Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Authentic Penang Asam Laksa @ Pasar Air Itam Penang

I am not a big fan of Penang asam laksa. Been tried once many years ago, what left in my impression is that I don't like "some" of its taste.

But during my Penang trip recently, I never forgot to try on this local delicacy again which is so synonym to the town as far as its hawker food is concern! Talking about Penang Asam Laksa, I would just look for a stall which serves the most authentic asam laksa in Penang! This stall is located at Pasar Ait Air Itam, just near the foot of Kek Lok Si temple.

The laksa stall existed 3-4 decades ago and it's another generation-to-generation business. I get to know that in the morning this place is actually a wet market and the laksa stall will only open for business at around 11.30am until night.

The stall is always pack with patrons for a reason. Obviously is not because of its environment. Tables were place beside a small drain, flies can be seen everywhere and the place should be hot especially during afternoon time. Definitely not an ideal ambience for enjoying foods.

So, it's either the asam laksa here is so legendary or the laksa here poses a certain quality of deliciousness which make people craving for it. I believe it is both! Lengendary for tourists and local coming back for its deliciousness. Actually I believe these 2 factors are co-exist. The lengendary won't go too far without the deliciousness of the food, agree?

The key to the deliciousness of a bowl of Penang Asam Laksa at Pasar Air Itam is lies on its soured broth which is cooked with mashed fish, tamarind or asam (the source of the sourness), lemongrass and galangal.

Before serving a bowl of the laksa to customer, a big scoop of boiling hot broth will be poured into the bowl consists of rice vermecilli topping with ginger flower buds (bunga kantan), slices of onion, cucumber, lettuce, chilli and mint leaves. The soup will then be poured back to the pot and this steps would be repeated for 3-4 times before a final scoop of hot soup been placed onto the mixture and a spoon of prawn paste been added to the laksa and served to the customers.

It is believed that this is to make sure all the ingredients in the bowl will be served hot and there will be sufficient mashed fish topping the laksa. The taste is fantastic and so distinctive actually especially for those who love sour and spicy food.

I personally don't like the smell and taste of bunga kantan although I like the sourness of the soup. That's why I said I am not a big fan of Penang Asam Laksa. No matter how, I'll revisit the stall if have chance. With RM3 a bowl, it's definitely worth the money!


  1. The laksa looked "dirty" but tastes fine.

    ps: got spelling mistake at ur 2nd paragraph 4th row.

  2. yeah... just close one eyes and enjoy the taste would be fine.. haha

    thanks for pointing out the spelling mistake... hahaha!


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