A proudly Malaysian dish (this delicious combo has its roots in Peranakan cuisine), the humble laksa has gained a massive following, no doubt due to its tangy flavours and hearty coconut-curry broth.

Often described as a “spicy curry soup with a twist,” curry laksa is strictly served steaming hot (watch your tongue!), with noodles, some meat, bean sprouts, prawns, cockles, fish cake, and garnishes thrown into the spicy coconut-based soup for good measure. It is often served with a side of fiery sambal, garnished with coriander, and tastes absolutely delectable when paired with some fish otak-otak.

In Malaysia alone, there are several popular types of laksa – namely, Penang Laksa (of the assam variety, made with tamarind fruit, lemongrass, and fish), Sarawak Laksa (made Borneo-style with sambal belacan or prawn paste, tamarind fruit, and garlic added to its rich base, along with fried egg slices and a squeeze of lime), and Johor Laksa (from the southern state, usually made with galangal, mint leaves, Vietnamese coriander, and pickled white radish).

Eating laksa in the tropics may make you feel like you signed up for a sauna session, but the brilliant flavours and rich broth is worth all the sweat. Dig in already!

First published March, 2014

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