As Asians begin to travel to the rest of the world, Asian food begins to make their ways around the world as well. If not in restaurants, they can be found in prepackaged mix gravy or the likes.
Laksa, as exotic as the name sounds, is still not a common item outside South East Asia. I guess it has to do with its spicy and concentrated mix of spices which made it difficult to prepare. Anyhow, it is something very unique to 3 countries in South East Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The are 2 types of Laksa, generally, the Asam Laksa (found mostly in Indonesia & Malaysia) and the Curry Laksa (typically from Singapore). The main difference lies in the soup and its soup base ingredients. They taste entirely different as well.
As I preferred the Asam Laksa more than the Curry Laksa due to the fact I grew up eating the Asam Laksa, I'm reviewing the Asam Laksa here.
Asam Laksa can be found mainly in 2 cities. Medan in Indonesia and Penang in Malaysia. The one in Medan is known as Medan Laksa and from Penang, Penang Laksa. Easy enough. Ok, there isn't much of a difference between these two other than they are just eaten in 2 different cities.
Asam Laksa is a kind of broad rice noodle cooked in hot & spicy soup accompanied by fish & garnished with peppermint leaves & some other local ingredients. It's usually eaten in the afternoon as either snack or main meal. It tastes best when hot. The soup is sour fish based. Asam is the Indonesian word for tamarind. This gives it the sour taste. Other ingredients added are lemongrass, lengkuas and chilli that give it a very distinctive taste. The fish used here is usually mackerel. Onion, cucumber & pineapple slices are also added as garnishes. In the case of Asam Laksa, NO coconut milk is ever used. No hard boiled eggs either. These 2 things are only found in curry laksa.
Well, there you have it, an entire bowl of exotica. Until you've tasted it, you'll never know what you've missed or if you'd like it. I love it and the thought of it simply makes me drool!
For those who are culinary experts and would like to try to make some Laksa at home, BBC has a Curry Laksa recipe online. Check it out and see if you've any success with it! I'm too lazy to cook anything that complicated when I could get them at the food court ;-)
Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture also known as Baba and Nyonya, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Indonesia, Singapore & Malaysia. The noodle used in Laksa is normally rice vermicelli (thick type) and it may varies to Hokkien noodle according to personal preferance.