Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Assam Laksa in Penang - WW

Assam Laksa just off Armenia Street opposite the bicycle wall mural

I didn't do enough homework before leaving for Penang. Spending only 3 hours online to google for the places and good food, my husband and I flew into Penang with a list of 15 things to find/do in 3 days.

One must-do is to track down Penang's famous food - assam laksa. It is a fish-based noodle soup that comes with shredded fish (sardine or mackerel or both) and vegetables such as cucumber, pineapple, onions, red chilies and lettuce. The gravy includes tamarind juice, chillies and lemon grass. When served, the dish would be topped with a tablespoon of prawn paste.

Our first bowl of Assam Laksa was a chance discovery at a coffee shop just opposite the street art " Kids on bicycle".  After snapping pictures of the wall mural, we ordered the cold cendol and ice kacang, but the assam laksa was irresistible. Turns out this unknown assam laksa was my favourite among those I tasted in Penang.    

Penang laksa JH
Famous Penang Road Laksa @ Lebuh Keng Kwee)

We took the free shuttle service to Jalan Penang, then took a walk down the long road with a map of Georgetown ...... the good food places have been circled in red. haha....

When my hubby saw the long queue at Lebuh Keng Kwee, he knew we struck "gold". That was the unmistakable queue for cendol outside Joo Hooi. haha.... 

Happily he queued for the famous assam laksa and then the cendol while I waited in the shade. Despite the long queues, we didn't have to wait long. And everyone just ate .... standing beside the stalls!!

Compared to the earlier stall, the laksa gravy was a little more watery and there was noticeably less fish. Taste-wise, not too bad. But I won't go out of the way to hunt for it.

Hubby and I shared a bowl of Penang’s famous cendol. I didn't dare to eat too much as I was afraid of getting a tummy upset. Anyway, I don't fancy sweet stuff.

Opposite this famous cendol stall was another which was doing a brisk business. We decided to order a bowl to compare the tastes. Both are as good.

Penang laksa Teochew

Our last day in Penang..... after shopping for souvenirs at Chowrasta market, hubby suggested eating assam laksa before returning to Singapore. We walked to Lebuh Keng Kwee.

This time an Indonesian server led us to a shophouse, showed us an empty table and took our orders. You can also order an oyster omelette from Kah Kah Oyster Omelette stall.

Very quickly our orders of assam laksa, fruit rojak and cendol arrived. The assam laksa tasted better than the previous day's. haha.....

While we were waiting for our bus back to our hotel, Penang food blogger Ken called and kindly offered to pick us up for a short tour of Penang.

He brought us to Pasar Air Itam Laksa @ Air Itam. It was a 20 minutes drive out from Georgetown.

We didn't have enough time to visit the nearby Kek Lok Si (temple), so we just took a picture of it at the foot of the hill.

Penang laksa AI

Known as the authentic asam laksa in Penang, there was a long queue of locals and tourists in front of the famous stall. A man was busy dishing out bowl after bowl of assam laksa. Ken and I looked for a place to sit while my hubby queued for the noodles.

At first glance, I was quite worried about eating here as the place looked dirty. Only after we had finished eating our noodles, Ken told us why most locals don't eat here.  -_-'"

Well, we have tasted the original Pasar Air Itam asam laksa.  :)

Now that I know how the authentic assam laksa tastes, I can start experimenting and creating my own delicious version. :)


  1. Must queue lah! No queue no syok mah :p

    1. haha.... Christopher will queue for good food. I chin chai jiak .....

  2. What a nice excursion, you certainly had the belly full when you came back ! The plates look delicious !

  3. I do the very same thing....tasting other foods and prepared dishes so I can then get back home and create my own version. BUT!!!-------I would NEVER try an oyster omelet.

  4. What a delicious food. I like Asian food.

  5. droooling to the max. Love the one in air itam