Finally, Penang Assam Laksa! 🙂 For almost two years of being a Filipino expatriate in this Northwestern side of Malaysia working as a Medical Lecturer, believe it or not,  it was only last weekend that I got to sample this noodle dish that recently ranked 7th among the top 50 most delicious foods in the world; a list released by no less than CNN. I’m thinking that with this confession, most Penangites would react that I was missing the world! So before one could conclude of anything, I’d like to be defensive emphasize that I didn’t grow an aversion towards laksa, nor Malaysian dishes; in fact I like Nasi Lemak, Chicken Satay, Dim sums, Roti Canai, Chicken Tandoori with Cheese Naan and of course, Char Koay Teow remains to be one of my personal favorites, however, my taste buds usually go easy on the spicy ones.

Meanwhile, my first cousin, Glory Anne who has a fabulous work as an Associate Publicist for Riverbead Books in NYC tweeted this last June 5th :

Since last weekend was packed with Gabby’s field trip at Penang State Museum (View & read blog post here :, I didn’t get a chance to give in to my cousin’s entire request but nonetheless, I wish this short but tasteful post on Penang Assam Laksa would giver her that Laksa-fix; or better, this might convince her to bring her own feet to Penang and try the hawker foods here for herself. How about that, Anne? My family and I will be your personal tour guides, of course! 🙂

Tangy. Spicy. Scrumptious!

It’s a completely different laksa dish that the whole world knows (perhaps, even my cousin?). Penang Assam Laksa is NOT the laksa that’s coconut milk-based infused with curry and prawns. This Malaysia’s sole entry to CNN Go’s World’s Most Delicious Foods is poached noodles in spicy and tangy fish broth flavored with ginger, tamarind (assam), chili, lemongrass, onion, pineapple (or in Old Town’s variant, shredded green mangoes), flaked mackerel and mint.

Penang Assam Laksa or Nyonya Hot and Sour Noodles in Fish Soup is indeed something to reckon with! My tongue was, for the lack of better term, devirginized with a rather commercialized version of Penang Laksa from Old Town. I’ve read online that one of the best considered authentic Penang Assam Laksa is sold in the Pasar or Public Market in Air Itam just at the foot of the famous huge and beautiful Buddhist Temple, Kek Lok Si. It takes efforts to get there (heart of the Penang Island) for someone like us who are currently based in Butterworth (Seberang Perai or Mainland Penang) but I know it’s a lame excuse to taste a real-hawker laksa sold out there. Anyway, what’s my verdict with Old Town’s Penang Assam Laksa?

Let’s just say it kept me craving for more heaping bowls! 😉



  1. I am craving for noodles since yesterday because the Kimchi Chronicles in Lifestyle Channel is cooking a lot of korean noodles…and now this. I think I must look for noodles tonight. Hahaha.

    Yummy photos, Doc. 🙂

    1. thanks, lito!

      penang assam laksa tastes more flavorful than how it looks in my photos.

      c’mmon, give your cravings of good warm noodle dish a green light!

  2. i’m quite fond of any noodle dish. however, i am not a fan of anything hot and sour. the list has made me curious. i better google it and find out what dishes made to the list and if i’ve tasted any of them.

    1. i browsed cnn’s 50 most delicious foods in the world several weeks back and sadly, if my memory serves me right, no pinoy food landed in the list; my palates want to protest, hahaha!

  3. Assam laksa is nice enough, I guess, but the taste can go overboard if the cook isn’t careful with the addition of tamarind paste. And, unfortunately, I’ve sampled the work of not-so-careful cooks over the years. That said, I was – and will always be – more of a Nonya laksa girl. 😉

    1. natawa din naman ako sa yo, sheng, hehehe!
      nasi lemak ay may kanin, dilis, pipino, itlog na nilaga, manok o minsan seafood tapos may sambal sauce (red and spicy), roasted peanuts tapos binabalot nila sa nasi lemak (laminated) paper after ng banana leaf, cone shaped pa sya! one ringgit pinaka mura (PhP 14).

  4. Hi Doc, thanks for stopping by, and for your concern. I have updated my RSS to your new blog. I have been off line for a while and hopefully will be back soon

    Keep up with your articles. You are an inspiration to all bloggers.

    May I say a Happy Father’s Day in advance.

    See you around!

    1. thanks, ms. ebie for that early greetings. it actually stimulated me to do a post related to the occasion.

      maraming salamat po muli sa pagbisita di-ne. 🙂

  5. Excepy for Char Kuay Teow and Bah Kut Teh perhaps, I am not really fond of Malaysian food including the Laksa you first described. But by the sound of your description of this Laksa, this is something worth trying. Now, when to get myself to Penang. 🙂

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