* Some of the dishes mentioned are not halal.
There is just something about asam laksa
in Penang that gets people talking about it with fondness. Even CNN Travel could not leave it out of its World's 50 Best Foods list in 2011. Yes, it secured the seventh spot on the list, just by being the delicious spicy-sour dish that it is.
If you must know, the world-famous asam laksa
is a fish-based noodle soup that comes with shredded fish (sardine or mackerel or both) and vegetables such as cucumber, pineapple, onions, red chilies and lettuce. The gravy includes tamarind juice, more chillies and lemon grass. When served, the dish would be topped with a tablespoon of prawn paste.
Hankering for some already? Here are five places in Penang to enjoy a bowl or two (Click on the restaurant's name for address and our members' reviews
1. Kim's Laksa @ Balik Pulau
Whenever you find yourself in Balik Pulau, be sure to drop by this asam laksa
stall in the Nan Guang Coffee Shop. It is located at the T-junction of Jalan Tun Sardon and Jalan Balik Pulau. Enjoy the thick, pungent taste of the soup while slurping the white noodles. Do not forget to wash it down with a glass of fresh white nutmeg juice with sour plum and it will be a perfect meal. Their best laksa
here served with asam laksa
, Siam laksa
) and Mix Laksa
. They are sold at RM3.50 and RM4.
Opening hours: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
2. Pasar Air Itam Laksa @ Air Itam
There are blog posts by individuals who profess their devotion for the authentic asam laksa
here. It is the spiciness and the generosity of the ingredients (including mackerel and lots of fresh vegetables) that draw the crowd every day. Despite being busy preparing the bowls of laksa
, the friendly operators make time to gesture to their customers to have a seat at any empty table.
This family-run business is now being operated by its second generation. They have been selling asam laksa
for close to 61 years in Penang. Each bowl of laksa
here costs RM4.
Opening hours: 11:15 a.m.–7:30 p.m., daily
3. Sin Hwa Coffee Shop Asam Laksa @ Pulau Tikus
The asam laksa
cook here named Max adds huge chunks of mackerel and toppings of fresh vegetables into the dish. After selling laksa
at the coffee shop here in Jalan Burma for the past six years, he has gained his own legion of fans that would sing their praises for his laksa
on the Internet. The types of laksa
sold here are asam laksa
and spicy laksa lemak
. They are available at prices of RM4 and RM4.50.
Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed Mondays)
4. Taman Emas Coffee Shop Asam Laksa @ Jalan Gottlieb
This coffeeshop is located opposite the Penang Chinese Girls' High School on Jalan Gottlieb. The sellers of asam laksa
here offer customers a fun twist to the dish. They encourage patrons to add on some popiah (spring roll) at 90 sen each and either dip or drench it in the laksa
soup, depending on how you want it. They use both sardine and mackerel in the dish, thereby giving the laksa
a unique, distinct flavour.
Opening hours: Noon to 5:15 p.m. (closed Mondays)
5. Penang Road Famous Laksa @ Jalan Penang
This popular coffeeshop is hard to miss if you happen to be wandering along Jalan Penang. Be prepared to wait for a table if you are here on the weekends or on public holidays. You can even order at the stall and carry it yourself to your table to save time. The broth is thick because of the amount of shredded fish. Enjoy it with the two fish balls added in for good measure. The laksa
here is sold at RM5.50 and RM6.
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily
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