KL's curry laksa rules… in Lonely Planet and our tummies

KL's curry laksa rules… in Lonely Planet and our tummies
Some versions of curry laksa come with pieces of 'siew yoke' and even mint leaves. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — It takes an outsider, like Lonely Planet, to recognise what we have always taken for granted… our KL curry laksa is good! It has been ranked Number Two in their Ultimate Eatlist.

Yes. In their bucket list of food experiences from all over the world, we outranked dim sum in Hong Kong and sushi in Tokyo!

So what’s curry laksa in KL, you may ask? In the city where so many vendors from all over Malaysia come to ply their trade, we have so many versions of curry laksa.

There’s the Penang white curry version with their deep red coloured sambal, coagulated pig’s blood cubes and cuttlefish. Then there is the Perak version laden with pieces of roast pork and char siew. These curries have a much richer taste since they’re made from spice paste that is slowly cooked until fragrant.

Penang white curry laksa comes with cubes of coagulated pig's blood and cockles. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Penang white curry laksa comes with cubes of coagulated pig's blood and cockles. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The true blue KL curry laksa, according to cookbook author Debbie Teoh, is made from a much lighter broth, usually cooked from blended shallots and garlic with curry powder. Even the coconut milk is applied with a much lighter hand. The sambal served on the side is a blend of chili boh and belacan, which you add a squeeze of calamansi lime juice to, before eating.

You will find that each bowl is served with chopped pieces from a whole poached chicken. Expect to also find blanched long beans, bean sprouts and tofu puffs. Most of them also come with a dollop of shucked raw cockles. Some add pork skin.

And of course, due to cost constraint, in recent years, hawkers have started to add slices of fishcake to bulk up the bowl.

Here are some of our favourite places for KL curry laksa. Note that some hawkers have taken the liberty to add other ingredients to make it different, like mint leaves or even blanched brinjals:

Restoran Yong Len, 2, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL

Open: 7.30am to 3pm. Closed on Mondays

This is the truest form of KL curry laksa as the light curry broth is served only with pieces of smooth poached chicken, tofu puffs and fishcake slices. You also have blanched long beans and bean sprouts.

Madras Lane Curry Stalls, Off Jalan Petaling, KL

Open: 7am to 2pm. Closed on Mondays

The iconic must-eat place for every visitor to KL are these three stalls located at the end of the wet market. It is also incredibly Instagram-worthy. Think bowls heaped with ingredients and you have the perfect top shot!

The broth here is light but bulked up with a lot of ingredients. It’s also the only spot that serves blanched brinjals in each bowl that also come with poached chicken pieces, blanched long beans, tofu puffs, pork skin and cockles. Our favourite stall is the the last one from the entrance.

Restoran Sweetland, No. 65, Jalan 34/154, Taman Delima, Cheras, KL

Open: 5am to 2pm. Closed every Saturday of the month

This pan mee stall sells an incredibly satisfying bowl of curry laksa. The broth is fragrant yet light tasting that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. You can enjoy it with poached chicken pieces, long beans, bean sprouts, cockles and tofu puffs. What makes it unusual is the addition of fresh mint leaves, just like how they serve the Ipoh version.

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