I’m Obsessed With…Nasi Goreng, Indonesian Fried Rice

We’ve become accustomed to certain foods and dishes trending on Instagram and going viral, but then, there are personal favorites. Personally, I have my own food “obsessions,” and, because I’m a journalist and/or a big nerd, I tend to go all out, researching and trying every version of a dish. All that to say: hey, this is a new feature I’m trying out, in which I take a deep dive food I really love. First up: Nasi Goreng, Indonesian fried rice.

Nasi Goreng is not just fried rice, though. It’s a sometimes spicy, mostly dreamy rice dish that can come with chicken and definitely a fried egg. I have never ordered it without a fried egg, mostly because anytime a server has asked: “Want a fried egg on top?” the question sounded rightly rhetorical. (Trust me AND them — the fried egg is essential).

Did you know… you can make Vegan Nasi Goreng?

So what is Nasi Goreng, objectively? Many sources say it’s a breakfast dish. The name directly translates to “fried rice.” The dish came in 2nd in CNN’s list of World’s 50 Best Foods. BBC Good Food described the dish as a “fragrant rice dish with chicken, prawns and shredded omelette is the ultimate comfort food for spice lovers.” (Note: it doesn’t always have prawns.) Saveur said the dish is “leftover rice is stir-fried with a seasoning paste made from chiles, shrimp paste, and palm sugar, yielding a richly flavored dish that’s ridiculously delicious. With a fried egg on top, it becomes a meal.”

Personally, it’s a fried rice with layers. There’s spiciness, there’s the egg, there’s the meat. Then there’s an it that I just can’t explain. Perhaps it’s the Indonesian spices. Maybe it’s all about what leftovers do end up in the dish.

Where You Can Get It In Los Angeles

Some of my favorite places to get Nasi Goreng are…

Simpang Asia

The Palms restaurant specializes in Indonesian food and their most popular dish is the No. 8 Nasi Bungkus, which was always my regular order. But one day, I decided to take the plunge and order one of their 2 versions of Nasi Goreng: Jawa, (the one I ordered) which is moderately spicy; Jagger is extremely spicy. Jawa still definitely brings the heat.


A fusion taco place has Nasi Goreng? Yup. This is actually the first place I ever tried the dish, because I spent about a year obsessed with Komodo’s tacos and, during one visit, decided I wanted a non-taco meal. Nasi Goreng is listed as the chef’s specialty and boy, is it. Komodo’s Nasi Goreng isn’t that hot, but its seasoning and sauce are extremely savory and addictive.

Mr. Sate

Don’t just go by the online menu of this Indonesia restaurant. Most of the best stuff, including Nasi Goreng, is often listed on their Specials menu. If you call ahead or eat-in, they will gladly make it for you. This Nasi Goreng isn’t that spicy either and it is a nice balance between savory and a bit of a kick. Plus, if you get the combo, you get two sate and corn fritters. And yes, the fried egg, too.