Di Tanjong Katong…

Di Tanjong Katong
airnya biru

These are the words of the traditional Singapore Malay song though I am not too sure  how far it is true now unlike when I was staying somewhere there in 1973. With the land reclamation over the years, if I’m not mistaken, it is actually quite a distance from the sea these days.

Well, I did eat at the shops at Katong then though I can’t exactly remember what and I am not too sure whether this 328 Katong Laksa place was in existence there already or not at the time…but it seems that they have a few outlets here and there in the island republic and obviously, it has become a franchise now and not too long ago, somebody set up the business right here in Sibu at the Sarawak House Complex…

KL1

It is not a very big place and on one wall, you can see all the celebrities that have dropped by the shop in Singapore to enjoy the laksa

mosaic

They also have a flatscreen tv showing all their promotional clips and television shows that have featured them one time or another.

Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with the people featured in their mosaic of photographs except maybe this guy…

AB

…or this one…

MY

…and a few others like Singapore actor, Li Nanxing or Taiwan singer, Richie Ren.

Anyway, my ex-student/lawyer friend, Louis, took me there the other night to give it a try. Actually, he had been there once earlier but he did not want to tell me what he thought of the laksa. All he said was that I could try it myself and give my own verdict.

I ordered the small bowl (RM5.90)…

KL small

…which was kind of very soupy – lots of gravy and quite a bit of the laksa noodles but hardly much else except for some bits of prawn and slices of fish cake and a few strands of taugeh (bean sprouts)…plus a glob of sambal belacan (dried fermented prawn paste). If you order the big bowl (RM9.90), you will get a couple of bigger prawns and half an egg along with the rest of the stuff…

KL - big

I tried a spoonful and my immediate response was, “Masak lemak!!!” Louis agreed wholeheartedly for he too thought that was exactly what it tasted like – the Malay dish cooked with a lot of santan (coconut milk) like this one, for instance, with nangka muda (young jackfruit) or cempedak

MLCM
*recycled pic – Bandong’s masak lemak cempedak muda*

It was all right, not bad at all…quite nice really… but I felt it could do with a bit more ingredients like serai, kunyit or bunga kantan to make it more fragrant and flavourful. A comparison of some sort would be it was like our rather diluted Foochow/Chinese curry compared to the thick and rich nyonya ones.

They had some add-ons on the menu and I saw cockles in the list and I wanted those but I was duly informed that all of them were presently unavailable. I also wanted to try the popiah (spring roll)…

KL pp

…but unfortunately, the lady said that they had not started serving that yet either. Anyway, judging from what I could see in the picture, it does not look like it is going to be as nice as the ones that I enjoy a lot here

How Nice popiah
*recycled pic – How Nice Kuching popiah*

At the present moment, all you can have here would be the laksa and the otah-otah [SIC]…

KL - o-o1

…at RM2.90 each…

KL - o-o2

That too was all right, not too bad…and Louis thought it tasted like SPAM. I would agree with that as far as the texture went but it tasted a bit different. Of course, it came nowhere near the ones we can get here

Payung otak-otak
*recycled pic – Payung Cafe otak-otak*

…and I would not say that it was cheap either as inside, there was only a very small piece…

KL o-o3

…and a very very thin one at that.

All things considered, I may stop by again sometime…but you certainly would not find me going out of my way just to go and eat something there…and thank you so much, Louis, for the treat!

Author: suituapui

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

55 thoughts on “Di Tanjong Katong…”

  1. “Di Tanjong Katong, airnya biru…” ooo, i remember that song. really lovely melody, a timeless classic 😀 gosh, martin yan looks really young in that photo! 😀

    Oh? You know the song? Don’t tell me you’re THAT old…like me? Hehehehehehe!!!!

    1. used to sing Lancang Kuning in hokkien style… LancXXX kuning, lancXXX kuning belayar malam…

      You must have been a really naughty boy! Bet you sang Bengawan Solo too, didn’t you? 😉

  2. I just looked at the colour of the Laksa’s gravy and I know that it must be good to my liking! I am expert in looking at laksa colours because my mum used to serve her lemak Thai laksa every CNY until she retired & threw up her aprons! LOL.

    Hey when are you taking a break from foodies and post all your ,many old B/W and faded photos!?? We love to look at you when you were slim, macho and horny looking!!! I love those taken in Singapore and Japan. I am sure you have tons of them.

    The test of the pudding is in the eating and just like people, you can’t judge food by the colour…or appearance.

  3. Ahhhhhhhh I know this place in Singapore near Katong area.

    I’ve had it before, not this particular franchised one…but what they called Singapore laksa or curry laksa elsewhere. Even had that in Auckland a long time ago – I think the one I had there was nicer, HUGE bowl, more fragrant, more tasty…and more ingredients on top but it was NZ$8 many years ago, dunno now.

  4. They hv set up a place in miri since april I think but until now it’s still not open. By looking at the price it’s in the normal local laksa range. Hope can try it soon! *it’s just located below my office*

    RM9+ is definitely more expensive than our local laksa which would have a lot more ingredients on top than this. Tastewise, I guess it’s a matter of preference – some people may like this better, others may prefer our own Sarawak laksa taste – they’re entirely different.

  5. Oppss, that bowl of laksa really looks like masak lemak. Not appetizing looking. One can tell whether the laksa is good or not from the colour of the broth. Looks like that lady is posing for you to snap.

    Lady? Where? Oh! That girl frying the “otah-otah”.
    Ya, of course, all Kuching people would be die=hard supporters of their own laksa – nothing can be better!
    😉

  6. Tried something similar (but hawker stall style where you have to collect your own food) in the island republic last year (instead of the mosaic of celebrity photos, this store was proud that the ex-PM Lee and current PM Lee ate at there). Different from the usual laksa offerings we get in S’wak but still nice.

    Yup, ok…but I think I prefer curry mee to this “masak lemak” kind of laksa but nothing beats our own Sarawak laksa, that’s for sure.

  7. Somehow I don’t fancy the katong laksa too much as it’s too lemak. I prefer the usual laksa.

    Yup, just very lemak…not enough fragrance to enhance the taste of the gravy. What’s the “usual” laksa? The curry mee kind or the Penang asam laksa? If you’re from here, of course, we would know that would be the Sarawak/Kuching laksa.

  8. well perhaps those people were celebrities and if so,
    that resto was as well famous huh,
    anyway the first dish looks great and bigger bowl is better haha
    as for that spamlike thingy over there it seems interesting too

    You would know Anthony, I’m sure…if not, Yan. Famous for his shows on those food channels on tv.

  9. At first when i saw you post the laksa in FB, i thought u secretly come to Singapore… kaka….

    Cannot afford lah! Hotel sooooo expensive – and with the exchange rate, I stay at some shoplot hotel there, I can stay at 5-star in KL – so much nicer…and same with the food! Can use the money to eat much nicer stuff in KL and elsewhere here.

    Hey!!! What a coincidence! Gordon Ramsay just went there too!
    Gosh! Just look at the prices:
    SMALL SIN$4.50 NORMAL SIN$5.50 LARGE SIN$6.50…compared to the prices (after conversion) here:
    http://my.entertainment.yahoo.com/photos/gordon-ramsay-learning-how-to-make-hawker-classics-in-singapore-slideshow/gordon-ramsay-chats-with-328-katong-laksa-founder-chef-lucy-koh-as-he-watches-her-prepare-a-bowl-of-photo-1373158595593.html
    But perhaps, it is nicer there, I wouldn’t know.

  10. wow, even Anthony Bourdain and Martin Yan were there, i was also trying to find the celebrities i know from that mosaic of photos, and i found a few actors and singers too.. wow, must be very famous like our Sibu Food Mayor lah this Katong Laksa..

    Me? Nobody knows me… Sobssss!!!!

  11. Hi Arthur! I too find the 328 Laksa so so only. Not bad but I would not go all the way to Katong to have a bowl of that.

    But last night the stall beat 3-star Michelin Chef Gordon Ramsay in a Singapore Hawker Face-Off challenge. To me, more publicity than anything else.

    If it is anything like what we have at their outlet here, I wouldn’t either. Nothing to get excited about really… 😦 Of course, they beat him lah…he’s ang moh, what?

  12. Ooooi cannot tahan any longer may wanna go for my curry mee after so long already. Think this is almost the same like those sold in my hometown.

    Same? Then, it isn’t all that great then… Would prefer the very lemak nyonya curry that I had with the roti jala at Nyonya Colurs – just dilute a bit and add laksa noodles, so much more fragrant and tastier than this one.

  13. Alo you take pixz of otak otak or the other pretty otak otak on the left? Pretend sahaja..haha.

    You think so? Great minds think alike, fools seldom differ…

  14. The laksa soup looks good. Hmm…what rating would you give for the laksa?

    Maybe a 6 out of 10 or less, just ok, passable…edible…but didn’t get me jumping with delight nor something that would get me craving for more.

  15. Haiyoh! Why use recycled pic one? 😛

    Easier for people to see and compare mah!!! If you expect people to click the links to go to the old posts to see the old photographs, I don’t think many would do so – that’s pretty obvious, don’t you think? I, for one, would not bother. Would you?

  16. I am not much of a curry laksa fan. The otak-otak looks so thin and for RM2.90 per piece it is really expensive.

    …and it did not taste like “WOWWWW!!!!” either. 😦

  17. aiyah Arthur. Why you keep reminding me of Kuching food? lol. Missed the Kuching popiah especially the one sold in Fat Cat cafe, Stutong. hehehe.

    Try the one here – very much nicer than any I have had in Kuching, I would say. They call it Kuching popiah… Click the link in the post or in my reply to Louis J’s comment above. (All the others you may find, sold at stalls here and there – don’t bother! All not nice!)

  18. the otak otak so penyek one….somebody sat on it ah?

    Pricey la if RM2-90.

    Yalor…so nipis and such a small piece – only the bungkus besar. Something like those frozen supermarket ones. Just wanted to try, wouldn’t mind if I never get to eat it again… 😦

  19. AH! So this Katong Laksa is the latest hit in Sibu? Saw someone post about this Katong Laksa in Sibu, thought what is that. And today i just read in some blog, about Ramsay visit hawker stall in Singapore, and learn how to cook Katong Laksa.

    Ya…I’ve the link to the report in my reply to somewhere-in-singapore’s comment. Don’t bother adding it to your list of must-visit places in Sibu, not great and not cheap…and so many other nicer things to eat here.

  20. Wow lots of celebrities on that wall. Are you on the wall? 😉 The only ones I know are Anthony Bourdain and Martin Yan. I used to watch Martin’s cooking show, Yan Can Cook! faithfully. If Yan can cook, so can you! Is how he usually ended his cooking shows.

    LOL!!! Yes, I used to watch those shows of his on TV too – Wok with Yan…not much entertainment and things to keep one occupied in those pre-internet days. No, of course I’m not on the wall… 😛 I don’t know many of the rest either actually…

  21. I always like it when restaurants have photo boards of who stopped by – whether it’s celebrities – or just a group of friends and/or special customers and patrons! I think it gives it a nice family/friendly feel of community and happiness!

    I’ve seen lots here – usually foodies from the local or Asian food shows. I wouldn’t bank on those – not even those accredited by some popular websites like Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor as I’ve been to a couple and the food wasn’t all that great. I guess taste is a personal thing and one man’s meat may be another man’s poison.

  22. The curry laksa surely looks delicious. Over here, we have lots of version of curry laksa. Sometimes, I also confused which one is the authentic version.

    Not fragrant enough. You remember the Foochow curry you had when you came to Sibu? I think that one is nicer even – more curry flavour. This one’s like those Malay sayur masak lemak.

  23. Rich…very rich bowl of laksa that you will drown in coconut milk. That’s how my dad describes Katong laksa to me when I as a child. Obviously the “drown in coconut milk” frightened me quite a bit and I wonder if it has something to do with my lack of fondness for curry laksa or laksa with coconut milk as a general rule.

    Yup, all lemak…with coconut milk plus milk, that’s about all there is to it. Would probably be nicer if they had other ingredients to give it the much-needed extra fragrance and taste.

  24. I unexpected tried the laska at Hung Fu seafood at Medan Mall and I like it best. They only have it in the morning. The only type of Laska that I still couldn’t get used to is Penang Laska.

    Oh? Will go and try one of these days. Thanks for the tip.

    1. Please tell me what you think when you do. Though not as good as when they first had it, it’s still pretty good.

      Will blog about it. Seldom go that side of town though…so it may be a while before I get down to it.

  25. I miss Katong laksa so much!
    In the old days, they used to top their laksa with lots of laksa leaves.
    Alamak, these days you only got a little from them?

    Leaves? What leaves? No wonder I thought something was lacking. The one we get here is in dire need of those stuff people add for that special fragrance and taste. Otherwise, it will come across like some very diluted gravy cooked using a bit of curry powder and a lot of coconut milk and evaporated milk – just lemak (rich), that’s about it. Maybe the real thing is a lot nicer than this… 😦

  26. We just call them laksa leaves in Johor.
    No, they’re not as pungent as curry leaves.
    I had a quick look on Wikipedia, laksa leaves are also known as Vietnamese coriander.
    Ah… no wonder the fragrance is so nice lah. 🙂

    Ahhhh!!!! Daun kesum. Very nice! It would have been nice if they had those in the laksa…

  27. I do admit to liking the Sg Katong Laksa… its very lemak and fragrant. Saw your FB the other day and saw the instant Sg Laksa… love that too.. its different from all the laksas I had before…

    You had the Sarawak ones? Maybe we’re biased or simply just used to the one here…so we do not really fancy the Katong one. Maybe the one in Singapore is better, I wouldn’t know. The one here…quite plain, I would say…just very lemak…and that’s about all.

  28. In 1973, if I remember rightly, there was only the original Katong laksa, and it was at the corner of Ceylon Road and East Coast Road. I used to live near there in the 60’s.

    I stayed at Teluk Kurau Road Lorong N, I think, in 1973…and yes, I had the laksa in Katong…though I would not know if it is the now-celebrated Katong laksa 328 or not. I remember there was a shop, the first one on the left as I walked out towards Katong – the Indian food stall was very nice and very cheap too – their curry squids at that time…and also the Singapore fried Hokkien mee wrapped in opeh leaf, very nice one there. Not too sure but maybe that’s at the junction of Still Road and East Coast Road.

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.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s