It is said that Peranakan cuisine is designed as a system of control by the matriarchs: the food is as delicious as it is tedious to prepare. The former is a trump card to manage errant husbands and the latter to keep daughter-in-laws busy under an iron fist. This power play also gives rise to a very discerning palate.
Katong is well-known, among other things, for its concentration of Peranakan, but where do the Peranakan ladies gather for lunch?
My first experience with Penang Assam Laksa was at the Gurney Drive beachfront before it all got relocated because of serious erosion. It was an epiphany for me on the balance of flavors. On the seafront with a strong wind blowing in, it was comforting yet spicy and very playful. Much like the shoes of Jimmy Choo, a Penangite.
It was as if the entire troupe from Riverdance were having a party in my mouth. With fireworks. Within a space of 10 minutes, I had slurped down 3 bowls of Assam Laksa. It was an experience I have not forgotten.
The closest I’ve ever been to recreating the experience in Singapore was the Penang Hawkers Fare at the York Hotel. Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to them. Thus, I’ve been on a lookout for a nice Penang Assam Laksa.
Recently, I’ve noticed a small restaurant called Penang Recipe on Upper Thompson Road that featured Penang cuisine. It had Assam Laksa and the other famous Penang dish Lor Bak. So there’s no helping but to give it a try no?
Chicken and egg not included in the package
It all started when Su-Lin tweeted about the possibility of obtaining the Prima Taste Laksa La Mian. This piqued my interest because next to Mee Siam, Laksa is my favorite noodles.
However, both Mee Siam and Laksa require a lot of work to make, so any commercial effort to make these two noodle dishes easy-to-prepare would be an instant hit.
Immediately after leaving the hospital, Simon asked if I wanted Kelantanese or a simpler meal. The latter being KL’s oldest continuously running coffee shop since 1928.
Having just stepped out of the Emergency Ward on wobbly legs, I decided to go for something less adventurous.