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Penang Laksa

Penang Laksa

Penang Assam Laksa–commonly referred to as “laksa” by Penangites–is one hawker food you don’t want to miss if you come to Penang. (Georgetown, Penang is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.)

This Laksa is not to be confused with the other Laksa–a coconut-milk and curry-flavored noodle dish. Penang Laksa is a noodle dish in spicy fish broth topped with various shredded vegetables. Give me a choice of Penang Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa (which Penangites aptly call “Curry Mee“), I will always choose this tangy, spicy, sour, and appetizing dish. The reason is simple: nothing gives me a better satisfaction than a bowl of piping hot Laksa with cut bird’s-eye chilies and dollops of pungent heh ko (Penang-style prawn paste). All the ingredients used might seem odd and bizarre to many–please believe me when I say this–but they are perfect matches made in food heaven. Penang Laksa is really that good…

Looking for a recipe? You’ve got it as it was featured on Rasa Malaysia a few months ago. There are many instant Assam Laksa mix that you can buy, but as a born and raised Penangite, I will tell you very candidly that there is really no cheat for a great bowl of Penang Laksa. Click here for my secret recipe of Penang Assam Laksa and here for an insider’s guide to eating Penang hawker food.

This Penang Laksa picture is shot at one of my favorite kopitiam (coffee shop) in Penang:

Kek Seng Coffee Shop
382-384 Jalan Penang
10000 Penang
Business Hours: 8 am – 5 pm

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28 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. The Expedited Writer

    Geezus Bee…whyyyyyyyyy, whhyyy show my favorite assam laksa *extreme droolage*

    I like the Assam laksa on Anson Road, too bad I don’t know the name of the coffee shop though. But the Kek Seng Coffee Shop one is good too….sigh, my tummy is rumbling.

  2. Jude

    Thanks for that recipe. I’ll take the time to round up all the ingredients and make it properly. No short cuts :)

  3. Cytusm

    Anyone agree that Air Itam Laksa is still the best? Kek Seng Coffeshop’ s Laksa is too sour and spicy. The soup is much diluted.

    Me, go for Air Itam or Genting (Island Glades) laksa.

  4. Annie

    For me, Air Itam is *the* standard for assam laksa. Although I’d jump at a chance to have real Penang food. So jealous!

  5. Passionate Eater

    I think there needs to be a restaurant in the U.S. called “Malaysian Hawker Food,” which serves the food in all of your hawker posts!

  6. Salt & Turmeric

    im not a penangite so i wud not join the others in choosing which is the best but i would jump at a chance of eating this. yup, the black sauce (geez, i cant remember wht it is called in malay!) is a must when u have laksa penang. it really compliments the sour-y taste.

    p.s. having this esp in winter is just heaven!

  7. pablopabla

    Did I just see cili padi sprinkled over the Laksa? Wah lau eh! That sure is fiery!

    And oh by the way, if Jaden is coming along to Malaysia with you on your next trip, make sure both of you stop over in KL for a makan session with me and Paris :D

  8. daphne

    The first time I ate penang laksa (in penang), I couldnt take the spicyness and strong flavours. I was 10 then. Then I returned 13 years later..and I can’t get enough of the taste. Amazingly good stuff.

  9. PenangTuaPui

    no doubts on Kek Seng laksa if you are going for the sour and spicy type.

    Huat Koay like it the most…

  10. Michelle

    That photo made me so unbelievably hungry. Is it okay to use tamarind paste if you don’t have fresh tamarind?

  11. Eleanor Hoh

    I am so thrilled I found your blog! Your photos are AMAZING! I also prefer the assam version to coconut – too rich.

    My family are coming to Penang in a couple of weeks for a reunion. My mother was born in Singapore. Can’t wait to try all the food.

    Do you have suggestions for Nonya food? It was our favorite when we were in Singapore. I teach wok cooking in Florida, USA but want to do some Malaysian foods cause people are constantly asking me.

    I would love your help with visiting good food markets for spices etc.

  12. CT

    what’s the black sauce in the spoon? ‘Petis’ is it? What if I don’t waant it? How do I discard when there’s no plate under the bowl?

  13. eRin

    i’ve been hooked on assam laksa since tasting it as a kid haha. my mom and i always look fwd to eating assam laksa whenever we return to visit penang. we miss having a good bowl of assam laksa with nice heh ko! thanks for all the pics and recipes! u’ve a great blog!

  14. Robert

    Miss the Curry Mee and most of the hawker food in Penang. I am a Singaporean living in UK and use to travelled up to Penang for a social game of football with my kaki of food lovers and drinkers and use to play with the veteran team of Penang Sport Club. After the game we as usual goes to Gurney Drive to have the best hawker food and love the roti chinai, juihe eng chye, satay and the best Penang Laksa with the shrimp paste hei ko…VERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY shiok. Waiting to go there next year for a holiday to see some of my old friends and also some uncle and Ah Soh living at Beach Rd. Also miss the tau sa piah…with the red bean paste… aya make my mouth water lah.. cann’t wait to have my holidays. The hawker food up there is far far better than our Singapore hawker food.

  15. KELVIN Q

    There are many good laksa in Penang and KL. The more the put in fish meat the thicker the soap and wahlah. Laksa according to my family has the most profitable margin except it needs a lot of hard work cutting salad and deboning the fish. Enjoy your assam and lemak laksa when in Penag.

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