Thursday, March 1, 2012

Packet Sg Laksa: A Miss

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Singapore laksa from the packet: looks good but tastes otherwise.

As you know, I love laksa, any kind of laksa, but my top favorites are Penang assam laksa and Singapore laksa. Both these laksa are elusive here, especially Singapore laksa, so when I found ready-made Singapore and Penang laksa paste in a supermarket recently, I grabbed a box each, made by Alif, a Malaysian company.

Okay, so I had to substitute a number of ingredients. I couldn't find thick rice noodles so I replaced that with flat rice noodles. I don't eat those spongy artificial fishballs from the market and couldn't get the right fish to make them so I had do without, and there were no cockles (terrible, because cockles are just as important as daun kesom in a bowl of Sg laksa) so I bought sa bak, a hard shelled clam. Totally different I know, but it's a clam.

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Daun kesom, also known as polygonum leaves (not that it helps because nobody knows what that is outside South East Asia), grows easily. Just buy some (rootless is fine) from the wet market, stick them in a glass of water for a couple of days and then plant in a pot of soil. Needs direct sunlight.

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Daun kesom leaves are tough and slightly hairy so they should be cut very fine, almost one-cell thick. Oh, that fragrance!

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Nah, back to the kitchen labs you two!

The Alif Sg laksa was utterly disappointing. It smelled and tasted more like Penang laksa, with lots of tumeric and lemon grass and very little coconut milk or belachan or dried shrimps. I immediately searched for the packet of Sg laksa paste I had bought on my previous trip to Sg a few months ago and made another pot of laksa base.  Asian Home Gourmet's laksa paste (made in Thailand) was marginally better, stronger in flavor but still far from good. I mixed the two soups together, added extra coconut milk and ate a very disappointing dinner.

Conclusion: eat Singapore laksa in Singapore.

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11 comments:

Blur Ting said...

Have you tried Prima's laksa paste? It's quite good.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

no i haven't. i will get a hold of tt and report to you:)

Michelle Chin said...

My mom uses some other local brand. Not sure what though.

Extreme Power said...

Looks nice. Must add some sambal to it. Prima is not bad.

Anonymous said...

I've tried using Tean's Prawn noodle paste stock, and I added dried shrimp and coconut milk. Tasted good. I used fresh prawn heads stock to boil the Prawn noodle paste instead of plain water.Not bad, go ahead and give it a go if you can't find Prima brand. Have a nice day to you.

Yvonne

malaymui said...

I recently found prima taste Singapore laksa la Mian st the Asian store, the taste is very close to authentic one. I am hooked since and usually will have a packet for quick fix on laksa craving...

Shannon said...

Terri, both Prima's laksa paste and Prima's Spore Laksa la mien is good. It is very 'lemak'…better than katong laksa.

kat said...

Agree with the commentors on Prima Laksa...its the closest. Get the Prima Laksa in the box. It has the coconut powder, the paste, the sambal & the freeze dried daum kesom.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ok ok! i will search for prima laksa paste! am so glad i did this post or i'll not know about prima. thanks everyone!

Zea said...

I want to send my friends in switzerland some Penang laksa ready made paste cos they miss Penang laksa... I'm glad I found this post and read the comments! Ok prima it is then! :D tenkiew evribodi!!

ALLABOUTPENANG said...

wow!Great intro for Penang food hunters. If you're coming here again, do try these restaurant in Penang. =)

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