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Jan 5, 2014 09:57 AM

Excellent nasi lemak @ Tukdin, Paddington/Lancaster Gate, London

The rice in nasi lemak here has the right aromatic depth -- with coconut and probably pandan. Ikan bills/small anchovies with peanuts and sambal belacan (a chilli paste with fermented shrimp) was spot on - sweet, spicy, pungent. Comes with fried chicken, a boiled egg and cucumber slices. Probably the best I've encountered in London so far.

The nasi goreng kampong/"village style" fried rice was also very tasty -- marked by a good depth of spicy flavour and very crunchy fried anchovies/ikan bills and lacy trails of fried egg. The rice had a lovely vibrance from a hot wok and reached a delicious well-calibrated dryness.

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  1. Sounds like my kind of place. Must check that out next time I'm in town.

    5 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      Can't remember my source but I vaguely remember from somewhere that they used to be the caterer for the Malaysian student's canteen.

      1. re: limster

        You may have heard that from Howler, but I also did mention that to you the last time we met.

        The restaurant name, "Tuk Din", is also the nickname of owner-chef Zainuddin Yahaya, who used to run the Malaysia Student Hall canteen at its long-time former location in Bryanstone Square (my first time there was in the early 90s).

        Being from Alor Star, Kedah (Malaysia's northern state, near Penang), Tuk Din's cooking is influenced by that region's iconic Mamak/Indian-Muslim-style cookery, so his specialties are the "Mee Goreng Mamak" and Mamak-style "Kwayteow Goreng". But he's also well-known for his Nasi Lemak which you'd mentioned in your post above.

        I remembered the first time I spoke to Tuk Din in 1993 thereabouts, he used the Northern Malay dialect (spoken in Kedah & Penang) to me, using "satu kupang" (for 10 cents) instead of "sepuloh sen" - so I asked if he's from Penang. He laughed and said, "No, I'm from Kedah".

        Tuk Din and his wife, Midah, have lived in London for more than 30 years, and are very well-known among the Malay-Muslim community there. He did not want to return to Malaysia after his tenure at the Malaysia Student Hall expired, so he opened Tuk Din in mid-2009 (Pak Awie took over the running of the Malaysia Student Hall canteen in its new Queensborough Terrace location at about the same time - but I think the standards just aren't the same).

        1. re: klyeoh

          Pak Awie's rendition of the Nasi Lemak at the Malaysian Student Hall, which I tried some time last year. It came as a big surprise to me that it could *not* measure up to the over-priced but fairly decent version at nearby Rasa Malaysia:

          In the past, the Malaysia Hall Canteen sets the standard for Malay food not just in London, but in the UK & Europe!

          1. re: klyeoh

            I just walked past a Malay cafe next to the Indonesian minimart area near / above Leicester sq (after a pretty good lunch at Roti King - delicious light roti / reasonable curry) Has anyone been? I don't remember it last time I went to the minimart and seemed to have an air of authenticity...

            1. re: hyperion

              I've only been to the Malaysian stall on the ground floor of the same complex downstairs from the Indonesian place - the curry puffs there were decent. Not sure if it's the same place or if they moved upstairs to the first floor.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The Mee Bandung Tukdin is also excellent -- very rich and shrimpy tomato broth with a good current of chilli heat, almost like liquid sambal. Good comfort in the winter -- soft wheat noodles, an egg poached in the warm broth, a couple of prawns with the perfect snappy texture, tender squid scored with lovely curls, slices of beef that could have been less tough (only disappointment here), some green veg, crispy shallots for texture.

        1. I went for lunch today and had the nasi lemak. It was excellent. I have quite a few Malaysian places to choose from near work (Melur, Pak Awie , Satay House, Bonda) but this was a cut above in terms of brightness of flavours and execution. I noted the citrus aroma on the rice , thought maybe lemongrass but more likely panadan leaf as you say.