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Bowl of flavourful goodness
Monday 18 Dec 2017
Kuala Lumpur
A collaboration between RapidKL, The Malay Mail and RebeccaSaw.com
Aunty Christina’s laksa is so popular that her loyal customers followed when she relocated to Seapark. — Picture by Rebecca Saw
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Laksa is one of the most popular dishes in the Malaysian street food culture. Granted, Penang assam laksa usually comes to mind whenever laksa is mentioned but the truth is laksa exists in many variations, each typically characterised by its state of origin.
Whether it’s Penang assam laksa, laksam, curry laksa, Nyonya laksa or Johor laksa, this noodle-based dish has amassed legions of fans far and wide. Why, Penang assam laksa has even made it to number seven in CNN’s World Top 10 Yummiest Food list while Sarawak laksa has been declared “Breakfast of the Gods” by Anthony Bourdain, one of the most influential chefs in the world.

And speaking of Sarawak laksa, today I am sharing five places you can check out for this dish, all conveniently accessible via the LRT.

As with most noodle-based dishes, the magic lies in the broth. For Sarawak laksa, it is the beautiful symphony of coconut milk and pungent chilli paste (made with numerous spices including shallots, red chillies, galangal, garlic, clove, nutmeg, cardamom and coriander seeds) that gives it its distinctive taste. Making the paste is a laborious process but the reward is a robust broth with depth of flavour, which a good Sarawak laksa should possess.

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    Then there’s the rice vermicelli, which should ideally be of a certain variety and thickness. Protein includes fresh prawns and poached chicken strips while standard garnishes are shredded omelette, beansprouts and coriander.

    Aunty Christina’s has been the go-to Sarawak laksa joint for the longest time, way before other purveyors of Sarawakian cuisine popped up. Her recent relocation to Seapark saw her loyal patrons trailing in her wake.

    I thought her broth was overly light but redeemable if you mix it with a generous amount of chillies and lime. A small portion with two medium-sized prawns as well as typical ingredients like omelette strips, chicken and beansprouts is priced at RM9.

    Unbeknownst to many, Aunty Christina’s vacant spot in Bangsar was taken up by Aunty Florence, who attempts to fill the void in the exact coffeeshop. I found her broth to be just as light, with much boost needed from chillies and lime. A regular bowl goes for RM7.50 with two prawns in addition to other standard ingredients.

    Re:fuel on Wheels’ broth packs a flavourful punch. — Picture by Rebecca Saw
    Aunty Lan’s Sarawak laksa has a good balance of spiciness and creaminess. — Picture by Rebecca Saw

    On the extreme end of the spectrum is the rich, peppery broth from Nook, Aloft Hotel KL Sentral. You can opt for the full-fledged version at Nook or the budget RM10 bowl from Re:fuel On Wheels, Aloft’s mobile food truck.

    From 11am to 3pm on weekdays, Re:fuel On Wheels offers such dishes as nasi lemak, Sarawak laksa and pasta at wallet-friendly prices. Admittedly, the latter didn’t have enough of the key ingredients — the bowl came with two small prawns and a few slivers of chicken but the flavourful broth does satisfy. If you are not in a rush, try the standard portion within the air-conditioned comforts of Nook.

    Aunty Lan’s Sarawak Deli at NZX Food Court is my current top pick. The broth here has a good balance of peppery spiciness and creaminess. At RM8 for a regular bowl, it is fantastic value for money as it was loaded with three large prawns as well as generous amounts of noodles, beansprouts, omelette and chicken strips.

    Last but not least is the laksa at Restoran Mei Sek in USJ14. While the soup is a tad grainy, the heavily spiced broth was enjoyable.

    * For more gastronomic adventures — keep up with Rebecca on www.RebeccaSaw.com and instagram.com/wackybecky.
Getting There
1. Aunty Lan Sarawak Deli NZX Food Court (Non-halal)
Jalan PJU 1A/41B, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya

LRT/MRT: Pudu 

Distance: 200 metres 

Operating hours: 7am to 2.30pm. Off days are not fixed. 

From the station: Take the Crimson/Eve Suites exit. At ground level, turn right towards Eve Suites. Walk on for 100 metres and cross the road into NZX Food Court.
2. Aunty Florence Sarawak Laksa (Non-halal)
Nam Chun Coffeeshop, 28, Lorong Ara Kiri, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

LRT/MRT: Bank Rakyat–Bangsar 

Distance: 600 metres

Operating hours: Daily, except Mondays 

From the station: Upon exiting, take Rapid KL T850. Alight at house no 73 and walk towards Lucky Garden.
3. Restoran Mei Sek (Non-halal)
12, Jalan USJ 14/1K, Subang Jaya, Selangor.

LRT/MRT: Wawasan

Distance: 350 metres 

Operating hours: 7am–2pm, daily 

From the station: Exit on the same side as Sekolah Tun Tan Cheng Lock.  With the school on your right, walk straight towards Petronas. You will see a row of shoplots on your right and Restoran Mei Sek is at the corner.
4. Aunty Christina (Non-halal)
26, Jalan 21/19, Sea Park, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 

LRT/MRT: Taman Paramount 

Distance: 600 metres 

Operating hours: 6 am-4pm 

From the station: As you leave the station, turn left and walk straight ahead and go past the traffic lights. Walk on until you come across a junction; then turn left into Jalan 21/19.
5. Aloft Hotel, KL Sentral
5 Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.

LRT/MRT: KL Sentral, MRT Muzium Negara. 

Distance: 300 metres 

Operating hours: 7am to 2.30pm. Off days are not fixed. 

From the station: Noon-2pm, daily
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