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Originally published by Catharina Cheung. Last updated by Ngai Yeung.
We’re big fans of Singaporean and Malaysian foods, so it stands to reason that laksa is always top on our list of favourite eats. Unfortunately, a truly good bowl of these creamy curry noodles is rather elusive, even in the food mecca that is Hong Kong. Historically, this is a fusion dish, brought to Malaysia by Chinese immigrants. Much time and effort are needed in coming up with a flavourful prawn stock, which is then artfully combined with coconut milk, shrimp paste, and various herbs and spices such as turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, tamarind, and chillies. Here are five restaurants in Hong Kong which do a rich, multi-layered laksa that is hearty and satisfying.
You know a restaurant does their dishes well when their menu is super condensed. Such is the case with Rempah, which only offers three dishes: the Nyonya laksa lemak ($98), the prawn mee ($98), and dry laksa ($98).
The sweetness of the coconut milk comes through in the Nyonya laksa lemak, tinged with spiciness. Chilli lovers can ask for a little dish of sambal to go with the noodles, made fresh in the kitchen. The dry laksa is the more interesting option; shorter silver needle rice noodles are served with the same ingredients as the soup laksa, but with a rich, thick gravy, in a concept similar to a lo meen. Pro tip: Additional portions of noodles are available at no extra charge if you ask, so don’t go slurping down all the soup immediately!
Rempah Noodles, 18 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 3618 4863
People aren’t quite queueing around the block for this understated Singaporean restaurant, but it’s still a tight squeeze getting in for lunch. With so many options for laksa with different ingredients, toppings, and garnishings—14 variations!—you’re pretty much customising your own bowl.
Our usual order is laksa with shrimp, fish cake, tofu pot ($70), which comes in a large bowl filled to the brim with prawns, sliced fish balls, and tofu puffs. The coconut-rich soup is intense in flavour, with that gritty texture towards the bottom of the bowl that tells you it has been properly made instead of coming out of a packet. Being fans of spicy food, we always get more chilli sambal to add in, but the original soup is spicy enough for most. If you still have room left, order a portion of kaya toast ($24) to round off the meal.
Katong Laksa, 8 Mercer Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2543 4008
This small Hong Kong diner makes for pretty cramped, almost shoulder-to-shoulder dining, but fans of laksa with a stronger curry soup base will love it here. Because of how rich the curry taste is, the coconut is rather drowned out, but we love spiciness so this is a forgivable sin. Diners can choose their noodle preferences from egg noodles, vermicelli, and glass noodles, and these come loaded with slightly sweet fish cakes, spongy tofu puffs, and an assortment of seafood or meats. We like the seafood noodles ($72) or the sliced chicken and egg noodles ($64) for something a little lighter.
Located in Sino Hotels across the city, it’s little surprise that prices at Satay Inn are slightly more expensive than other Singaporean or Malaysian food joints, but they’ve been doing their thing for 20-odd years and the quality of food doesn’t disappoint. Their laksa ($108) comes with fresh slices of king prawn and fish cakes with lai fun crystal noodles, all served in an aromatic coconutty soup. Diners have the option of choosing the spiciness levels of their soup base, from mild, authentic, or spicy.
This eatery is all the way out in Kwai Fong, but it serves up all the Singaporean favourites. Inspired by the no-frills fare of food courts and hawker stalls in the Lion City, Hawker 18 does a mean seafood laksa lemak ($98), which is a big portion of rice noodles and vermicelli with prawns, calamari, fish cakes, tofu puffs, and half a runny egg. Based on our personal tastes, the coconut flavour could be stronger, but the soup is creamy and aromatic enough overall. This laksa is the perfect option for Hong Kong diners who have a lower tolerance for spicy and pungent foods.
Hawker 18, Shop 410–412, 4/F, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 2156 2228
Sheung Wan has its own fair selection of restaurants, but LeeLaksa is a must-visit for anyone who cares even just a bit about laksa. If you’re going during lunch hour, be ready to queue a bit alongside nearby office workers who know what’s up. Though their Lee-style Singapore laksa ($82) isn’t spicy, its full-bodied soup is full of creamy goodness. Always generous with their portions, you’d be sure to find more prawns, tofu, and even fishballs than you’d expect. Can’t decide between the laksa or the Lee-style Hainanese chicken rice ($88)? Have both in their Hainanese chicken rice with Singapore laksa lunch deal ($108), or share with a friend: what a steal!
Lee Laksa, G/F, 302 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2265 8999
What’s many people don't know is that even though Asam Chicken Rice is best known for their Hainanese chicken rice, their laksa is just as excellent! Fragrant hints of coconut pervade their Singaporean laksa ($80), enhanced by a medley of spices. Giant shrimps, finely sliced tofu puffs, and robust water spinach makes it all the more pleasing to the eyes. Don’t forget to fish out all the chewy and smooth fish slices in their soup before you finish!
Tucked away in an unassuming neighbourhood in To Kwa Wan is the no-nonsense Singapore Restaurant. Unlike most of the other ones on this list, Singapore Restaurant’s laksa isn’t just all in one bowl but comes with a side of lamb rack, lemongrass chicken, and more for a killer price. Our favourite choice would definitely be the Nyonya laksa with thick-cut pork chop ($55). The soup has well-balanced flavours and is on the less heavy side, though the juicy and decadent deep-fried pork chop will make sure you are filled up all right. Choose between rice vermicelli and thicker oil noodles, or order a mix of both (掺掺) just like at the hawker stalls of old.
Singapore Restaurant, 35 Pak Tai Street, To Kwa Wan