Finally, Penang Assam Laksa! For almost two years of being a Filipino expatriate in this Northwestern side of Malaysia working as a Medical Lecturer, believe it or not, it was only last weekend that I got to sample this noodle dish that recently ranked 7th among the top 50 most delicious foods in the world; a list released by no less than CNN. I’m thinking that with this confession, most Penangites would react that I was missing the world! So before one could conclude of anything, I’d like to
be defensive emphasize that I didn’t grow an aversion towards laksa, nor Malaysian dishes; in fact I like Nasi Lemak, Chicken Satay, Dim sums, Roti Canai, Chicken Tandoori with Cheese Naan and of course, Char Koay Teow remains to be one of my personal favorites, however, my taste buds usually go easy on the spicy ones.
Meanwhile, my first cousin, Glory Anne who has a fabulous work as an Associate Publicist for Riverbead Books in NYC tweeted this last June 5th :
Since last weekend was packed with Gabby’s field trip at Penang State Museum (View & read blog post here : http://docgelo.com/2012/06/10/a-day-at-the-museum/), I didn’t get a chance to give in to my cousin’s entire request but nonetheless, I wish this short but tasteful post on Penang Assam Laksa would giver her that Laksa-fix; or better, this might convince her to bring her own feet to Penang and try the hawker foods here for herself. How about that, Anne? My family and I will be your personal tour guides, of course!
Tangy. Spicy. Scrumptious!
It’s a completely different laksa dish that the whole world knows (perhaps, even my cousin?). Penang Assam Laksa is NOT the laksa that’s coconut milk-based infused with curry and prawns. This Malaysia’s sole entry to CNN Go’s World’s Most Delicious Foods is poached noodles in spicy and tangy fish broth flavored with ginger, tamarind (assam), chili, lemongrass, onion, pineapple (or in Old Town’s variant, shredded green mangoes), flaked mackerel and mint.
Penang Assam Laksa or Nyonya Hot and Sour Noodles in Fish Soup is indeed something to reckon with! My tongue was, for the lack of better term, devirginized with a rather commercialized version of Penang Laksa from Old Town. I’ve read online that one of the best considered authentic Penang Assam Laksa is sold in the Pasar or Public Market in Air Itam just at the foot of the famous huge and beautiful Buddhist Temple, Kek Lok Si. It takes efforts to get there (heart of the Penang Island) for someone like us who are currently based in Butterworth (Seberang Perai or Mainland Penang) but I know it’s a lame excuse to taste a real-hawker laksa sold out there. Anyway, what’s my verdict with Old Town’s Penang Assam Laksa?
Let’s just say it kept me craving for more heaping bowls!