I share my favourite top 3 Singaporean dishes from the commissioned local street food series by Carlton Hotel Singapore . Many cooking tips on these popular local dishes are very kindly and generously shared by Executive Chef Lee Hwee Yaw and Chef Ho.
Laksa (Lemak laksa / Nonya laksa)
Laksa has to be my all-time favourite local food in Singapore. It is a spicy noodle soup dish that is perfect for a rainy day.
There are two main variants of laksa in Singapore and Malaysia: lemak (or also commonly known as nonya) and assam. Although lemak means fat in Bahasa Melayu, the word largely refers to the richness and creaminess of coconut milk in food. And so, lemak laksa refers to the coconut milk spicy noodle soup that is extremely popular especially across different cultures in Singapore.
Assam is tamarind in Bahasa Melayu. It is a legume that has sweet and tangy pulp. The use of assam together with other local herbs and spices such as lemongrass, kafir lime leaves and different gingers in a fish broth gives rise to assam laksa – a sweet and sour version of laksa made with fish broth.
In this webisode, Chef Lee showed us the way to replicate his delicious lemak laksa. He even shared his secret: A fermented seafood paste commonly used and available in Malay and Peranakan cooking. Watch 1:05 – 1:15 to find out what that is.