Ready to take a chance again…

It was in December 1973 when I first visited Penang. I was only 21 then…and it was then that I tried Penang laksa for the first time in my life. My friends praised it to the skies and insisted that I should sample the specialty of the island, so I did…and I did not like it. It did not look appetising – greyish black and as Queue often says, like shredded newspaper. I remember there was some cucumber and it had a peculiar taste. Since then, I never wanted to touch it again.

However, the other day, I stopped by a stall near my parents’ house. It was actually some housewife selling a few things at the gate of her house to supplement the hubby’s income. I don’t suppose she has the license to do that but at hard times like this, I must say that I do appreciate her effort in helping out to make ends meet…which is definitely better than what many are doing – turning to crime, for one and hence, the escalating crime rates in the country.

Anyway, that morning when I stopped by, she had some Penang laksa and since it was only RM2.00, Β I thought I would give it another chance and bought a packet…

Penang laksa 1

For one thing, it did not look that bad…and when I tried it, I found that it was actually quite delicious. It had its own unique taste, kind of exotic in a way with a special fragrance that some people may not take a liking to or will need time to get used to. Maybe it was the torch ginger (bunga kantan) plus all the other things in it – I think I saw some curry leaves and I was positive I tasted some belacan as well.

Penang laksa 2

Maybe I was still a greenhorn way back then in 1973, having left home for the first time and never exposed to dishes other than the familiar ones in Sarawak in general and specifically, in Sibu…and hence, my tastebuds were not that adventurous at that point in time.

This second time around, I have to say that I quite enjoyed it and I would not mind going for it again. But comparatively, in my opinion, Β I still think our very own Sarawak laksa is nicer…

Sibu e-Cafe's Sarawak laksa

What do the rest of you think?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

36 thoughts on “Ready to take a chance again…”

  1. penang laksa and swak laksa taste completely different lo
    da former one is sourish while da latter tastes like ermm…laksa =.=

    i prefer penang laksa as i likey spicy and sour food πŸ˜€

    Where did you go for your Swak laksa? As with Penang laksa, I guess there are good stalls and not so good ones as anybody from Kuching will tell you… Never heard of any good one in Bintulu…like Sibu before, but now there are a couple of good ones here. I would say they’re completely different and it is up to our individual preference.

  2. at the moment i prefer Johor laksa to Penang laksa, but then, i’ve yet to try the Sarawak version.

    Good grief! Johor laksa?…Is it the same as Singapore laksa…which is more like curry? I would like that. Even with Sarawak laksa, I would prefer it very lemak but true Sarawak laksa lovers do not like that! They’ll tell you it’s like curry! LOL!!!

  3. ha ha ha .. annant want to beat me is it? I got lousy connection at night. Have to log on in the morning .. well, I like laksa sarawak better and I’ve tasted terengganu laksa also, i dun really like it, laksa johor? Lagi la i dun like .. laksa penang – ok la not bad but still .. laksa sarawak la

    Hahahahaha!!! You kalah by berapa minit sahaja! Try again tomorrow! LOL!! Wah…got Trengganu laksa some more. Dunno what it’s like but some friends of mine from there visited Kuching before and they praised Sarawak laksa to the skies!!!

  4. Never tried laksa sarawak before so I can give an accurate judgement. But one thing I like best about penang food is the char kuey teow! So far I have YET to find any char kuey teow in other states that can beat it. πŸ˜€

    That, I must concede! Not because of anything but because the kway teow is a lot nicer – thinner, finer, translucent, smoother… Sibu kway teow – thick, white and coarse and no matter how you fry, it will not be as nice! But there are nice ones in Sg Petani…and I loved a stall at Jalan Alor in KL (Bukit Bintang)…, not just in Penang. I have never been to Johore though…and never had char kway teow in Malacca, so I wouldn’t know.

  5. *cannot

    Yup, I can guess as much. Btw, I have friends in Penang who will tell me to go here for the best char kway teow, go there for the best cendol and so on…but nobody ever told me where the best Penang laksa is. I wonder why…

  6. I never taste laksa sarawak..
    so I really don’t know what the difference is..
    but I like laksa..
    so I think any laksa can do..

    You eat everything? Hope u’re not the same shape as me. I like Penang laksa now…so when I go there again, I must go and try the real, authentic stuff…and review my verdict!!!

  7. here near my place got a stall operated by a kuchingite. they have laksa sarawak, chicken rice and also wantan sup but the laksa is rm 4.50 per bowl!!! apu .. parai

    Big or small? The special (BIG, as in the photo) at e-Cafe here is RM5.00…and RM3.50 for a normal bowl.

  8. if you love assam fish, what is there not to like? same difference except with the hair-koh.

    I think there’s more to it than just the taste of hay-kor… Our nyonya assam fish is sourish and spicy but does not have all those extra ingredients (bunga kantan and so on) that give Penang laksa its unique taste.

  9. Hve tried Penang Laksa b4,2 version,assam n lemak. I prefer the lemak ones, n my friend put ayambrand sardines n pineapples in them. Also tried Kl ones too cooked by KL friend, but I think I still prefer our Sarawak laksa though people not from there may not agree with me,I think to each its own always tastes better!

    Sardines? Pineapples? Eyew…but I guess when it’s not so easy to get the ingredients you need, you’ll just have to make do with what you have and adapt… Ya, I agree – to each his own!

  10. I love both types of laksa…where to find nice ones in sibu?

    Penang laksa…so far this is the only one I’ve had…but Sarawak laksa, the one I like best is at e-Cafe, the coffee shop across the road from the back entrance of Delta Mall.

  11. I kinda like Penang Laksa the first few times I tried it. Maybe because my friend from Penang brought me to an old run-down roadside stall which she claimed was already there when her parents were still dating. Got all the leaves and a spoonful of thick haykor (prawn paste). I like munching on the fresh peppermint leaves. So nice! After that some other friends brought me elsewhere and those were horrible so I phobia already! πŸ˜›

    I tried Johor laksa in JB if I’m not mistaken. The santan was thick and hence laksa was very full-filling. Hahaha! This one got sea ham wan (clams). Quite nice but somehow something which I cannot comprehend seems missing in Johor laksa.

    I never like Sarawak Laksa last time. Maybe because Sibu didn’t have really good ones to begin with. When I came to Kuching and tasted the Sarawak Laksa here, the rest, they say, are history! (By the way, I just came back from breakfast at Fat Cat and no prize for guessing what I had πŸ˜› )

    Gee! The influence I have on ur life!!! LOL!! I guess it’s about knowing the right places to go to…like Sarawak laksa too! Some good ones, but some really not worth trying!

  12. Oh, and have you tried Laksa Kedah??? LOL! Tastes pretty much like Penang Laksa to me. Maybe because of the near distant. The only difference is there are not much condiments in Kedah Laksa.

    No…doesn’t seem to have much in Sg Petani or at least at the town centre. They probably have that at the taman selera but that one opens only at night and I did not go there when I was in town last year.

  13. Oh and I’ve tried Kelantan version and they called it Laksam! Maybe got Thai influence because Kelantan so near that country. The soup is whitish, quite lemak and the mee is not bihun or eyew mee but it’s like kueh tiaw rolls. Got a lot of fresh leaves also. I like Kelantanese Laksam! Nice!

    Wow…you certainly are an authority on laksas! I’ve never been to Kelantan and Terengganu, so I dunno what they have there.

  14. penang laksa and kedah laksa are 2 big names. others… simply copycat πŸ˜›

    That’s your opinion against the others… Hahahahaha!!! And Laksa Shack is the last place to base your judgement on!

  15. HAHAHAHA! I did not realize I have tasted so many types of laksa – from north to south! Each has its own uniqueness. Generally they are all nice and it’s hard to decide which one I like most. But like Moses Lim used to say in one of the episodes in “Under One Roof”, ‘The best Maggi Mee is the Maggi Mee in your own cupboard’ and I tend to agree! πŸ˜€

    Yup…like all Sibu people will claim, no mee better than kampua mee!!! LOL!!!

  16. Never tried Penang laksa but I love Sarawak laksa!!! hehe

    …and now that you more or less know where e-Cafe is, you can go there and enjoy it the next time you’re in town!

  17. I don’t mind Penang Laksa for its sourish fish flavour… its unique in its own way and a refreshing change, Johor laksa is basicaly similar to curry laksa, pekat and lemak but first place goes to Sarawak Laksa of course hehehe

    Then I’d probably like Johor laksa…very lemak. Loved the laksa at Kuching (old) airport…thick gravy, soooo lemak!!! Yummy!

  18. Urgh.. Lindi loves penang laksa.. looks like recycled newspaper/facial tissues.. YEERKK. πŸ™‚

    Ya, I know Lindy loves it. You and your shredded newspapers…!!! LOL!!!

  19. I used to hate Penang Laksa too but after staying three years in Penang, I fell in love with it liao. If I am in Sarawak, laksa Sarawak is the best but if I am now in Penang, laksa Penang will be my favorite. I can’t find good Penang Laksa in Kuching. So, for the moment, Sarawak Laksa will be my first choice.

    Next trip to Penang, I’ll have to ask one of the locals to take me to the best place in town…and I’ll post a review on it. Now I only have what I had to judge…and I quite liked it!!!

  20. you should try kelantan laksa. it sure beats penang laksa anytime. btw, i’m a sarawakian and loves sarawak laksa!

    Hmmm…don’t think I’ll be going there anytime soon.😦

  21. have you tried Mr. Ho’s Curry laksa with the cha siew and siew yok?

    By the way.. when are you in town again and for how long?

    I think the last time I was there, C4STP had that…but I had had the lamb shank. Isn’t everything fixed for the weekend after Easter weekend? One night only.

  22. Oh yeah! Kpenyu in town ho… brought him to Tiong Hua Road yet? Guess its Karaoke session tonight… lucky Sibu Karaoke don’t have Proton Saga Kelabu in the song list.. hahahaha

    Ching Ming! Tiong Hua Road shop not open, meybe will try tomorrow! He’s attending his class reunion tonight. I’m not going, not same year.

  23. you probably forgot the taste of the original penang laksa you had. The one in Sibu probably had the taste altered to suit the preferences of the locals. Most of us from Sibu or more generally, Sarawak who study away from home, especially in West Malaysia, pretty much feel that Penang laksa is disgusting.

    The first time I had it, it tasted like vomit to me. I don’t know why. Probably same reason why foreigners think durians stink.

    West Malaysians think Sarawak laksa = curry noodles.

    Ya, many have the misconception…like about many things here! Probably like you said, they’ve adapted it to suit our taste…so that is why I found it quite nice. Just like they say Pizza Hut here’s different from overseas…

  24. Yes, everything is set for that date..

    Wah! His classmates having reunion during Ching Ming hehehe then again, guess most would be in town for this festival…

    Yup…heard response is really great! People coming back from all over! Very loyal SHS students unlike some… Humph!!! LOL!!

  25. Counted 10 prawns. Must be STP’s laksa! Previously when Lindy had penang laksa i would go ‘eweee’. Now with certain stalls selling good ones i dont mind once a while.
    Oh, i can even eat lui cha now.

    Eyew! No lui cha for me! It does not even look appealing! Ya…that’s the special at e-cafe, but those are very tiny prawns unlike the ones I got from kpenyu! One bowl is not big enough to hold one prawn… Hahahahahaha!!!

  26. I first tried Penang Laksa at “Penang”, a famous Malaysian franchise restaurant in the States. Then I tried it again at a small Malaysian restaurant in Atlanta. Not sure if they were authentic, but I was not impressed even though I love Assam Fish and Maggi Mee Asam Laksa flavor. I would much prefer my own laksa made from the laksa spice packs “smuggled” in by friends and families or us coming back from Sarawak … πŸ™‚

    I always thought those Asian restaurants overseas are there to bluff the ang-moh! But some are quite nice though…quite authentic. I guess you prefer Sarawak laksa then – Penang laksa is very different. I had laksa in Auckland NZ$8.00, huge bowl…but it was more like curry mee with some exotic flavours – not bad but nothing like Sarawak laksa at all!

  27. sarawak laksa is always the best! oops..
    and i m sure going to miss that when i m in penang…sobs 😦

    You’re going to Penang? When? Well, we may get to meet there whenever I go over to visit my daughter in Sg Petani, Kedah. Have to go via Penang.

  28. Sarawak laksa lar. I’ve tasted so many types of laksa but Sarawak laksa is still the best!!
    There’s an auntie selling Sarawak laksa at Kajang, tried it before, but still not as good as the Sarawak laksa back at hometown…Arghhh…You make me hungry…

    Welcome and thanks for dropping by! You’re in KL? Or Are you the one in Pahang? Stick around…and I bet there’ll be lots of things that will make you hungry all the time. LOL!!! You’ve got a blog too? Will check it out and add you to my blogroll…

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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