Five Laksa Places to Try
Without a doubt the laksa – made of fish based broth that drowns out thick, slithery rice flour noodles – is one of the most popular dishes in Penang. It’s ubiquitous but vary in terms of broth thickness, discovers Su Aziz.
The one most people drive all the way to Balik Pulau for, is in a quaint coffee shop a few doors away from Balik Pulau’s bus station and market. Although they offer assam laksa, they’re mostly known for their Thai influenced, thick laksa broth with santan. For less than RM5, you’ll not only satiate your appetite but will cultivate an addiction for it. The accompanying spoonful of concentrated prawn paste intensifies the broth’s sweet flavour.
Along the windy road, before you hit Batu Ferringhi’s busy stretch, there are laksa stalls precariously perched on the road’s narrow shoulder in the daytime. Before the Hydro Hotel, there are two. These stalls offer the original leaner and lighter assam laksa of boiled fish, chili paste, asam jawa juice and bunga kantan broth. You can opt to perch on stools and savour a bowl of this or have it take away. It will cost you RM3 per pack of assam laksa with half of a hard boiled egg. If you are a big-eater, you may need two packs to satisfy your hunger.
Beach Blanket Babylon
On Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, around the corner from E&O Hotel is Beach Blanket Babylon. Popular for not only its location of beside the beach, their laksa lemak done Nonya style is very good. It’s RM 14 for a large, satisfying bowl of creamy and spicy broth, noodles and seafood. Go there hungry to enjoy it completely.
Everyone knows Gurney Drive’s sprawling hawker centre. A couple of stalls from the lorbak stall is where the assam laksa stall stands. Costing no more than RM4 a bowl, they usually serve this fishy-broth noodles piping hot. So, be careful. Ask for some sliced cili padi to accompany each spoonful.
This swanky all-day dining café of Macalister Mansion is newly opened and offers both Western and local fare. Their assam laksa is both substantial and comforting. A large bowl of RM18 along with condiments of mint leaves, finely sliced bunga kantan, onions, red cili and prawn paste simply adds to the light, soupy fish broth and noodles.