Learn to love…

I first tried the celebrated Penang assam laksa in December, 1973 on Penang Hill and I did not like the seemingly-peculiar taste…or at least, that was what it felt like at the time. On another occasion, I just tried a little bit of it when somebody had a bowl of that in KL and I was not that crazy over it either.

On the other hand, my daughter has had it a couple of times in Sungai Petani and even with her friends in NZ, and she quite enjoys it. Well, the only place that I know of in Sibu where they do sell the laksa would be at my regular Malay kuih-muih stall at Bandong. The problem is by the time I drop by in the morning at around 8 something, they would all be sold out. That was why, the other day, I had to reserve a few packets and we were able to have that for lunch…

Bandong Penang laksa 1

It has some kind of exotic taste that would probably put off those who are not very adventurous when it comes to their dining pleasures but lately, I am more into that kind of cuisine…and that day, I found that I actually liked it a lot. It was particularly nice with a squeeze of calamansi lime, giving it the extra fragrance and a bit of sourish taste.

Bandong Penang laksa 2

This only costs RM2.50 a packet and my daughter had one for lunch and another for dinner so that should give you a fair idea as to how nice it was.

Hmmmm…perhaps on my next trip to Penang, I should go and try the one at Air Itam which many people claim to be the best of the best…

Air Itam Penang assam laksa

I wish they would, in the meantime, replace those wobbly metal stools and the equally unstable tables though…and I will make sure that I will not look at the black murky water in the drain this time… LOL!!!

Author: suituapui

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

40 thoughts on “Learn to love…”

  1. Peculiar is a good way to put it. Tried it last month at a place called Banana Leaf here and didn’t like it one bit. Too sour and has that strange ‘peculiar’ flavor, as you called it. As for that black murky water, I used to fish in those cesspools which we call ‘drains’ in Sibu and even fell into one once. Had a hard time washing off all that organic matter.

    Exotic, I would call it. Ah! That must be the real thing… I think this one here is toned down a little – not as pungent, not too sour…just right. You can try it when you come back. I’m sure you’ll like this one. Have to book though…sells like hot cakes, always sold out!

    1. I’m looking forward to going to that Bandong place, especially to get those peanuts and to get the other goodies. I think I’ll pass on the AL though.

      Awww….give it a shot. I didn’t like it before but now, I love it. LOL!!! 😉 And talking about the peanuts… Hey! I have not seen them selling those for a while now. Hmmmm…must ask them about that one of these days.

  2. I love assam laksa! I even learn to make my own, simply yummy but there’s a lot of work involved.

    I can see that…the grinding of the fish and all the ingredients to use. I think I’ll just buy when I feel like having any.

  3. Strange! Just last Friday I went to a food court at Lido and guess what I found?…..Assam Laksa!!! They didn’t have this dish during my last visit there a couple of months ago. This one is good. I’ve tried several in other places around KK. This one, so far, is the best I’ve tasted.

    Just like you, I didn’t particularly like it the first time I tried the dish way back in the ’85. However, it is now one of my favs. So, this one’s quite good. Well, it has to be since the stall owner is a Penangite. At RM5.00 a bowl, its a little expensive. But then, everything is expensive in KK!!!

    I love the food in KK – I would think it’s better than KL anytime. RM5.00 is o.k. if it is really good. I suppose the Ngui Chap is at least RM8.00 or more now… Never mind, after all, all you people there so very rich bah… Muahahahaha!!!! 😉

  4. My sisters said the same thing, STP.. minus the drain and they will go.. the longkang add flavour to the laksa, I told them.. without it, it is not air itam laksa.. hahahaa…

    Ya…it seems that in Penang, you’ll have to go to those old, dark and murky places and you will get to eat the best of whatever you’re looking for. There’s a place with some hawker stalls under some huge trees…among the modern complexes – the char kway teow is one of the best around.

    We do not have such places here anymore – coffee shops must be tiled and nicely painted and kept clean, no cooking and selling of stuff by the pavement…and there are nice hawker centres built by the authorities for the purpose.

    1. Claire ah… makan laksa tepi longkang baru syok ma… baru ada umphh…ur sister tak tau enjoy food…lol… u more pandai makan. Hahaha… Ipoh got such places anot? Bring me go… CNY that time I try bodek hubby go Ipoh oso… else I just rot at MIL’s place oni… 😛

      Eyewwwww…. In Sibu, if so dirty, the town council people will give warning and if ignored, they will close down the place. Sibu used to be the dirtiest place in the whole of Malaysia…but not anymore. The authorities have done a very good job and giving the town a new image…and by the roadside like that, no fan! I will faint…or sweat plus-plus!!! All the discomfort, sure will not enjoy the food! 😦

  5. Your guys in Sibu are serious? 8 something already finito the assam laksa? 7 early 8 early makan assam laksa? Phew tabik to you fellas in Sibu. Old folks here would not allow us to eat assam laksa on an empty stomach..haha

    This stall caters to the kampung people who will stop by after their morning prayers in the surau nearby…and the parents sending their children to the primary school across the road…and people going to the offices will stop by to get their breakfast stuff for themselves and their colleagues – so when I go at around 8 something, much of the good stuff would have been sold out. 😦

    1. @Bananaz… 8am for assam laksa is ntg. I can makan assam laksa at 3am… what do u say to that? LMAO.

      Me too…as long as it’s food, any time of day ok. My missus will say she cannot eat too early in the morning…but I suspect she’s too lazy to cook a good breakfast. Hehehehe!! 😉

      1. Cleffairy!!! Gosh boleh kah 3am? Think its our mindset from young when we are NOT supposed to eat and that’s playing some ‘tricks’ in us. Once was very hungry in the evening then wallop assam laksa kena gastric & got scolded. “See I told ya so!!!” Wonder its the assam laksa or the hunger that caused it maybe both? Just like pisang, old folks said got *wind* cannot eat early in the morning on empty stomach. Same effect after makan-ed sure bloated stomach. Mind over matter I guess!!! Still the very ‘old mama said story’ stays forever..lolz .

        Ya…it’s all in the head. Like my missus, always say – too early in the morning, cannot eat but when staying in hotel, 6.30 go for breakfast, no problem at all leh? 😉

  6. Got a friend out of the blue sells curry mee and har mee without any experience at the market place and thought would be a great biz to venture. He got stiff competition from two strong stalls selling one ton mee and koay teow th’ing. What he didnt realise was merely aunties and uncles *except Pete & STP* go marketing bringing along their kids in the morning. Old folks & kids cant take spicy food or perhaps his curry or har mee is very teruk. Eventually bungkus the biz and open a mini market in B’worth, again here no experience totally. He got guts..dunno what happened to him now.

    Maybe his not so good eh? Well, at least, he keeps trying… That’s the spirit. But business also needs a lot of luck – some may do well, others will keep closing shop no matter what they do.

  7. Bro *lau nua liao* drolling, so how?

    You can try Paramount? Pete took me to this place selling all kinds of Penang hawker fare. They have Penang assam laksa there… Hehehehehe!!!! 🙂

  8. the one at Air Itam is nice but quite disgusting place to be.. .esp next to the drain.. we usually cross over to the market opposite, more seating space and ask the guy to deliver over. I like yr Sg Petani laksa better. Known as Malay laksa or Laksa Kedah. V healthy and not oily at all. yumzzz.. over at KL, there’s a chinese man by name of Ah Meng selling laksa kedah around the pasar malams.. when i catch hold of him, I’ll surely order a large bowl or even more 🙂

    I went to Air Itam but one look at the place and the laksa, I did not want to eat anymore…and also, I had Penang char kway teow at a previous stop and I was quite full then…so no, thank you. Yup, my daughter learnt to eat that in Sg Petani and she likes it a lot. That was why I had to go and book a few packets for her – and she said it was good, as good as what she had in Kedah! 🙂

  9. Yum..love assam laksa. I like it more than any other type of laksa. Somewhere quite near to where your brother lives, there’s a place that sells assam laksa.NZ$9.50 a bowl. After makan, you’ll feel geli-geli…don’t know why..lol. Not that nice also.
    How come your assam laksa don’t have the otak udang? Not complete ler…that’s the stuff that makes the dish extra syiok!

    Maybe the fish they use – not the same kind of fish that we get here? Melissa says her Malay coursemates in Welly would just use tuna…and make do without a lot of the ingredients. Well, beggars can’t be choosers… No otak udang here, none in Sg Petani or Kedah also, my daughter says – only in Penang. They have that it almost everything – curry mee, chee cheong fan, even their steamed yam cake…

    1. Huh? No otak udang? LOL… chamzz… put otak udang eat wif this very nice…. mebbe I can get some and post otak udang for u. I always have a tub at home for my weekly laksa fix!

      No need. They sell otak udang in the shops here. Last time, I used to buy to make the sambal for my fruit rojak. These days, they have the ready-mixed ones so I do not bother to make my own anymore.

  10. That type of laksa noodle is hard get over here. I think i onie had this type of noodle once when i was at Penang. Normally the one i have at pasar malam is transparent one

    No leh…you can buy these at supermarts, even here. It says “laksa” on the packet – I thought it was just mihun, thebigger version?

  11. The asam laksa looks good! And so cheap!! I would have 2 bowls on the spot, instead of saving one for dinner! LOL!

    Wah!!! You seem to be eating a lot lately – prawn mee also must have big bowl? Got craving also or not? Wink! Wink! 😉

  12. my late mother in law really like to cooked Assam Laksa. Now make me miss assam laksa she made. Btw, in sibu where can get mint leaves? cause Assam Laksa is not complete without mint leaf as garnish

    I think mint leaves are easily available in Sibu nowadays – probably the native produce market. If you eat at the Malay shops here and you ask for the ulam, they will give you those mint leaves. My missus likes them, not me…

    1. Ooo… Annie u dun like this one?

      She typical Foochow…not into a lot of things – more at home with the Foochow delicacies like kampua noodles and zhao zai hung ngang. LOL!!! 😀

  13. Not my favourite but sometimes do have the crave when feel like eating something sour.

    I did not really care for it before…but now I’m beginning to like it. Maybe bored of the usual stuff already, looking for something different for a change. And btw, when do ladies crave for something sour? Wink! Wink! Muahahahaha!!!! 😀

  14. OH, GOD, help me! This is my fav! *FAINT* Must go buy laksa later… beh tahan liao. T____T this one, add abit of vinegar chillies, sliced pineapples, otak udang, OMG….

    I love this to bits, and since this mth I have yet to get my laksa fix, I’m gonna buy 4-5pkt and makan! LOL!

    Wah!! Your craving so very serious kah? Hmmmm…there may be some truth in kucing’s speculation after all. Wink! Wink! Muahahahahaha!!!! 😀

  15. Sighh… I can makan this 2-3 bowl in one sitting… OMG, beh tahan…. I must go out and hunt for some now!

    Quick! Quick! Go out and eat puas-puas… If not, later your baby will salivate badly. Face, saliva all over…so smelly…nobody wants to kiss. Muahahahaha!!!! 😀

  16. eerrrm, looks yummy, but i’m so particular bout assam laksa, I like sourish food..but if too fishy, i can’t tahan the smell…

    This one’s very good… Don’t have the fishy smell – very fragrant from all the leaves and what not that they use in the preparation.

  17. My SIL would love this type of laksa. The noodle must be white one and not the clear one

    Got clear ones kah? I thought all white? Like mihun, also white… Clear ones, tung hoon already.

  18. I like a good bowl of assam laksa, too. Gosh, looking at the pics makes me salivate!

    Yes, must book again for my daughter…at least one more time before she goes back to NZ in a few weeks’ time… 😦

  19. Actually the air itam laksa is over rated. My hometown is in air itam. I find the dish normal, last time got rumors say they added tissue inside, haha but that’s just rumours.

    LOL!!! It certainly looks like shredded newspapers. Well, whatever it is, one thing we cannot deny – the air is really itam! 😀 Btw, where were you all day? Was wondering why you haven’t dropped by… Must be very busy – Monday, back at work. Whole week off next week? Going home for Chinese New Year?

  20. hmm…there’s no malaysian restaurant here in the philippines so i don’t really know what assam laksa is…but if it is a bit sour, then i think my friend will like it 🙂

    You may have something similar there. After all, we’re so close…and Ishmael & bluedreamer did mention some kind of sour soup that you have there.

  21. I think I saw some being sold by the Malay aunties at Farley. I work here as a part timer :p

    That’s the far end of town… I certainly would not want to go all the way only to find that it’s not as good.

  22. yehey finally i made it here!!!
    wahhh… oh no… can i just skip the photos hahaha
    not taking my dinner yet and it’s 4 am already…. and i’m still awake… and my tummy is making weird sounds already… and now i’m hungry and craving waaaaah…
    No stores open as early as 4am sobs…
    I should have taken my dinner awhile ago and now… i can find nothing to eat on our fridge huhuhu

    Why are you up so late? Wait a while longer till 5.00 a.m. and you will have more photos of food. LOL!!! No 24-hour places there – we do have in Sibu…and even KFC here as well opens 24 hours.

  23. for me, i always love assam laksa la. maybe because i love fish. try the assam laksa at the old town, its good, but not sour enough, and when ask for the limau ka that name, limau kasturi(?), they charge rm1.50 . daylight robbery!!! YOU can try make it yourself and post the recipe. hehehe
    the best assam laksa that i had is home cooked. home cook food is the best ba

    Dunno how to cook…all the leaves, flowers and what not to make it so wangi…. Old Town franchise place mah…all those franchise places – more expensive and even when quite nice, not really great.

  24. HIGH 5 with Melissa, I like Assam Laksa too! The one you shows in the picture looks nice leh… pathertically it’s hard to find a good one nowadays, can you imagine I haven’t have a bowl of good assam laksa for more than 20 years!

    Melissa loved it, said it was good as one she had in Sg Petani… I did not use to eat the stuff so I would not know the difference much – to me, it would be either nice or not nice…nothing to compare it with.

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 sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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