One of the most unique hawker food in Penang is the Penang Assam Laksa.
I used to have this crazy obsession for Penang laksa so I have tried almost all of the ‘famous’ Penang laksa stalls in the island and even the one in Nibong Tebal! Although now I can live without eating laksa every other day, I still do crave for the fishy, sour and spicy tang that is the trademark of our Penang Assam laksa.
So, today, I will recommend one of my favourite laksa stalls which I can get on Wednesday and Saturday nights. This couple have been selling laksa at the Farlim pasar malam on Wednesday and Sungai Dua pasar malam for years.
The amazing thing about this stall is that despite all the price increases, their price is still the same at RM2.20 for small bowl and RM2.50 for big bowl.
What I like about their laksa is essentially the wonderfully thick and delicious soup which goes really well with their smooth rice noodles.
The taste: The soup is full of fish with the right amount of assam so that it isn’t too sour and importantly, really thick. The rice noodles comes in two types, either the smooth one or the more kasar one. It is pretty self-explanatory so no need to describe it.
Being a laksa lover, it would be remiss of me if I don’t have a laksa recipe so that I could cook my own laksa (as and when I am not too lazy…heheh). So, if you think you want to try cooking your own laksa instead of buying it outside, here’s the recipe.
Cook your own Penang Assam Laksa
laksa rice noodles (just buy ready-packed from supermarkets)
800g – 1kg ikan kembong / ikan parang (or if you want to be more exotic, use salmon or add some crab meat)
10 fresh chilli
8 dried chilli
1 inch fresh turmeric
18 -20 small onions
2 clove garlic
5 buah keras (candlenut)
5 stalks daun kesom
1 bunga kantan, cut
4 stalks serai, smashed
50g tamarind (assam jawa)
1 1/2 cup water
4 pieces asam keping
1 small piece belacan (alternatively can use the packet belacan powder – 1 tbsp)
Black shrimp paste (hehko) (can easily buy from supermarket too)
1. Boil the fish in a pot of water. When the fish is cooked, take it out. Leave the soup to continue boiling. Debone and flake the fish.
2. Grind all the spices in a blender. Mix the sauce/seasoning and strain it.
3. Then add the spices, herbs and sauce to the soup.
4. Let the soup simmer over low heat until it thickens.
5. Add in the flaked fish and continue cooking the soup over low heat. Add salt according to taste.
6. Slice all the garnishing thinly.
7. Scald the laksa noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. Set aside.
8. When ready to serve, use a sieve to scald the noodles again in the soup and place it in a bowl. Add the garnishing and pour the soup over it. Add the prawn paste if needed.
Enjoy your very own homemade laksa! Do remember these ingredient amounts are only estimates so you could experiment the exact amount that suits your taste! Do test the soup before adding salt to make sure it isn’t too salty. The assam and belacan are already quite salty.