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Cheap & Good: No prawn paste on this Taiping assam laksa, Food News & Top Stories

Put apart what you recognize about Penang assam laksa and do this Taiping model of assam laksa.

It doesn’t use prawn paste as a condiment, however the full-flavoured broth greater than makes up for it.

I first tried the Asam Laksa ($four) at Taiping Authentic Asam Laksa in Kovan Market & Food Centre inside per week of the stall’s opening on June 9.

The preliminary sceptic in me was received over by the stall proprietor utilizing ikan kembong (Indian mackerel) in his assam laksa.

This is admirable due to the quantity of labor it takes to steam and debone the fish. Kembong fish has such pure sweetness and superb texture that canned sardines can by no means hope to match.

The topping of thinly sliced purple onion and julienned cucumber invigorate the palate with their refreshing crunch. Fresh pineapple offers a candy tropical fragrance to the dish.

No element is neglected.

Even the hard-boiled egg is cooked to the best diploma with none inexperienced ring across the yolk, which is a tell-tale signal of overdoneness. Instead of the standard laksa beehoon which is thick rice vermicelli, the noodles are a fatter model just like udon.

For $four, it’s a steal when you think about the quantity of effort required to place collectively this bowl of assam laksa.

But for all its fragrant properties, I discover that the broth lacked a sure punch, due to the evident absence of prawn paste as a condiment that I’m so used to having with Penang assam laksa.

This stall sells the Taiping, and never the Penang, model of assam laksa, which doesn’t require prawn paste. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

Stall proprietor Alvin Wong, 41, who is a skilled chef specialising in French superb eating, says he began this stall as he needed to advertise the Taiping model of assam laksa which omits the usage of prawn paste.

The recipe got here from his mother-in-law, who is from Taiping. Mr Wong is initially from Kedah.

He says: “The assam laksa is made with fresh ingredients and I want people to be able to taste the spices without prawn paste overpowering the flavours.”

His broth is made with shallots, garlic, laksa leaves and torch ginger flowers.

I go to the stall once more two weeks later.

This time, Mr Wong confessed that he caved underneath stress from irate prospects who insisted on having prawn paste.

After getting scolded nearly each day, he now has a squeeze bottle of prawn paste on standby.

But he retains it out of sight and takes it out solely when prospects request it.

I ordered two bowls of the Asam Laksa ($four), one authentic and one with the requested add-on of prawn paste.

To my shock, the broth of the unique with out the prawn paste is markedly improved from the primary time I had it. It is full-bodied and has a deep prawny flavour that’s well-balanced with the usage of spices and laksa leaves.

Trying the bowl with prawn paste, I now discover that the prawn paste muddies the flavours of the broth, interfering with the refreshing perfume of the spices.

As it seems, following buyer suggestions, Mr Wong augmented the broth by boiling the stock with extra prawn shells and growing the amount of spices for added oomph and physique.

He doesn’t use monosodium glutamate in his cooking.

Besides Asam Laksa, the one different foremost on his menu is Asam Seafood Soup ($5). You can even order a aspect of Chilli Prawn ($1) and rice (fifty cents).


01-24 Kovan Market & Food Centre, Block 209 Hougang Street 21; open: 9.30am to eight.30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays). Closed on Mondays

Rating: four stars

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