Penang Assam Laksa
August 06th, 2006 13 Comments

Penang Assam Laksa

Penang Assam LaksaRecently, a friend of mine in Hong Kong asked me about Penang Assam Laksa. She told me that she had it in Penang and has been craving it and requested me to give her the recipe. I told her that she will have to go back to Penang again if she really loves it as my recipe will not do justice to the real Laksa you get in Penang.

Laksa (as we Penangites call it) or Assam Laksa, is the staple of Penang hawker food. If you come to Penang and there is one dish that you can try, this is probably it as you can’t get anything close to the real taste outside of Penang…

My aunt and my mother used to cook Laksa a lot while I was growing up in Penang. Preparing this dish is no simple matter. I remember helping out in the kitchen for hours; picking flesh off little Ikan Kembong (Mackerel Fish), cutting cucumber, lettuce leaves, red onions; plucking mint leaves off their stems and slicing little bird’s eye chilies…

Cooking this dish starts with boiling the main ingredient, Ikan Kembong, in a pot of hot boiling water. Once the fish is cooked, you scoop them up and leave the broth for later use. Pick the flesh off the fish, then put them back into the broth and add in the special blended chili paste made of fresh red chilies and dried chilies, belacan (dried shrimp paste), shallots, and a little garlic. To get the sour taste of Laksa, add in generous doses of tamarind juice into the broth. Leave the fish broth simmering for at least an hour and then you serve them over a bowl of Laksa Noodle and the freshly chopped vegetables plus some dark “Heh Ko” (liquidy prawn paste) and you have Laksa.

For the best Laksa in Penang, click here for “My Insider Guide to Penang Hawker Food“–a comprehensive food guide to the best of Penang hawker food. For my recipe of Penang Assam Laksa, please click here.


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13 comments... read them below or add one

  1. toniXe says:

    ha, my alltime favourite , images of ayer itam with the salt bottles, gurney drive etc

    we r still scouting 4 d ‘best’ in KL …haven’t found any

  2. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Yes, Penang Assam Laksa is best. If you haven’t found a good one in KL, try the Malay Assam Laksa in roadsite stalls…they are good.

  3. aspexe says:

    I am a hardcore assam laksa fan; there is ALWAYS space in my stomach for a good bowl of laksa.

    Penang Assam Laksa is all about strength of taste; the fish, the herbs, the chillies, the prawn paste & cucumber. When you taste it, you know straight away it is a great dish, like you just took a Bruce Lee punch! Malay laksa has a more subtle taste, the soup is clearer, the herbs are not as overpowering, a gentler dish yet an equality satisfying taste.

    Penang Assam Laksa is certainly the more famous one, but I will also like to recommend the Malay Laksa. It appears to me Penang Laksa is a Penangnite/Nyonya interpretation of the classic Malay Laksa? (not too sure).

    I will recommend both to anyone!

    PS avoid Singapore laksa – that’s basically curry mee!

    • Fazz says:

      I am like a crazy searching for Malay Assam Laksa or any kinds of laksa prepared by Malay people in Penang, yet still serving the best authentical legendary taste of laksa. Need help. Really2 don’t know where ='(

  4. Andaliman says:

    Is “Heh Ko” what we call petis in Indonesia?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your menu is just right. Good stuff!

  6. J dean says:

    The best in KL asam laksa for so many years can be found at THE ORANGE situated if I am not mistaken 2nd floor just above Crown Princess Hotel Plaza Yow Chuan. You can really smell the aroma of the laksa even before the laksa reaches you table. I am not sure whether the restaurant still in business. I am not gone there for quite a while now because I am currently located far away from Plaza Low Yat.

  7. Paul Blazey says:

    I love a good laksa, the hotter the better when it comes to being spicy.

    Really appreciate this review, I went to KL last year and plan on getting back there a little later this year and I’ll be trying as many different types of Laksa as possible. I’ve been putting together my ultimate laksa guide to document the different types of laksa.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. aliza j.b says:

    looking for assam laksa?go to the hainanese chicken rice shop next to sungei wang plaza.the taste was out of the world!!!marvelous!!!with a piece of fish meat on the noodle i just can’t wait to return for another bowl.

  9. Pingback:Penang Assam Laksa « 30 BY 30

  10. nellie says:

    The best assam laksa in KL is in Petaling Street road side stall. There is one and only available there. The curry mee is not bad too.

  11. joko says:

    pertama saya rasakan asam laksa di pasar depan police office Penang dan di old town, ternyata beda rasanya dengan masakan yang lain…kuahnya unik rasanya…tapi saya tidak tahu dimana yang recipe asli dan tempat jual yang asli…ada yang tahu ? please share…

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