Laksa is a famous spicy noodle soup said to be originated from the Malaysian Peranakan culture back in the days. No one knows for sure how the word “laksa” came about, it could be from the Cantonese dialect where it meant, Lak = Spicy, sa = sand, spicy sand; or Hindian/Persian lakhshah referring to a type of noodle/vermicelli. Whatever the origin, Penang Laksa as I know it is a delicious noodle and whoever created the dish was a real genius!
When we were in Singapore, we came across “Singapore Laksa” in the menu and out of curiosity, we ordered a bowl. It didn’t taste like our Penang Laksa/Assam Laksa. This somehow resembles our “Curry Noodle” and “Laksa Lemak” as there is coconut milk in it. Names can indeed be deceiving. Lol.
When I returned to Penang, Penang Laksa a.k.a. Assam Laksa was one of the first meals I had. Why is Penang Laksa so loved and even listed as number 7 on World’s 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011? It has this exotic blend of sweet, sour and spicy taste; just the mere thought of it can cause my mouth to water and have a sudden massive craving for it. Oh dear.
I am very lucky to stay near a famous Assam Laksa stall in my town, so I brought my tiffin, a small way to save the environment, to buy myself some Assam Laksa.
As you can see here, Asam Laksa includes the spicy and sour soup on the right which is made of shredded fish, normally kembung fish or mackerel, chillies, belacan, assam and lemon grass. On the left, is the rice noodle and finely sliced vegetables including cucumber, onions, red chillies, pineapple, lettuce, common mint, “daun kesum” (Vietnamese mint or laksa mint) and pink bunga kantan (ginger buds) as garnish. And topped off with shrimp paste or “hae ko” (蝦羔).
If you have the interest to try to cook this fine, mouth-watering dish, see the detailed recipe here.
Oh how blissful… nom nom nom.