My first Singpore laksa in Singapore. So not like the crazy
Portland-style I initially got hooked on. Though Taste of Bali (clearly
wrong by using a touristy Indonesian city in their name) prepared the dish
non-traditionally, they did set my preference for the rich, coconut milk
based Singapore style. I'm totally ruined for the sour assam version you'll
find in Malaysia. My laksa love started as a near novelty, who knew that
half a decade later I'd have a full blown Malaysian/Singaporean food
I heard talk of, or at least had read of the "laksa wars of 1999."
Seriously. They're serious about this stuff and I don't blame them. And East
Coast Rd. is home to a row of laksa shops. But that's not where I went.
Accompanied by someone in the know, James's coworker Alvin, and short on
time (though he was low on workload due to the NYC blackout and subsequent
shortage of email directives) we tried the Katong Laksa, not in Katong, but
in cute, suburbanesque Holland Village. Alvin claimed it reminded him of New
Jersey where he grew up. If only I could just skip across the Hudson for
food like this.
Overly-vigilant, Alvin ordered the soup without the cockles. My stomach
could've handled it, I swear. The laksa "gravy" (it weirds me out that they
call the broth gravy) is thick, curryish, spicy, yellow, with rice noodles,
hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, shrimp and bean curd. I was told this stall's
trademark was that the noodles are cut up for easy eating. For a chopstick
bungler, that was a selling point. We also had otak otak, and fresh lime
juice, most likely from those adorable mini limes everyone seems to use over
The nice thing about Singapore stalls is that almost always you can
choose from a variety of sizes. Unlike NYC where everything is huge and you
want more for your money, in Singapore it's actually wise to order small
(which are never actually small) to save room for "second lunch" or "second
dinner" (as James and I took to calling our many food courses that didn't
fit into a traditional three square meals) This isn't an actual tradition
(that I'm aware of), we just invented the double meal on the fly.
Katong Laksa * Holland Village, Singapore