Nasi goreng

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Nasi goreng
Nasi Goreng Sosis Breakfast Savoy Homann Hotel.JPG
Indonesian nasi goreng istimewa - "Special fried rice" with sausages, egg, krupuk (traditional cracker) and pickles.
Course Main course
Place of origin Indonesia,[1][2] Singapore and Malaysia
Region or state Nationwide in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; also popular in Southern Thailand, Sri Lanka, Suriname and the Netherlands
Associated national cuisine Indonesian
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Fried rice with meats, vegetables and spices, usually seasoned with sweet soy sauce
Variations Rich variations across the respective region
Cookbook: Nasi goreng  Media: Nasi goreng

Nasi goreng, literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian and Malay, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in a small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallot, garlic, ground shrimp paste, tamarind and chilli and accompanied by other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken and prawns. There is also another kind of nasi goreng which is made with ikan asin (salted dried fish) which is also popular across Indonesia. Nasi goreng is sometimes described as Indonesian stir-fried rice,[3][4] although it is also popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Beyond the Malay Archipelago, it has gained popularity through Indonesian influence in Sri Lanka[5] and via Indonesian immigrant communities in Suriname[6] and the Netherlands.[7] It is distinguished from other Asian fried rice recipes by its aromatic, earthy and smoky flavor, owed to generous amount of caramelized sweet soy sauce and powdered shrimp paste, and the taste is stronger and spicier compared to Chinese fried rice.[8]

Nasi goreng has been called the national dish of Indonesia,[9][10] though there are many other contenders. It can be enjoyed in simple versions from a tin plate at a roadside food stall, eaten on porcelain in restaurants, or collected from the buffet tables of Jakarta dinner parties.[11]

In 2011 an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Indonesian nasi goreng as number two on their 'World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods' list after rendang.[2]


A woman cooking nasi goreng in Indonesia.

Nasi goreng had the same beginnings as other versions of fried rice; as a way to avoid wasting rice. Frying the rice could prevent the propagation of dangerous microbes, especially in pre-refrigeration technology Indonesia and also avoid the need to throw out precious food.[1] Nasi goreng is traditionally served at home for breakfast and it is traditionally made out of leftover rice from the night before. Besides ingredients like shallot, tomato, pepper and chili, the rice is fried with scraps of chicken or beef; usually leftovers from a chicken or beef dish.[12]

Nasi goreng is often described as Indonesia's twist on fried rice.[1] And as with other fried rice recipes in Asia, it has been suggested that it can trace its origin from Southern Chinese fried rice.[13][14] However, it is not clear when Indonesians began to adopt the Chinese fried rice and create their own version. The trade between China and the Indonesian archipelago flourished from the era of Srivijaya around the 10th century and intensified in the Majapahit era around the 15th century. By that time Chinese immigrants had begun to settle in the archipelago, bringing along with them their culture and cuisine. Chinese people usually favor freshly cooked hot food, and in their culture it is taboo to throw away uneaten foodstuffs. As a result, the previous day's leftover rice was often recooked in the morning. Previously, Indonesians probably simply sun-dried the leftover rice to make intip or rengginang (rice cracker), the dried rice also could be ground to make rice flour.

The Chinese influences upon Indonesian cuisine can be seen in mie goreng that appeared simultaneously with the introduction of the stir frying technique that required the use of a Chinese wok.[15] In China, the stir frying technique became increasingly popular during Ming dynasty (1368–1644 CE).[16] The introduction of stir frying technique, Chinese wok, and also soy sauce probably took place around or after this period, circa 17th century. The common soy sauce has its origin in 2nd century CE China, however, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) was developed in Indonesia with a generous addition of local palm sugar.[17] Sweet soy sauce plus the addition of shrimp paste, those are the elements that differs Indonesian nasi goreng from Chinese fried rice.

Other than Chinese influence, there is another theory suggested that nasi goreng was actually inspired by a Middle Eastern dish called pilaf, which is rice cooked in seasoned broth.[18] This suggestion is quite plausible in regard to a particular variant—the Betawi nasi goreng kambing (Jakartan goat fried rice), which uses mutton or goat meat (traditionally favoured by Arab Indonesians), rich spices and minyak samin (ghee), which demonstrates Middle Eastern-Indian influence.

Nasi goreng is ubiquitous in Indonesia, and also popular in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the Netherlands through its colonial ties with Indonesia.[7] Today microwave-heated frozen nasi goreng is available in convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Lawson in Indonesia.


Nasi goreng with green stinky beans and goat meat in Jakarta.

Nasi goreng is distinguished from other Asian fried rice recipes by its aromatic, earthy and smoky flavour, owed to generous amount of caramelized kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and ground powdered terasi (shrimp paste), and the flavour is stronger and spicier compared to Chinese fried rice.[8] Nasi goreng often includes krupuk and bawang goreng (fried shallots) or (fried onions) to give a crispier texture.

The main ingredients of nasi goreng include pre-cooked rice, sweet soy sauce, powdered terasi (shrimp paste), salt, garlic, shallot, chilli pepper, spring onions, nutmeg, turmeric, vegetable oil, onions, palm sugar, ginger garlic paste, and slices of cucumber and tomato for garnishing. Some recipes may add black pepper, fish sauce, or powdered broth as a seasoning and taste enhancer. Eggs might be mixed into fried rice or fried separately, either as telur ceplok/telur mata sapi (sunny side up eggs), or telur dadar (omelette), and also telur rebus (boiled eggs). Originally optional, the addition of fried egg is often named as nasi goreng spesial (pakai telur) or special fried rice topped with fried egg.


Nasi goreng often add condiments as add-on upon the fried rice. Fried shallot and traditional crackers are often sprinkled upon to give crispy texture, pickles are added to give sour freshness in otherwise rather oily dish, while chili paste is to add the zesty spiciness according to one's preference. Some common condiments are:


There is no single recipe of nasi goreng, as every fried rice dish with certain mixtures, additions, ingredients, and toppings could lead to another recipe of nasi goreng.[19] Usually, in Indonesian households, the ingredients of nasi goreng prepared for daily breakfast are the leftovers of the previous day's meals preserved in the refrigerator, with fresh vegetables and eggs added. The basic ingredients of nasi goreng are rice and sliced or ground bumbu (spices) mixture of shallot, garlic, pepper, salt, tomato ketchup, sambal or chili sauce, and usually sweet soy sauce. Some variants may add saus tiram (oyster sauce), ang-ciu (Chinese cooking red wine), kecap ikan (fish sauce), or kecap inggris (like Worcestershire sauce). The texture of leftover cooked rice is considered more suitable for nasi goreng than that of newly cooked rice, as freshly cooked rice is too moist and soft.

Nasi goreng is known as fried rice variants commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Despite myriad specific regional variants, it is notable that certain recipe appears in multiple countries, kampung (village), shrimp paste, sambal, salted fish and egg-wrapped fried rices are appears in both Indonesia and Malaysia. There are similar fried rice dishes from neighboring countries, such as khao phat from Thailand, and sinangag from the Philippines.


Cooking nasi goreng kambing (fried rice with goat meat) in bulk in Kebon Sirih area, Central Jakarta.

In most parts of Indonesia, nasi goreng is cooked with ample amounts of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) that created golden brownish color and the flavour is mildly sweet.[3] However, in other places such as Eastern Indonesia (Sulawesi and Maluku), the sweet soy sauce are usually absent and replaced by bottled tomato and chili sauce, creating reddish-colored nasi goreng. This variant is called nasi goreng merah (red fried rice) or nasi goreng Makassar after the South Sulawesi capital. Some variants of nasi goreng, such as salted fish or teri Medan (Medan's anchovy) nasi goreng, are not using kecap manis at all, creating lighter color similar to Chinese fried rice or Japanese chahan.

Nasi goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih is one of a popular variant of goat meat fried rice sold in Kebon Sirih area, Central Jakarta.[20] While nasi goreng amplop is fried rice "enveloped" inside thin omelette skin, almost identical to Malaysian nasi goreng pattaya.

The most common nasi goreng usually uses chicken and egg, however, some variants are usually named after its additional ingredients. Examples of nasi goreng specific variants includes:

  • Nasi goreng ayam (with chicken)
  • Nasi goreng kambing (with goat meat)
  • Nasi goreng domba (with mutton)
  • Nasi goreng pete/petai (with green stinky bean)
  • Nasi goreng jamur (with mushroom)
  • Nasi goreng sosis (with beef or chicken sausages)
  • Nasi goreng sapi (with beef)
  • Nasi goreng babi (with pork, usually served with Chinese pork belly and charsiu)[21]
  • Nasi goreng udang (with shrimp)
  • Nasi goreng seafood (with seafood, such as squid, fish and shrimp)
  • Nasi goreng ikan asin (with salted fish)
  • Nasi goreng teri Medan (with Medan's anchovy)
  • Nasi goreng keju (with cheese, either mozarella or cheddar)[22]
  • Nasi goreng rendang (rendang fried rice), rich and spicy fried rice usually made from leftover rendang spices[23]
  • Nasi goreng kampung (traditional village fried rice, with vegetables, sweet soy sauce and shrimp paste)[24]
  • Nasi goreng Jawa (Javanese fried rice)[25]
  • Nasi goreng Bali (Balinese fried rice), rich in spices including chopped lemongrass, turmeric, shallot, garlic and galangal, and uses no soy sauce.[26]
  • Nasi goreng Aceh (Acehnese fried rice), rich in spices akin to mie aceh[27]
  • Nasi goreng Padang (Padang fried rice), also rich in spices similar to Aceh fried rice
  • Nasi goreng Magelangan (Magelang fried rice), a combo of fried rice and noodle[28]
  • Nasi goreng sambal terasi (Sambal shrimp paste fried rice)
  • Nasi goreng sambal ijo/hijau (green sambal fried rice)
  • Nasi goreng merah or nasi goreng Makassar (red fried rice)[29]
  • Nasi goreng hitam (black fried rice), coloured with squid ink
  • Nasi goreng pelangi (rainbow fried rice), without soy sauce with colourful vegetables
  • Nasi goreng amplop (egg-wrapped fried rice)
  • Nasi goreng santri (vegetarian fried rice)[30]

Indonesians also called foreign versions of fried rice simply as nasi goreng, thus nasi goreng Hongkong and nasi goreng Tionghoa/China refer to Chinese fried rice, while nasi goreng Jepang refer to yakimeshi or chahan.


Nasi goreng in Singapore

In Singapore, nasi goreng is one of the most popular rice dish and is a staple with a lot of variations of it. Some include sausage, stinky beans (for vegetarians), seafood, and beef—chicken however, is the most common meat. Nevertheless, since Singapore is a cosmopolitan city with significant numbers of foreign nationals and expatriate, plus English is a commonly spoken language in the island, the term nasi goreng is seldom used in the city, thus its english translation "fried rice" is commonly used.

Nasi goreng variants commonly popular in Singapore includes:

  • Nasi goreng Singapore or Singapore-style fried rice (A unique combination of Chinese seasonings and Indian spices are used to flavor this simple fried rice dish made with shrimp, mushrooms, cabbage and carrots )
  • Nasi goreng ayam or Chichen fried rice (fried rice with chicken)
  • Nasi goreng telur Singapore or Singapore egg fried rice(simply fried with egg)
  • Nasi goreng seafood (fried with mixed of squid, crab and shrimp)
  • Nasi goreng pedas or Spicy Fried Rice (spicy fried rice)
  • Nasi goreng sayur or Singapore vegetable fried rice (fried with vegetables)
  • Nasi goreng sambal or Sambal fried rice (Malay fried rice with sambal or chili paste)
  • Nasi goreng kampung or Village-Style Fried Rice (traditional Malay fried)
  • Nasi goreng lapis or Layered fried rice (fried rice layered with lot of veggies, noodles and adorned with chicken on the top layer)
  • Nasi goreng daging Mongolia or Mongolian Beef Fried Rice (fried rice mixed together with Mongolian beef style)
  • Nasi goreng daging or Beef fried rice (fried with beef)
  • Nasi goreng kari or Curry flavored fried rice (fried rice flavored with curry powder)
  • Nasi goreng ayam ham or Chicken ham fried rice (fried with chicken ham)

Singapore is Chinese-dominated society, with Chinese making up as largest population of Singapore. Chinese fried rice recipes, such as Yeung Chow fried rice also popular through out in Singapore.


Nasi goreng is common rice dish in Brunei. Nasi goreng ikan masin or fried rice with salted fish is the most popular version.[31]

Nasi goreng variants commonly popular in Brunei includes:

  • Nasi goreng pulau Brunei (floating fried rice)
  • Nasi goreng belutak (fried rice with Brunei sausage, Belutak. Belutak is made up of salted minced meat stuffed into casings of cow's or buffalo's small intestines )
  • Nasi goreng corned beef (fried with corned beef)
  • Nasi goreng ikan masin (fried with salted fish)
  • Nasi goreng kampung Brunei (fried with shrimp paste)
  • Nasi goreng sardin (fried with sardine)
  • Nasi goreng keropok belinjau (fried rice served with keropok belinjau)
  • Nasi goreng seafood (fried with mixed of squid, crab and shrimp)


A cook making nasi goreng in a food market in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Nasi goreng is a commonly popular household dish in Malaysia. It is also can be found in restaurants and food courts in the country.

Nasi goreng variants popular in Malaysia includes:

  • Nasi goreng kampung (fried with anchovies/leftover fried fish, kangkong)
  • Nasi goreng USA (with fried egg and stirred fried beef in chili sauce)
  • Nasi goreng pattaya (fried rice in an omelette envelope)
  • Nasi goreng ikan masin (fried with salted fish)
  • Nasi goreng seafood (fried with prawn, calamari slices and crab sticks)
  • Nasi goreng belacan (fried with leftover sambal belacan and fish or other meats)
  • Nasi goreng dabai (a Sarawak specialty which the rice is fried with a seasonal native fruit called 'buah dabai').


Javanese-Surinamese nasi goreng in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, Indonesian cuisine is common due to the historical colonial ties with Indonesia. Indonesian migrants (or their offspring) cater Indonesian food both in restaurants and as take-away. Also, take-away versions of nasi goreng are plentiful in toko Asian grocery shop and supermarkets.[7] Supermarkets also commonly carry several brands of spice mix for nasi goreng, along with krupuk and other Indonesian cooking supplies. Chinese take-aways and restaurants have also adapted nasi goreng, plus a selection of other Indonesian dishes, but spice them Cantonese style. In Flanders, the name nasi goreng is often used for any Asian style of fried rice. Distinctive version of nasi goreng has been developed, such as Javanese-Suriname version of the dish.[6] In the Netherlands, nasi goreng has been developed into snack called nasischijf (Dutch for "nasi disk"), it is a Dutch deep-fried fast food, consisting of nasi goreng inside a crust of breadcrumbs.



Nasi goreng can be eaten at any time of day, and many Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans eat nasi goreng for breakfast.[13] In most of households, last night leftovers stored in refrigerator are often used to create nasi goreng for breakfast; such as chunks of chicken, shrimp, vegetables, fish, beef, bakso or sausages. The rice used to make nasi goreng is cooked ahead of time and left to cool down (so it is not soggy), which is one reason to use rice cooked from the day before.

Street vendor

A street vendor cooking nasi goreng in his cart. The travelling night hawkers often frequenting Jakarta residential area.

While most Indonesian households serve it for breakfast, nasi goreng is also a popular choice for late night supper served by street vendors, in warungs and also by travelling night hawkers that frequent Indonesian residential neighborhoods with their wheeled carts.[13] The nasi goreng is usually cooked on order for each serving, since the cook usually asks the client their preference on the degree of spiciness: mild, medium, hot or extra hot. The spiciness corresponds to the amount of sambal or chili pepper paste used. The cook might also ask how the client would like their egg done: mixed into nasi goreng or fried separately as telur mata sapi or ceplok (fried whole egg) or as telur dadar (omelette). The term spesial pakai telur means the nasi goreng has two eggs per serving, one mixed into the nasi goreng as scrambled egg, another fried separately. As well as offering nasi goreng, the travelling nasi goreng cart vendors usually also serve mi goreng, mi rebus, and kwetiau goreng. Nasi goreng usually made by order, nevertheless, some popular nasi goreng warung or food stall might cook them in bulk, due to large demand. The degree of spiciness is applied by customer through the addition of sambal hot sauces.


Nasi goreng breakfast in a hotel in Solo, Central Java, with papaya juice and Java black coffee.

Nasi goreng is a popular dish in Indonesian restaurants and Asian fusion restaurants. It is often served for breakfast in Indonesian hotels. In Indonesian restaurants, the dish is often served as a main meal accompanied by additional items such as a fried egg, ayam goreng (fried chicken), satay, vegetables, seafoods such as fried shrimp or fish, and kerupuk (meaning crackers, also called "prawn crackers" and many other names).[32] Although traditionally nasi goreng is seldom consumed with satay nor fried chicken, in many Indonesian restaurants abroad this combo is quite popular—in order to allow clients to sample quintessential Indonesian dish; nasi goreng and satay in single serving.

In many warungs (street stalls), when accompanied by a fried egg, it is sometimes called nasi goreng istimewa (special fried rice).[33] Nasi goreng is usually sold together with bakmi goreng (fried noodles) and mie rebus (noodle soup). They sell a simple nasi goreng with small amount of shredded fried chicken, scrambled egg, green vegetables, and served with pickled cucumber.

Convenience store

Microwaved frozen Nasi Goreng sold in 7-Eleven store in Jakarta, Indonesia

Some seasoning brands sold in supermarkets, such as Sajiku-Ajinomoto, Racik, LaRasa, Royco and Kokita offering "bumbu nasi goreng", an instant nasi goreng seasoning paste to be applied upon frying leftover rice.[34] Today the modern convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Lawson operated in Indonesia also offering prepackage frozen microwave-heated nasi goreng take away.[35]

In popular culture


See also


  1. ^ a b c Gregory Rodgers. "Nasi Goreng". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "World's 50 Most Delicious Foods". CNN GO. 
  3. ^ a b Andrea Chesman (1998). 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains. Penguin. ISBN 9781101075746. 
  4. ^ Stein, Rick. "Indonesian stir-fried rice (Nasi goreng)". BBC Food Recipes. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Jayani Senanayake (1 January 2016). "Who doesn't like Nasi Goreng?". 
  6. ^ a b "Indonesian rice dishes from the Surinam cuisine". 
  7. ^ a b c Ena Scheerstra (30 October 2012). "Dutch East Indian Nasi Goreng". Honest Cooking. 
  8. ^ a b "A Bowl of Rice". The Patterned Plate. 
  9. ^ "Nasi Goreng: Indonesia's mouthwatering national dish". Archived from the original on 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  10. ^ Watson, Todd (20 July 2013). "Indonesian cuisine: An unduly underappreciated taste". Inside Investor. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Crossette, Barbara (July 6, 1986). "Fare of The Country; Spicy Staple of Indonesia". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  12. ^ Eric Musa Piliang (November 14, 2010). "By the way ... A tale of 'nasi goreng' — leftover rice and chicken scraps". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Bruce Kraig; Colleen Taylor Sen (2013). Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 183. ISBN 9781598849554. 
  14. ^ Mutia Silviani Aflakhah (9 February 2017). "Akulturasi Budaya di Balik Makanan Nusantara". Good News from Indonesia (in Indonesian). 
  15. ^ Heinz Von Holzen (2014). A New Approach to Indonesian Cooking. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 15. ISBN 9789814634953. 
  16. ^ Grace Young (2010). Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories. Simon and Schuster. p. 49. ISBN 9781416580577. 
  17. ^ William Shurtleff; Akiko Aoyagi (2011). History of Tempeh and Tempeh Products (1815-2011): Extensively Annotated Bibliography and Sourcebook. Soyinfo Center. p. 618. ISBN 9781928914396. 
  18. ^ A. Kurniawan Ulung (20 February 2017). "Tracing history of Indonesian culinary fare". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 
  19. ^ Jo, Andru. "The Indonesians' nasi goreng recipes". Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  20. ^ "Legendary 'nasi goreng' continues to draw crowds". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 17 October 2015. 
  21. ^ Margareth Stella (14 March 2016). "7 Nasi Goreng Babi Yang Paling Legendaris Di Jakarta". Qraved (in Indonesian). 
  22. ^ Karina Marpaung (9 May 2017). "6 Nasi Goreng Dengan Keju Paling Meleleh di Jakarta". Qraved (in Indonesian). 
  23. ^ "Mengolah Bumbu Rendang Jadi Nasi Goreng". (in Indonesian). 5 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Nasi Goreng Kampung". Blueband. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Nasi Goreng Jawa". Sajian Sedap. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "Nasi Goreng Khas Bali". Indotopinfo. 
  27. ^ "Nasi Goreng Aceh". Foodspotting. 
  28. ^ "19 Resep Nasi goreng Magelangan". Cookpad. 
  29. ^ Andi Annisa Dwi Rahmawati (6 October 2016). "Nasi Goreng, Makanan Ikonik Indonesia, Merah Merona Nasi Goreng Khas Makassar yang Gurih Manis". detikFood (in Indonesian). 
  30. ^ "Nasi Goreng Santri, Rumah Makan Vegetarian Santri". Opensnap (in Indonesian). 
  31. ^ David Deterding; Salbrina Sharbawi (13 May 2013). Brunei English: A New Variety in a Multilingual Society. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-94-007-6347-0. 
  32. ^ Heinz Von Holzen; Lother Arsana (2015). The Food of Indonesia: Delicious Recipes from Bali, Java and the Spice Islands, Periplus world cookbooks. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462914913. 
  33. ^ Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. "Nasi Goreng Istimewa (Fried Rice Indonesian Style)". New York Times Cooking. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  34. ^ Vega Aminkusumo (25 April 2014). "Resep : Nasi Goreng Dengan Bumbu Instan". (in Indonesian). 
  35. ^ Sri Wiyanti (14 September 2012). "7-Eleven diizinkan jual nasi goreng dan tahu campur". (in Indonesian). 
  36. ^ "Wieteke van Dort - Geef mij maar nasi goreng". Dutch Charts. 
  37. ^ Resty Armenia (5 March 2016). "Konser, Personel 5 Seconds of Summer Bikin Lagu 'Nasi Goreng'". CNN Indonesia (in Indonesian). 

External links

  • Nasi Goreng Petai Mangga Besar
  • Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih
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