You might have a hard time deciding whether to plan a food trip to Penang or Ipoh, but there are many traditional Malay restaurants in Kelantan that can win you over. If there's one local dish we want you to try, it has to be nasi kerabu!
A popular breakfast in Kelantan, nasi kerabu consists of blue-coloured rice (dyed using butterfly pea flower), grilled meat or chicken, shrimp crackers, raw herbs, salted egg and more. Sounds like your kind of meal? Scroll down our list for the best places to eat nasi kerabu in Kota Bharu, the capital city of Kelantan!
1. Lieniey Nasi Kerabu Tumis
There's a reason why the locals would queue as early as 6 AM at Lieniey Nasi Kerabu Tumis
. A local breakfast spot founded by Kak Lieniey, this humble food stall takes pride in serving traditional Kelantanese cuisine using family recipes that have been handed down through generations.
When you're here, give their signature Nasi Kerabu Tumis a try. Slightly different from the standard nasi kerabu in Kota Bharu, this one comes with its signature sambal tumis for that spicy kick. Since it opens for breakfast, you can try nasi dagang or nasi lemak that goes superbly well with their freshly grilled chicken.
: Open daily; 6.30AM-2PM
: Jalan Abdul Kadir Adabi, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
2. Kak Ma Nasi Kerabu
You know Kak Ma Nasi Kerabu
is the real deal when you spot the snaking queue at the entrance. Another famous breakfast spot in Kota Bharu, this spacious restaurant has plenty of tables and chairs if you prefer to dine-in than ordering a takeaway.
Follow the locals and complete your nasi kerabu experience with ayam percik, daging kambing bakar, or grilled chicken. We heard the nasi kerabu is so lip-smacking good that you would return the next day for breakfast.
: Open daily; 7AM-2PM
: Jalan Hospital, Kampung Belukar, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
3. Rohani Restoran (Kak Ani Kantin Bomba)
Thanks to its strategic location in front of the Kota Bharu Fire and Rescue Station, Rohani Restoran
also doubles as a convenient canteen for firefighters on their lunch break. Sometimes called Kak Ani Kantin Bomba, the restaurant uses white rice as the centrepiece of their nasi kerabu.
It doesn't matter if it's slightly different from the standard visual of a nasi kerabu because the side dishes are yummy. We heard good things about the restaurant's kambing bakar and ayam bakar, so don't miss it. Some locals say this place is a tad better than Lieniey Nasi Kerabu Tumis, but we let you be the judge of that.
: Open daily; 3AM-2PM
: 1103, Jalan Long Yunus, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
4. Nasi Kerabu Panji
There are limited parking spaces near Nasi Kerabu Panji
, but good things come to those who are determined to find it. And that good thing would be nasi kerabu. This local restaurant has that blue butterfly pea flower rice that you love, and it comes with all the traditional servings from fresh herbs to salted egg.
See that delicious kambing bakar sitting nicely in the food wrapper? Yup, their loyal customers won't stop raving about it and not forgetting the tender ayam percik too. We recommend coming early for breakfast if you want to try them.
: Open daily; 6AM-2PM
: Kg Chekok, Jalan Panji, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
5. Nasi Kerabu Taman Uda (Nasi Kerabu Ruby)
A hearty breakfast is guaranteed when you visit this Malay restaurant in Kota Bharu called Nasi Kerabu Taman Uda
(also known as Nasi Kerabu Ruby). This classic Kelantanese dish is best enjoyed with grilled meat, so tell the staff that you want a side of grilled mutton or chicken.
If you have a friend who's not the biggest fan of raw herbs, order a plate of nasi dagang for them. We heard it's just as tasty as the restaurant's signature meal.
: Open daily; 5.30AM-2PM
: Bulatan Cempaka, 16100 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
6. Jijah's Nasi Kerabu (Jijah's NK Stall)
Bet you've never seen a Kelantanese nasi kerabu that's served with rice as bright as the sun, but at least Jijah's Nasi Kerabu
got your attention. Instead of preparing the rice with blue butterfly pea flower, this stall uses turmeric. Don't worry, this famous breakfast spot in Kota Bharu still serves some of the best nasi kerabu in town.
The queues are long, the prices are affordable, but the parking spaces are limited. You have to come before 9 AM for a parking spot. Otherwise, ordering a takeaway is your next best option. But that's okay, their delicious nasi kerabu, which comes with the usual servings of fresh herbs and salted egg, is worth waking up for.
#HHWT Fun Fact
: Jijah's Nasi Kerabu accepts bitcoin and QR Pay as its digital payment options, which is a very tech-savvy move for a local food stall. It even made headlines in the local newspapers in 2017
: Tue-Sun; 6AM-12PM
: 185, Kampung Pauh Badang, Jalan Tok Sadang, 15350 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
7. Nasi Kerabu Sedap Padang Kala
We're wrapping up our list with Nasi Kerabu Sedap Padang Kala
that was recommended by our contributor Munirah
. It's so good that the late father of her brother-in-law would drive 30 minutes from Pasir Puteh just to have breakfast at this local restaurant!
There are many things that make this nasi kerabu place special. From the well-marinated grilled meat to delicious solok (green chilli stuffed with fish meat), it's a top breakfast spot in Kelantan that she wants to share with the world. You can read more about it here
Jalan Kota Bharu-Kuala Terengganu, Kampong Kubang Bongor, 16450 Ketereh, Kelantan
If you're looking for the best nasi kerabu in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, we hope you've found the perfect place to kick start this gastronomic adventure. To make your trip worthwhile, check out more recommended reads about Kelantan.