We are looking again at Laksa Asam (or Asam Laksa) but the halal kind, in other words, Malay laksa. When compared with Penang laksa, the gravy of Malay laksa is not as thick and comes with a slice of hard-boiled egg. You won’t see bits and pieces of fish floating around because the fish is ground so fine in the gravy, making it a little watery. Mint leaves or Vietnamese mint (daun kesum) may be used as a garnish with sliced onions, red chillies and torch ginger flower (bunga kantan). We were hard-pressed to find very many exceptional stalls (readers are encouraged to recommend any).
D’Polo Cafe Lan’s Catering
Jalan Brash (across from the Polo Ground)
Gravy is mildly spicy but flavourful and comes with half a hard-boiled egg, garnished with mint leaves. Squeeze lime juice for extra tartness. The sweetness can be adjusted by adding the thick prawn paste that comes separate – RM4. Opens from 4.30pm till 2.30am everyday.
Laksa Ampang Ipoh
Stall under a big tree on Persiaran Wira Jaya Barat 32 (Off Jalan Raja Musa Mahadi between 2 Esso stations)
A very popular stall with the local residents – RM2.50
From 2.30pm to 7pm, Sundays closed; also sells cucur udang and pisang goreng.
MBI Terrace Stall No. 4
Greentown Business Centre
Comes with fried fritters (yeong liu), the reddish gravy is a little spicy – RM 3.50
Opens from 7pm-1am everyday (if weather permits).
There are many kinds of Laksa, all named from the places they originated, namely, Sarawak Laksa, Johor Laksa, Kelantan Laksa and Penang Laksa. Unfortunately, Ipoh does not have its own. However, the ubiquitous (Penang) Laksa Asam seems to have found its home here. This is the same kind of Laksa that the nyonya-kuih man used to cart around on his shoulders (pot and all). If home-made, fresh fish, like ikan kembong (Indian mackerel) or ikan parang (wolf herring), is used for the gravy which is soured with tamarind (asam). Rice noodles are used accompanied with julienned cucumber, pineapple, torch ginger, lemon grass, shallots, etc., garnished with Vietnamese mint, and drizzled with heh ko (prawn paste). The gravy is another one of those that is good till the last drop.
Places to try:
Kay Por (Kee Poh) Laksa (11.00 a.m.-5.30 p.m.)
216 Gunung Rapat, Ipoh (across from the Gunung Rapat wet market).
They claim to be “The Best Laksa in Town!!” and are also known for their yeong liu. RM2.60 for a bowl and the yeong liu are 50 sen each.
Dai Shu Keok (Big Tree Food Garden) (8.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m.; Wednesdays off)
Jalan King, Off Jln Tokong, Pasir Pinji (behind Tuck Kee Restaurant).
For those who like their gravy a little sweeter. A bowl is RM2.40 and the yeong liu is also 50 sen each.
Kafe Ipoh Central (7.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m.)
51 & 53, Jalan Raja Ekram (Cowan St.), New Town.
The delicious gravy has the signature sourish taste. A steaming bowl costs RM2.80.
Pasar Malam at the Perak Stadium (Wednesdays) or behind Tesco Jln Jambu (Tuesdays) for more choice.