Singapore food culture and Singapore Laksa

Singapore food culture and Singapore Laksa

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Photo of a Singapore shop in a market

When we talk about the Singapore food culture and Singapore laksa, we have to talk a little bit of history in Singapore. In 1819, When British imperialist Thomas Stamford Raffles decided to convert Singapore into a trading station for East India Company. Many immigrants from different areas including India, China, Europe, Malaya, Middle East, and America rushed to the Singapore island.

The Chinese immigrants from different provinces of China brought with them the culture of different cuisines and languages. This culture can be seen in today’s cuisines of Singapore. The Hainanese chicken rice which is possibly the king of Singapore hawker food introduced from Hainan dish consists of bony wengcheng chicken.

Another most famous dish in Singapore is laksa. Singapore and Malaysia both claim to have this dish invented. Katong laksa is a vermicelli noodle soup which consists of cockles, prawns, coconut milk, bean sprouts, fish cakes, turmeric, lemongrass, and many other ingredients. The combination of turmeric and chili represents Indian influence while the sprouts represent Chinese influence. The rest of the ingredients suggest a mixed influence of South India, Malay, and Eurasia.

Even though the origin of “Laksa” is debated, however, the word “Laksha” represents a type of noodle in the Hindi language. Laksa sounds identical to the Chinese language word meaning “spicy sand”.

How to make Singapore Laksa?

Singapore Laksa

Laksa is a popular Singapore and Malaysian spicy street food dish. In a few words, we can define Laksa as “A sour, spicy, a little sweet dish with a hint of fish”. This mouth-watering dish is found all over Singapore, Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the West.

It generally contains rice noodles in a gritty, thick gravy that is made from coconut milk or tamarind fruit depending on the area. Some common ingredients are chili, fish or shrimp, Lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and many other ingredients.

Let us jump into the recipe of Singapore Laksa:

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • Cooking oil (3 tablespoons)
  • Malaysian instant curry paste (1 / 2)
  • Chicken broth (2 cups)
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Lemongrass (2 stalks), white part only
  • Pieces of tofu puffs (10)
  • Evaporated milk (1 / 2 cup)
  • Coconut milk (1 / 2 cup)
  • Salt to taste
Laksa before adding the soup

Other Ingredients:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Yellow noodles
  • Shrimp peeled, deveined and cooked (10)
  • Eggs, hard-boiled, cut into half (3)
  • Cut pieces of fish cakes
Bean sprouts for Singapore Laksa
Yellow noodles for Singapore Laksa
Fish cakes for Singapore Laksa

Instructions:

  1. Add the required quantity of oil in a Stockpot and saute the paste of instant curry until aromatic. Then add other ingredients that are lemongrass, water, chicken broth, tofu puffs, and let the soup boil.  Next, lower the heat to simmer and add coconut and evaporated milk. Then add some quality of salt. Let the stock on the simmer.
  2. Rinse the bean sprouts and yellow noodles separately. Then drain and set aside.
  3. Next, boil a handful of bean sprouts and some yellow noodles. Drain these bean sprouts and noodles and shift them to a serving boil. Top 2 to 3 shrimp and some pieces of fish cake and few eggs. Finally, prepare Laksa for serving by pouring the soup and some pieces of tofu puffs on top of noodles with a ladle.

How to eat Laksa?

Try the following combinations with Laksa:

Coconut and bitter-sweet kalamansi lime:   Combination of sweet and creamy coconut works well with fresh and fragrant bitter kalamansi lime.

Tamarind and Mackerel: The addition of fatty fish in a sour tasted tamarind creates a classic Penang Laksa.

Chicken and Lemongrass: Elegant and Aromatic lemongrass enhances the taste of chicken.

Laksa Variations :

Laksa has been widely adopted in many regions. Is has also modified from region to region. It even varies in the streets and towns depending on the taste of the chef. No matter what word follows or precedes the word Laksa on the menu you probably will not be disappointed.  Some famous variations of Laksa are:

Asam Laksa: Asam Laksa also known as Penang tastes sour due to tamarind and shredded fish. It is known as the tasty dish in the city of Penang.

Laksa Sarawak: This variation of Laksa does not use curry. The Sambal belacan is used as the base.

Katong Laksa: This type of Laksa is very popular in Singapore. It generally contains chopped up noodles so it can easily be eaten with a plastic spoon. It is usually topped with prawns and hard-boiled egg slices.

Laksa Lemak: It tastes sweet instead of sour, this type of Laksa contains curry paste and coconut milk. The addition of chili and other Indian spices make it the most popular dish in Malaysia.

My experience with Singapore Laksa

My experience with the delicious Laksa of the East Coast area of Singapore was simply amazing. They serve a big bowl of Laksa pared with an Otah. Their Laksa contains prawns, vermicelli, mushroom slices, and different fishcake with spicy coconut milk broth. The combination of everything was great making Laksa rich in taste, quite thick and tasty. One more thing that I loved is that it was not too oily. They serve Laksa with a special chili paste to enhance its taste. You can add the quantity just as you want and do not worry it will not be too hot.

How much Laksa costs in Singapore?

A little bowl of Laksa only costs S$2.80 and is also available for upgrades if you want more. At this price, you will eat the best food in Singapore. Pair it with fresh lime juice to have an amazing experience. The tasty Laksa with a lot of seafood and the right amount of gravy with the cold drink goes well.

So,what do you think?

It is not a surprise that Singapore is an obsessive paradise of food. If you are the one who loves to eat, and you find yourself wondering in Singapore then go for the tasty Laksa. You will find various variations of Laksa, but I assure you whatever type you find on the menu it will be tastier than you think.

{{ CLICK HERE}}:- TO READ MY ARTICLE ON KOREAN BBQ AND KOREAN FOOD CULTURE

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