Nasi Ambeng is a special dish of the Javanese communities, consisting of plain white rice in a tampah (tray) lined by banana leaves, with other dishes around the rice. The dishes are meat cake, fried salted fish, rempeyek (a form of cracker with peanuts), fried sambal (a hot dish), hard boiled egg, fried tempe (fermented soya bean), urap (grated coconut with added spices), fried noodle, chicken opor (a type of chicken dish), fried grated coconut, cakes and fruits. The rice is placed in a mould first before it is served so that it stays in its shape and does not easily break when served.

In the olden days this dish was not fully consumed but only a little. The remnants were divided equally into four portions to be wrapped and brought home by the guests. This gesture was for asking for blessings for the good fortune received.

Normally this traditional dish is served during thanksgiving feasts like the tahlil (a religious recital) and festivities. It is said that this rice is more delicious to be eaten with the fingers rather than with fork and spoon. The serving of Nasi Ambeng that is popular in the states of Johor and Selangor is a symbol of togetherness, unity, harmony and the happiness of the local communities.


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