Laksa is one of Malaysia’s most iconic dishes, from the various types of laksa noodles to the various types of gravy. There are an infinite number of ways to make and pair them. Here are some Malaysian Laksa varieties. Which one is your favourite?
1. Laksa Utara (Kedah)
Laksa Utara (North) or Laksa Kedah contains all of the well-known ingredients required to make a laksa. The broth’s primary ingredients are, of course, blended cooked fish flesh (sardines or mackerel), onions, chillies, and a few herbs such as daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander), bunga kantan (torch flower ginger), and asam gelugor/keping (tamarind slices). Optional extras include belacan (shrimp paste) and lemongrass.
2. Laksa Kuala Perlis (Perlis)
Laksa is also popular in Malaysia’s northernmost state. They also serve Laksa Utara and Laksa Belut (eel). The ingredients are the same as in Laksa Kedah, but the broth contains catfish or eel.
3. Assam Laksa (Penang)
As the name implies, Penang’s Assam (sour) Laksa contains all of the ingredients of Laksa Kedah, but with a few extras such as tamarind juice to make it sourer. Belacan (shrimp paste), lemongrass, lengkuas (galangal), kunyit hidup (fresh tumeric), and shrimp brain paste essence are among the other ingredients.
4. Laksa Johor
Instead of rice noodles, Johor Laksa is served with spaghetti. The gravy is similar to Kedah Laksa, but they add coconut milk, curry powder, and kerisik (fried coconut paste). The type of fish used in the broth is entirely up to the cook and is not dictated by state or region.
5. Laksa Sarawak
The Sarawak Laksa, dubbed “the breakfast of the gods” by the late Anthony Bourdain, is one of a kind. This laksa has a unique combination of flavours: spicy, sour, umami, and richness. The broth is not made with fish, but with chicken broth cooked with seafood such as shrimp. Laksa is made with thin vermicelli rice noodles or bee hoon.
6. Nyonya Laksa (Malacca)
This dish, like Singapore Laksa, does not use fish meat; instead, it uses the same ingredients as Laksa Sarawak (chicken and shrimp broth). Almost all of the ingredients are the same as in the previous laksa, except for the substitution of tamarind pulp for Assam slices and the addition of candlenuts for extra flavour. You can use any type of rice noodles, such as thick traditional ones or thin ones, with these.
7. Laksa Telur Sarang Ipoh (Perak)
This laksa is the same as Laksa Utara, but they have one special topping that makes it so delicious and mouth-watering. Fried omelette in the shape of a bird’s nest. The egg is whisked until it is bubbly before being fried in very hot oil. To achieve the desired illusion, you must stretch the egg batter high from the wok.
8. Laksa Mee Pangkor (Perak)
This dish is popular among Perak residents on Pangkor Island, Manjung Beach, and Remis Beach. The noodle used in this laksa is unique because it can only be found in those areas. When dried, Laksa Mee resembles mee suah, but when cooked, it resembles spaghetti. The broth is clear and soupy in texture. This dish can be made with any type of seafood, including fish, crab, and prawns.
9. Laksa Terengganu
This laksa can be found on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Terengganu residents prepare laksa in two ways: with brown-red gravy and with white gravy. The brown gravy is the same as in Laksa Utara, but with a few extra spice seasonings, namely rempah gulai and rempah masak. The dish also includes kerisik, coconut milk, and palm sugar. The white gravy, or laksa kuah lemak, is simply a coconut milk-based version of a traditional laksa without the chillies. They use black pepper to replace the spiciness of the red chilies.
10. Laksam (Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah)
This dish originated in Kelantan, but it is also popular in other states. This laksa is distinct in that it is flat, round, and spiral-shaped. The broth is prepared in the same manner as the Terengganu white gravy, using the same ingredients, garnishes, and even spicy sambal.