Singapore is well-known for being a multiracial city, with many people from all races and backgrounds calling this place home. Hence, it is no surprise many of their national dishes come about as different ethnic groups interact with one another. Laksa, a noodle dish served in a spicy soup made of coconut milk, is one of them. It is believed to have influences from Peranakan, Chinese, and Malay culture. Most eateries traditionally serve laksa with prawns, cockles, bean sprouts, and fish cakes on top of thick vermicelli noodles. But as times change, laksa can also be prepared in other unique ways. Here are some of the best laksa dishes to try around Singapore.
Be prepared to queue for at least 15 to 30 minutes when having a taste of the renowned Sungei laksa of Singapore. Their laksa broth is prepared in an old-school manner by using charcoal for a more distinctive flavour and garnished with finely cut laksa leaves. You can also opt for a generous serving of cockles for that extra fishy taste.
The only downside? A single serving of laksa might not be filling enough as their portions are quite small. Some may order a second bowl, or a plate of ngoh hiang (五香; a unique Hokkien and Teochew dish composed of various meats and vegetables, including meat rolls and deep-fried beancurd, usually served with chilli or sweet sauce) at the stall next to Sungei Road Laksa.
Sungei Road Laksa, 27 Jalan Berseh, #01-100, Singapore 200027
The 328 Katong Laksa franchise is a household name to many Singaporeans and it’s no surprise why. Its founder, Nancy Koh, took six months to perfect her Katong laksa recipe. Even down to choosing the best ingredients and the method of adding coconut milk to the soup is important for her to maintain her high standards of good laksa. Her franchise has been featured on the Michelin guide and has attracted many celebrities. You don’t need a pair of chopsticks to slurp their noodles down, as they are already cut prior. This makes it much easier to eat them together with their prawns, fishcakes, and cockles.
328 Katong Laksa, 51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770 | (+65) 9732 8163
You may have heard of claypot rice, which is more commonly found around East and Southeast Asia, but what about claypot laksa? Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa at Alexandria Village specialises in that. Just like claypot rice, the Singaporean laksa version is cooked in a clay pot, making the soup much creamier and concentrated with flavour. Clay pots also retain heat well, so you can take your time to chat with your friends and family—and your food will still be piping hot.
Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-75 Alexander Hawker Centre, Singapore 151120 | (+65) 9088 9203
Singaporeans can be creative when it comes to fusing their traditional foods with other types of cuisine, and laksa pasta with succulent prawns from Tolidos Espresso Nook is a perfect choice for an East-meets-West dish. Once created as a limited-edition dish on Singapore’s fiftieth national day, the dish was made permanent due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public. The usual laksa broth, made from coconut and sambal, now acts like a pasta sauce to give a Southeast Asian twist from the usual Italian pasta.
Tolidos Espresso Nook, 462 Crawford Lane, #01-63, Singapore 190462 | (+65) 6648 0178
The last option is not about a particular restaurant or franchise, but this is as good as it gets once you’re done backpacking around Singapore. Prima Taste Laksa is basically the instant noodles version of laksa and you can easily find them in local supermarkets at the instant food section. All you have to do is to add the laksa paste and premix into boiling water, then add the noodles to boil for seven minutes. You can add hard-boiled eggs, prawns, fish cakes, and beansprouts accordingly—all typical ingredients in a traditional bowl of Singaporean laksa. The broth is creamy and savoury with a strong coconut flavour, but not too spicy. The noodles should have a springy texture when boiled correctly. After you are done checking out all the best laksa Singapore has to offer, continue to have a taste of the Lion City by grabbing a few laksa packs as souvenirs!