Eating out: Katong Laksa Singapore
Every self respecting person with Peranakan roots will tell you that the best laksa to be had is made by their grandmother, mother or themselves. I think in my generation we all cheat with ready made paste or we vacuum pack our mother’s freshly made rempah (spice paste) along with homemade belacan.
Visiting friends are always asking me where to go for the best laksa, for a rich gravy I’d still recomment Sungei road and Katong Laksa. The latter (above) comes with lots of slice fish cake, a little too much, everyone asks for extra belacan chilli here so they charge for extra packets.
I like slurping my laksa rice noodles so I am not sure why both places cut them up into short pieces and the bowl of laksa is only served with a soup spoon. Well according to the Singapore Tourism Board, it’s their distinct characteristic. But… we never eat them like that at home.
**Update: I finally found out why they cut the noodles when I popped in Katong Laksa again. It was for practical reasons. In the old days, it was sold as street food from a pushcart and at one point, hawkers had to run from the police for “illegal hawking” on the streets the days before hawker centres existed. I can’t imagine standing on the streets using chopsticks trying to eat the noodles and slurp the gravy at the same time, so for practical reasons, noodles are cut up to be enjoyed with a soup spoon to shovel mouthfuls of gravy and noodles quickly.
“Its defining characteristic is the noodles: thick vermicelli cut into shorter pieces that can be easily slurped up with a spoon. At some stalls, you only get a spoon to eat the laksa – no chopsticks needed.”