We're here with Part 3 of our Laksa Shootout Series! When we started this series, we wanted to document (and eat) as many different kinds of laksas in Penang as we could. We've even had a really great time along the way! This time we're bringing you a couple of laksas that are off the beaten track but definitely worth a try.
Asam Laksa at the Ren I Tang Bistro
Full disclosure: we hang out at the Ren a lot. We start our food hops from here. The beer is cheap and the coffee is pretty good, the place is gorgeous and the staff really nice. None of that affected our steely resolve to have their laksa and bring you the most honest description possible.
This is probably the costliest laksa we've ever had, coming it at about RM16 (about USD4). That and the fact that it's being served out of a hotel bistro made us initially skeptical. We like their bangers and mash, and enjoy a lot of the fusion dishes coming out of this kitchen. But laksa?
Honestly though, this is some damn fine laksa. Many local vendors are feeling the pressure to keep prices low, even as costs go up. The result is a compromise on ingredients. But Ren doesn't have that problem. The coconut milk is rich and creamy, the sprinklings of bunga kantan and mint liberal and the satisfaction palpable.
Asam Laksa and Fishball at D'Laksa, Queensbay
This one is going to be a bit of a controversial entry. The D'Laksa stall is at the basement level of Aeon, Queensbay Mall. We actually discovered the place via instagram. People seem to like it! It's popular on social media! What could possibly go wrong!?
It's not much of a looker, that's for sure. Like most of the mall food, it's served in large paper cups/bowls. The staff squirt the broth and sauces out of hanging dispensaries. You're not going to get the neighborhood gossip from the owner while you wait. Overall, it feels very constructed. This is laksa that's coming out the end of a production line. That being said, it's actually pretty decent laksa.
What's your favourite laksa?
We really like contrasts here at HOP. You'll notice that both our laksa entries today are poles apart. One is served out of a bistro in painted bowls and the other comes to you in a recyclable paper cup, served at the local mall. We've always appreciated the diversity of food here and how accessible it can be to people from all walks of life.
There isn't necessarily a perfect laksa or a best laksa. Just one that really hits the spot for you, right now. And that's OK.
Have you had a laksa you've really loved? Let us know in the comments. Read Part 2 of the Laksa Shootout here.