Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine and is found all across Malaysia. It is so popular that different states in Malaysia has their own unique laksa recipe. For example, in the northern state of Malaysia, Penang, laksa is specifically referred to as asam laksa. Asam is a word in the Malay language used to describe any ingredients that taste sour such as tamarind and kokum. Whereas in the national capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, it is referred to as curry laksa, for its coconut-based curry soup. There are more than ten laksa variants in Malaysia.
Sarawak laksa comes from the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. The prime ingredient is a paste made from a wide range of ingredients. It has a soup-base of sambal belacan, which contributes to its crimson coloring, adding both coconut milk and sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass, topped with omelette strips, chicken strips, peeled boiled prawns, freshly chopped coriander leaves, and optionally lime. Ingredients such as bean sprouts, (sliced) fried tofu or other seafood are not traditional but are sometimes added. Sarawak laksa is also commonly found in neighboring Borneo states of Sabah and Brunei, and as a result some might be led to believe that there are distinct Sabah and Brunei laksa recipes, although it is actually identical to Sarawak laksa.
Photo by: Sakura Engly