Laksa Sarawak: Breakfast of the Gods
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
Nobody takes laksa more seriously than Kuchingites.
A discussion on laksa can easily turn into an intense conversation that could rival a DUN sitting.
A rather subjective topic, each of us has our own opinion on where to get the best laksa in town and while we may stick to our favourites, we are also open to try a new laksa place.
Typically, a bowl of Sarawak laksa consists of rice vermicelli topped with egg strips, shredded chicken, beansprouts, prawn, fresh coriander with a side of sambal and lime.
What brings all these ingredients together is the broth which is made of sambal belacan (shrimp paste), sour tamarind, galangal, lemongrass, herbs and spices, chicken stock and coconut milk… the perfect combination of these ingredients can easily make one’s mouth water just by thinking about it.
So, for the love of food and laksa, Borneo Post SEEDS set out to look for new laksa places to try out and taste.
‘Small’, ‘Large’ or ‘Ridiculous’
Depending on how much you wish to consume, you may now have the luxury to choose from three different portions of laksa from Liew’s Laksa, which are available in sizes ranging from small, large or ridiculous.
“For ridiculous size, you will be given five prawns along with a lot of everything else,” said laksa maker David Liew.
Liew started selling laksa two months ago at Bormill Food Centre. For those who may find him familiar, he was previously selling Ngiu Chap, a kind of Sabahan beef noodle dish at Seventh Mile.
“I stopped making them as it requires a lot of work and help. Previously, my wife helped me in the preparation, but now it’s difficult as we have two kids at home. But someday, I will start selling them again,” said David.
For now, David set his heart on making laksa as he has always been a laksa fan.
His laksa checks off most of the prerequisites: rich red broth, shredded chicken, egg strips and a good chunk of vermicelli noodles.
What makes this laksa uniquely his is the homemade sambal.
“I made the sambal myself and the belacan used for the sambal is homemade by my wife’s family in Bintulu,” he said.
In future, David said that he planned to include more choices of noodles for his laksa besides vermicelli noodles so customers in future can choose either oil noodle or silver needle noodle (rat noodle or mee tikus as it is known locally).
Pretty in Pink
Tucked in a corner of a coffeeshop at Jalan Pending, Ng Chuean Chiang can always be seen making laksa while talking to his customers as they wait in front of his stall.
Having been making laksa for about 15 years, he is now operating his laksa business at ABC Food Corner and has been receiving positive reviews about his laksa.
“I always got more orders on Sunday as that is when families would usually come and have breakfast together,” said Ng.
Spicy and flavourful without being too overpowering, one can tell that Ng’s laksa is simply satisfying with every bite just by looking at the presentation alone.
He adds scallops to his laksa, which really brightens it up as the blushing pink of the scallop shell complements the fiery crimson red of his laksa broth.
When asked where he got the idea of adding scallops to his laksa, Ng said that the idea just came naturally and by this his loyal customers get to enjoy his laksa with fresh scallop everyday.
With additional secret herbal ingredients added to the broth, his laksa is both creamy and savoury.
While a bowl of laksa is normally presented with a good chunk of vermicelli noodles in the rich goodness of laksa broth, here in Toffee Café of Jalan Rock, you might be tempted to try a new type of laksa – fried laksa.
It might look like a normal fried bee hoon at first, but as you lift up the vermicelli noodle with your chopsticks, you can actually get the aromatic whiff of laksa right before eating it.
And while it might be a bit spicy for those with a more delicate tongue – especially when a bit of sambal is added with every bite of the fried laksa – you can cool it off with various choices of ‘ais cendol’ (shaved ice) available at Toffee Café.
Recently opened about three months ago, café owner, Alice Sim introduced the must-try dish at her café about a month ago, an idea she initially got from a friend.
“As of now, I haven’t put it on the menu yet, but customers can order it if they want to. Right now, we do have customers asking for fried laksa at the café,” said Alice.
While it may not be on the menu yet, it is highly recommended for food lovers to try.
Once called the breakfast of Gods by Anthony Bourdain, laksa is the pride of Sarawak. And with new laksa places sprouting around town, laksa lovers will have the thrill finding a new favourite.
So, head on to these laksa places and tell us what you think. Bon appétit!