two different portions: one with chicken curry, and one with beef curry. Both were utterly delicious.
I'm beginning to think that Kelantan perhaps have some of the best food in Malaysia, but *definitely* the best-tasting ethnic Malay food.
3282, Jalan Post Office Lama
15000 Kota Bharu