Southeast Asia's Best Rice Dishes: Nasi Uduk vs. Nasi Lemak

Southeast Asia's Best Rice Dishes: Nasi Uduk vs. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Uduk vs Nasi Lemak © Designed and edited by Akhyari Hananto

Nasi uduk and nasi lemak are two of the most popular rice dishes in Southeast Asia. Both dishes are often enjoyed as a main course and are typically served with various side dishes such as chicken, beef, or vegetables. While these dishes may share some similarities, they are also unique in their own way. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between nasi uduk and nasi lemak.


  • Rice as a base: Both nasi uduk and nasi lemak use rice as their base ingredient. However, the type of rice used in each dish is different. Nasi uduk is made with steamed jasmine rice, while nasi lemak is made with coconut milk-infused rice.
  • Popular in Southeast Asia: Both nasi uduk and nasi lemak are popular dishes in Southeast Asia. They are commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, where they are often sold by street vendors or at food stalls.
  • Served with side dishes: Both dishes are typically served with side dishes such as chicken, beef, or vegetables. These side dishes can be fried, grilled, or steamed.


  • Rice preparation: The way the rice is prepared is the main difference between nasi uduk and nasi lemak. Nasi uduk is prepared by cooking the rice with coconut milk, lemongrass, and pandan leaves. The rice is then steamed and served with fried shallots and spicy sambal. On the other hand, nasi lemak is made by cooking the rice with coconut milk, pandan leaves, and salt. The rice is then steamed and served with a variety of side dishes, including fried chicken, boiled eggs, and sambal.
  • Flavors: Due to the difference in rice preparation, nasi uduk has a fragrant and slightly sweet taste, while nasi lemak has a rich and creamy flavor with a hint of coconut.
  • Side dishes: While both dishes are served with side dishes, the type of side dishes they are served with are different. Nasi uduk is typically served with fried chicken, tofu, and tempeh, while nasi lemak is served with a variety of side dishes such as fried chicken, boiled eggs, fried anchovies, and cucumber slices.
  • Origin: Nasi uduk is a traditional Indonesian dish, while nasi lemak is a traditional Malaysian dish. While both dishes have spread across Southeast Asia, their origins remain in their respective countries.

Nasi uduk and nasi lemak may share some similarities, but they are also unique in their own way. Both dishes are delicious and have their own distinctive flavors and preparation methods. Whether you prefer the fragrant and sweet taste of nasi uduk or the rich and creamy flavor of nasi lemak, there is no doubt that these two dishes are some of the best rice dishes Southeast Asia has to offer.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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