Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gastronomic tour of Penang: Where's the best Penang Laksa?

Penang Laksa at Joo Hooi Cafe, Lebuh Keng Kwee

A Penang food blogger said he doesn't know why but women love Penang Laksa. I don't know about other women, but I love how the sour and spicy flavours come together and this was even before I was pregnant.

Some stalls would put slices of pineapple together with the cucumber and onion slices, and that really drives up the yum quotient for me.

Everybody talks about the Penang Laksa (RM3 or S$1.30) at the Joo Hooi Cafe^ at Lebuh Keng Kwee, and that was our first stop on our first day in Penang. It was good. Really good, and I wanted more, more, more.

Penang Laksa from the Pasar Air Itam (RM2.70 or S$1.10), which is reported to be the best in Penang and some say Malaysia

But one needs to optimize calorie intake, so Terence hunted down another Penang Laksa stall for me which is located near Penang Hill^. It took us RM50 (S$21) to get to from Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa which is in Batu Feringgi. Cost was one thing; it took us 1.5 hours to get there because it was a public holiday and the roads to Penang Hill were chock a block with cars.

The cook wears a floppy hat

It is located in the Pasar Air Itam (or Air Itam market)^, and the scene there was of an organised chaos. There were crowds and crowds of people squeezed in the narrow alley way eating, waiting, ordering, cooking, walking, taking photos... everyone knew just what to do.

After all the fuss, our Laksa was finally delivered to us. Verdict:
- Terence says it tasted like they threw five decomposing fish in the soup.
- A blogger wrote that they put tissue paper in the soup to thicken it.
- I say: What the heck. It was a good experience.
- And I add: Go on a weekday and take a bus. Our return trip costs only RM$1.50 (S$0.60) to Komtar in Georgetown (heart of Penang)


Jorina said...

I lurve Penang Laksa too!!! The Singapore stalls cheat by using sardines instead of kum-mong (which my mum calls it; i dunno the Singapore name). The Malaysia ones are more authentic. I ate like three bowls (on different occasions) when I went KL. ;-p

Cory said...

sigh. miss penang.

Khay Mun said...

Penang laksa lovers unite!

I'm curious what kum-mong is now... I thought sardines is an acceptable ingredient to the dish, but that's probably because most Singaporean's first encounter with Penang laksa is probably in Singapore (with hawkers using sardines).

Cory said...

really? i use kum-mong all the time. it's the same fish they use for nasi lemak...

Khay Mun said...

Shows you how often I cook... don't know what is a kum-mong unless it's translated into English

Jorina said...

i think the one they use in nasi lemak is kuning fish which is smaller. kum mong is fatter and bigger. these are probably names my mum knew from Malaysia. in Singapore, they are called something else i suppose.


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