Malaysian food: Laksa
Few types of Malaysian food are so typical as Laksa. According to the wikipedia, Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore. The name may originate from the Sanskrit word laksha (लक्ष), meaning "many" and referring to the soup's many ingredients; the word is also the origin of the Hindi term lakh.
What is your favorite food in Malaysia?
Malaysia is a food paradise. Not surprising if you look at the population of Malays, Chinese and Indians who all contribute to the unique Malaysian cuisine. But what did you enjoy the most in the Malaysian cuisine?
Was it the special Malay redang? Or a Chinese noodle soup? Did you rave about the tosais or roti canai? Please tell other travelers so they can benefit from your experience:
Laksa is almost everywhere available. Basically there are two types of laksa: curry laksa (curry mee) and assam laksa. The curry laksa is served in a coconut curry soup while assam laksa refers to noodles served in a sour fish soup. The noodles used are thick though thin noodles (bee hoon) are used too.
Spicy or not? Laksa for sure is one of the more spicy dishes you will find in Malaysia. In general of all Malaysian food, I found the Malay laksa spicier then the Chinese laksa. The assam laksa, with it's sour fish has a distinct different taste then anything else with the exception maybe of the Tom Yam soups you find in Malaysia and Thailand. Curry Mee is usually less spicy though you may have to ask for no sambal if you don't like it too spicy.
Curry laksa or curry mee
Curry laksa, or simply laksa in Malaysian food is a coconut based curry soup. Ingredients usually include tofu, fish, prawn and cockles. In Malaysia some hawkers sell chicken laksa, leaving the prawns. Laksa is usually spice also because it is served with sambal chili paste.
This kind of laksa is also known as curry mee in Penang while in other states people know it as curry laksa. The real difference is the kind of noodles used, thick white noodles in laksa mee while in curry mee they use the yellow noodles. Curry mee is one of my more favorite mee dishes and Mee Gerai Tzien Fatt in Sitiawan serves some of the very best curry mee in the surrounding of Pangkor and Lumut.
As I said, of all Malaysian food, laksa is almost everywhere available and it's very popular. There are a few varieties of laksa:
Assam laksa another Malaysian food based on fish soup. Recently I learned that assam is the Malay word for tamarind, a spice that creates the sour flavor in Malaysian food like laksa.
In a traditional assam laksa, fish like mackerel is used. Further you will find vegetables as onions, cucumber and lettuce plus fruit like pineapple. The noodles used are thick and white though thin white ones (vermicelli) are used sometimes. To make it even tastier, shrimp paste is added.
Assam laksa is very popular and is easy available at the beach of Nipah Bay or around the hawkers in the evening in Pangkor Town or Pasir Bogak. There are some varieties people make: