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 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. The dish is so popular, it has even become territorial. Can you name me two very popular stalls that are named after road names?
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, Executive Chef Lee Hwee Yaw from Carlton Hotel Singapore, shows us the way to replicate his delicious lemak laksa. He even shares 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.