Malaysians love eating and maybe because of that we have 24 hours convenience stores and Indian Muslim restaurants that are doing well for some emergency midnight snacks after the party night or probably just a hangout place which is cheap after odd hours. Among the many types of local food in Malaysia, one in particular named ‘Laksa’ is something you need to try.
Firstly, let’s get a brief idea of what is laksa? Laksa is a type of noodle soup with additional seafood ingredients eaten together with a rice noodle. With one scoop of the soup you would be able to taste the hot spicy, juicy, sour, sweetness with fresh creamy broth of flavors. It all depends on the nicely combined ingredients for the soup.
Laksa has been in existence in Malaysia long time ago, and thus each states has their own uniqueness in enhancing the laksa’s in the states. Let’s read through and let your mind wander around of the mouth watery flavor of laksa’s in each state. Happy reading!
Laksa Sarawak (State of Sarawak)
There are no clear history of how it started but some sources were to said that a Chinese origin from China came to Sarawak and sold his noodle soup in a peddling bicycle. Another source said an Indonesian origin came to Sarawak and sold his recipe to a Cantonese woman. Setting aside the myths, to differentiate Laksa Sarawak, the ingredients may include Chicken slices, sliced omelette, prawns, beansprouts, Sarawak Laksa paste and vermicelli. But yet, it is believed that the Sarawak Laksa probably has more than 20-30 ingredients that only Sarawakian’s know or maybe the owner of the recipe who is making a fortune selling its paste now. 😀
Laksa Johor (State of Johor)
Laksa Johor is a special tangy mixture of ingredients. Although the soup is traditionally cooked with ingredients such as dried prawns, beansprouts creating sweet and light gravy, but, instead of the rice noodle, the noodle is replaced with Spaghetti noodle, a fusion mix of Italian and Malay style broth. According to the legend, in 1886 or so the reigning King, Sultan Abu Bakar was in Europe on an official mission. He was so astonished with Spaghetti Bolognaise and after returning back to Johor he has requested his Royal Cook to replace rice noodle with Spaghetti noodle. Unfortunately, you can’t really find Laksa Johor commercially in a restaurant, but the best time to eat it is during Hari Raya whereby most Johoreans will cook it as their main dish.
Asam Laksa (State of Pulau Pinang/Penang)
The sweet, sour and tangy taste of Asam Laksa is believed to have its origin from a Straits-born Chinese (Chinese immigrants) who came to Tanah Melayu during older days (Peranakan). However, we are unsure if there were any of this dishes in China itself but who knows! Anyway, the ingredients of Asam Laksa Soup consisting Mackarel, tamarind, pineapple & mint leaves are just enough to make the taste authentic. And because of that, Penang Asam Laksa has been ranked as the 7th Top 10 Yummiest Food in the World by CNN. We look forward for you to taste this lip-smackering dish upon your visit to Penang.
Laksam (State of Terengganu)
If you have eaten Chee Cheong Fun or Kuey Tiaw, the noodle for Laksam tastes very similar except it is with thick fish gravy. Maybe this dish has some similarities with Thai dishes but not too much. What is interesting about Laksam is that, upon the mixture of the noodle and the soup, which ingredients include white gravy of boiled fish and coconut milk, upon serving the Laksam, it is added with herb leaves such as mint leaves, coriander, cilantro, basils, shredded cucumber and also bean sprouts. If you’d like more kick in its taste then you might want to add a little bit of belacan (fermented prawns) and some chilies. It might be super-hot though!
Lakse (State of Kelantan)
We believe that the laksa from both east coast states which are Kelantan and Terengganu are quite similar. Except that, Lakse which is from Kelantan uses the normal rice noodle instead of the thick Chee Cheong Fun type of noodle. It is less spicy compared to Laksa’s of all other states. Normally Lakse’s ingredient is served with generous amount of mackerel fish with less herb leaves and some black pepper in comparison to Laksam. It has a very distinguished yellow which probably comes from the ginger.
Laksa Nyonya (State of Melaka)
In Malaysia, we have a small community which is called Baba-Nyonya whom majority lives in Melaka because during the reign of Parameswara, a Chinese princess was sent over together with her nobles and servants to Bukit Cina in Melaka. Entually, they have adapted the malay culture and their descendents are called Baba for the males and Nyonya for the females. The history of Laksa Nyonya is probably because it was first cooked by Nyonya’s in Melaka. What is special about it other than it’s a Peranakan food is its ingredients and the rich coconut gravy of its soup. The ingredients include belacan (shrimp paste), lime, cockles, fresh prawns & rich coconut gravy.
Laksa Kuala Kangsar & Ipoh (State of Perak)
Unfortunately, there are not many ancestry and restaurants that are selling Laksa Perak anymore. Although the ingredients for Laksa Perak is not so many, including handmade noodles with light gravy, prawn paste, fish mackerel and few others; we believe that many of the younger generations are no longer living in Perak. Thus, leaving the traditional recipe unlearned. However, if ever you have the chance to drop by in Pangkor Island, there is still a laksa seller who is still using a machine producing laksa from his ancestry which is more than 100 years old. If you are lucky you might be find him. All the best!
Laksa (State of Perlis & Kedah)
Since Kedah, Perlis and Penang are the Northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, maybe because of that the tastes of the laksa’s are very similar. However, Laksa in Perlis and Kedah are not as sour and tangy as Asam Laksa in Penang. Garnishing may include somesliced boiled eggs & some eel flesh.
Curry Laksa (State of Selangor & WP Kuala Lumpur)
Did you hear that the longer the curry is kept, the tastier it is? Well, Curry Laksa is special because if you were to prepare the paste for the gravy a week earlier, the richness of its ingredients might amaze you. But of course you need to learn how to cook the proper way☺. So, ingredients may include thick coconut gravy, deep fried tofu, cockles & long beans. As food junkie in urban cities are more, you’d probably bumped in few restaurants serving delicious curry laksa’s in city centre which may require you to que up to 2 hours. Don’t forget to make some research of the best time to visit these restaurants if you are really plan to taste Curry Laksa in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur.
Of course it looks as if the gravy has similarities in its ingredients but trust us, it is not the ingredients that makes it authentic, it is the way how Malaysians cook it to make it unique and authentic. So, after reading about the varieties of Laksa’s in Malaysia, we hope that if there is a chance, you would consider this mouthwatering dish with is very much loved by Malaysians. Hope you are not allergic to seafood though☺. For further itineraries of just a chat write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org