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How Many of These Different Laksa From Each State Have You Eaten Before?

19 Nov 2021
difference between laksa from each state
Image Credit: Difference between laksa from each state

PENANG

1. Penang Laksa
Image Credit: Joe Yang (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Also known by many as Asam Laksa, Penang Laksa was ranked the world's 7th best dish by CNN. What sets it different from all the other laksa is mainly due to its fish broth with no coconut milk used. This noodle dish is served in a brown fish-based soup boiled with tamarind, blended pineapple and other ingredients. It is then, garnished with mints, pineapple slices, sliced cucumber, cut bird eye chilli, and ginger torch flower. Paired with shrimp paste (otak udang) it gives off a tangy, sour and spicy flavour. Mackerel (a good Asam Laksa must have lots of shredded mackerel!) is often used to make the soup base. With the closure of the famous Air Itam Laksa due to family issues, we are pretty sure that it’s difficult to find a replacement for it.

PENANG

1. Penang Laksa
Image Credit: Joe Yang (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Also known by many as Asam Laksa, Penang Laksa was ranked the world's 7th best dish by CNN. What sets it different from all the other laksa is mainly due to its fish broth with no coconut milk used. This noodle dish is served in a brown fish-based soup boiled with tamarind, blended pineapple and other ingredients. It is then, garnished with mints, pineapple slices, sliced cucumber, cut bird eye chilli, and ginger torch flower. Paired with shrimp paste (otak udang) it gives off a tangy, sour and spicy flavour. Mackerel (a good Asam Laksa must have lots of shredded mackerel!) is often used to make the soup base. With the closure of the famous Air Itam Laksa due to family issues, we are pretty sure that it’s difficult to find a replacement for it.

KEDAH

1. Kedah Laksa
Image Credit: Eny Yusnizar Abdullah (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Also known as "laksa utara" (due to Kedah being situated in the north of Malaysia), it is similar to Penang laksa but there are subtle differences, let’s take a look at them. First of all, Kedah laksa uses asam gelugur instead of tamarind and the fish is not shredded but grounded. Types of fishes that are often used include sardines and mackerels. Plus, there is an absence of the 😘chef-kiss shrimp paste. As for the garnish, they use daun selom instead of mint leaves. Kedah Laksa is often served with soy sauce instead of otak udang.

2. Laksa Ikan Sekoq
Image Credit: KamaBites (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Just like how its name indicates, the only difference between "laksa ikan sekoq" (northern slang for laksa ikan seekor 😆) and its other Kedah counterparts is that there is a whole fish in it.

Fun Fact: In Kedah, locals sometimes pair the laksa gravy with fried bee-hoon.

KEDAH

1. Kedah Laksa
Image Credit: Eny Yusnizar Abdullah (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Also known as "laksa utara" (due to Kedah being situated in the north of Malaysia), it is similar to Penang laksa but there are subtle differences, let’s take a look at them. First of all, Kedah laksa uses asam gelugur instead of tamarind and the fish is not shredded but grounded. Types of fishes that are often used include sardines and mackerels. Plus, there is an absence of the 😘chef-kiss shrimp paste. As for the garnish, they use daun selom instead of mint leaves. Kedah Laksa is often served with soy sauce instead of otak udang.

2. Laksa Ikan Sekoq
Image Credit: KamaBites (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Just like how its name indicates, the only difference between "laksa ikan sekoq" (northern slang for laksa ikan seekor 😆) and its other Kedah counterparts is that there is a whole fish in it.

Fun Fact: In Kedah, locals sometimes pair the laksa gravy with fried bee-hoon.

PERLIS

1. Laksa Kuala Perlis
Image Credit: Izwanie Nordin (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Sometimes known as laksa Kuala, Perlis laksa isn’t much different from its fellow northern Laksa except for the fact that eel is sometimes added to the dish. Locals also like to eat it with pulut udang whether together with the laksa or separately.

Fun Fact: At Perlis, laksa is sometimes eaten for breakfast.

PERLIS

1. Laksa Kuala Perlis
Image Credit: Izwanie Nordin (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Sometimes known as laksa Kuala, Perlis laksa isn’t much different from its fellow northern Laksa except for the fact that eel is sometimes added to the dish. Locals also like to eat it with pulut udang whether together with the laksa or separately.

Fun Fact: At Perlis, laksa is sometimes eaten for breakfast.

PERAK

1. Ipoh Laksa
Image Credit: lai Kuan Ang (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Ipoh laksa is typically the same as Penang Laksa with its tangy, sour and spicy taste but less sweet. For those who prefer a more sour kick, Ipoh laksa is your go-to!

2. Kuala Kangsar Laksa
Image Credit: www.petai.net

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: fish-based

Kuala Kangsar laksa has a thinner broth and uses noodles made of wheat flour and then shaped to resemble ordinary Laksa noodles. It has the same soup base as all the other northern laksa.

3. Laksa Sarang Burung
Image Credit: sukatestfood (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Laksa sarang burung literally translates as “Bird Nest Laksa”. Well, that is not because it’s made of the "oh! so high quality~" sparrow’s saliva but it’s because of the egg in the laksa that is fried in oil to look like a bird’s nest! Also known as laksa sarang, the preparation of the crunchy egg is fairly easy. First, the egg is beaten and then poured from a high altitude by raising your arm high so that the egg can form the crunchy streaks. You also have to make sure that the oil is heated to a high temperature. As for the laksa, it has the same base as Kuala Kangsar laksa.

4. Pangkor Mee Laksa
Image Credit: Nora D Zain (IG)

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: seafood-based

This is a laksa that people who visit Pangkor Island should try! The noodles used (mee laksa) come in dried form and the starch has to be washed off before soaking them to soften them, strained and boiled. The noodles typically come in the same thickness as ordinary laksa noodles. As for the soup, seafood such as squids, prawns, fish and crabs are boiled together instead of just 🐟fish. The result is a clearer soup base with a hint of sweetness. It is then paired with sambal and finely chopped long beans. Pangkor mee laksa can also be found in Lumut and Pantai Remis area.

PERAK

1. Ipoh Laksa
Image Credit: lai Kuan Ang (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Ipoh laksa is typically the same as Penang Laksa with its tangy, sour and spicy taste but less sweet. For those who prefer a more sour kick, Ipoh laksa is your go-to!

2. Kuala Kangsar Laksa
Image Credit: www.petai.net

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: fish-based

Kuala Kangsar laksa has a thinner broth and uses noodles made of wheat flour and then shaped to resemble ordinary Laksa noodles. It has the same soup base as all the other northern laksa.

3. Laksa Sarang Burung
Image Credit: sukatestfood (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish-based

Laksa sarang burung literally translates as “Bird Nest Laksa”. Well, that is not because it’s made of the "oh! so high quality~" sparrow’s saliva but it’s because of the egg in the laksa that is fried in oil to look like a bird’s nest! Also known as laksa sarang, the preparation of the crunchy egg is fairly easy. First, the egg is beaten and then poured from a high altitude by raising your arm high so that the egg can form the crunchy streaks. You also have to make sure that the oil is heated to a high temperature. As for the laksa, it has the same base as Kuala Kangsar laksa.

4. Pangkor Mee Laksa
Image Credit: Nora D Zain (IG)

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: seafood-based

This is a laksa that people who visit Pangkor Island should try! The noodles used (mee laksa) come in dried form and the starch has to be washed off before soaking them to soften them, strained and boiled. The noodles typically come in the same thickness as ordinary laksa noodles. As for the soup, seafood such as squids, prawns, fish and crabs are boiled together instead of just 🐟fish. The result is a clearer soup base with a hint of sweetness. It is then paired with sambal and finely chopped long beans. Pangkor mee laksa can also be found in Lumut and Pantai Remis area.

KLANG VALLEY

1. Curry Laksa
Image Credit: LIL 🐝 MELB FOODIE (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli or yellow noodles

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Also known as curry mee to Klang Valley people, this type of laksa has a thicker and brighter looking broth. It tastes more “😋lemak” and savoury, without the sour taste, here is the reason why. The broth is boiled using coconut milk with curry powder and comes with ingredients like fried onion, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, tofu puffs (super important!!), cockles and fish balls. The colour of the broth is milky orange with chilli oils floating on top. It is typically served with yellow alkalised egg noodles or rice vermicelli (bee hoon) but you can also opt to mix both types of noodles! For the non-halal version, coagulated pig blood and duck blood are sometimes added (he-yo! fellow vamps!🧛‍♂️).

KLANG VALLEY

1. Curry Laksa
Image Credit: LIL 🐝 MELB FOODIE (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli or yellow noodles

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Also known as curry mee to Klang Valley people, this type of laksa has a thicker and brighter looking broth. It tastes more “😋lemak” and savoury, without the sour taste, here is the reason why. The broth is boiled using coconut milk with curry powder and comes with ingredients like fried onion, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, tofu puffs (super important!!), cockles and fish balls. The colour of the broth is milky orange with chilli oils floating on top. It is typically served with yellow alkalised egg noodles or rice vermicelli (bee hoon) but you can also opt to mix both types of noodles! For the non-halal version, coagulated pig blood and duck blood are sometimes added (he-yo! fellow vamps!🧛‍♂️).

MALACCA

1. Nyonya Laksa
Image Credit: Seong (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli or yellow noodles

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Very similar to curry laksa, and in fact, this is the original version of all laksa. The earliest version of laksa is said to come from the Peranakan. However, what set the Nyonya laksa from its imposter curry laksa is that Nyonya laksa has egg, Vietnamese coriander and sliced cucumber. The soup for Nyonya laksa is boiled with belacan, candlenuts, chicken bones and prawn shells for a stronger umami taste.

MALACCA

1. Nyonya Laksa
Image Credit: Seong (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli or yellow noodles

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Very similar to curry laksa, and in fact, this is the original version of all laksa. The earliest version of laksa is said to come from the Peranakan. However, what set the Nyonya laksa from its imposter curry laksa is that Nyonya laksa has egg, Vietnamese coriander and sliced cucumber. The soup for Nyonya laksa is boiled with belacan, candlenuts, chicken bones and prawn shells for a stronger umami taste.

JOHOR

1. Johor Laksa
Image Credit: www.kuali.com

Noodle: spaghetti noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk curry-based

Johor laksa is very special in the sense that they use spaghetti noodles! The colour of the gravy is yellowish-orange. The gravy is so thick that locals eat this laksa with bare hands! The fish that they use for the gravy is... drumroll...🥁Dorab wolf-herring (ikan parang) and it’s pretty expensive. In fact, it even caused a “laksa war” among netizens when a netizen from Pahang mentioned that they only use the ikan parang, not those cheap mackerels like ikan kembung and ikan selayang, ouch! The ingredients for the gravy is the usual spices boiled with coconut milk.

JOHOR

1. Johor Laksa
Image Credit: www.kuali.com

Noodle: spaghetti noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk curry-based

Johor laksa is very special in the sense that they use spaghetti noodles! The colour of the gravy is yellowish-orange. The gravy is so thick that locals eat this laksa with bare hands! The fish that they use for the gravy is... drumroll...🥁Dorab wolf-herring (ikan parang) and it’s pretty expensive. In fact, it even caused a “laksa war” among netizens when a netizen from Pahang mentioned that they only use the ikan parang, not those cheap mackerels like ikan kembung and ikan selayang, ouch! The ingredients for the gravy is the usual spices boiled with coconut milk.

PAHANG

1. Pahang Laksa
Image Credit: Laksa Pahang Kak Rose - Resepi Asli Anak Pahang (FB)

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk-based

The gravy for Pahang laksa is orange in colour and the method of preparation is similar to other laksa. The fish is first blended and then boiled with coconut milk together with other spices like asam gelugur, shallots, chilis and others. It is then served with sambal and ulam as toppings.

PAHANG

1. Pahang Laksa
Image Credit: Laksa Pahang Kak Rose - Resepi Asli Anak Pahang (FB)

Noodle: wheat flour noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk-based

The gravy for Pahang laksa is orange in colour and the method of preparation is similar to other laksa. The fish is first blended and then boiled with coconut milk together with other spices like asam gelugur, shallots, chilis and others. It is then served with sambal and ulam as toppings.

KELANTAN & TERENGGANU

1. Laksam
Image Credit: leatutty_dapoq (IG)

Noodle: wheat & rice flour noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

This special laksa is also known as lasae in Thai. So, what’s so special about laksam? First of all, the noodles can be easily made at home, all you have to do is prepare the rice flour batter and pour thinly on a round and flat utensil (usually curry pot lid or pan). Then, steam it for about 3 minutes. After that, remove it from the utensil while hot and roll it. Then, cut it into a few pieces. Laksam is a type of laksa kuah putih (white gravy laksa) due to its white gravy. The white and creamy gravy is a result of boiling coconut milk with mackerel fish paste and other ingredients. It is usually served with a gallop of vinegared chilli sambal, some chopped long beans and other vegetables and herbs (called "ulam" in Malay).

2. Laksa Lemak Kelantan
Image Credit: sizuka_makanmakan (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

It has the same gravy as laksam which is the kuah putih, the only difference is that it uses the laksa noodle. As the kuah putih does not have a lot of spices in it, the taste is milder and locals love to eat it for breakfast.

3. Terengganu Laksa
Image Credit: Swee Yan (IG)
Image Credit: Mark Ong (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

There are 2 types of gravies for Terengganu laksa, namely the kuah putih/kuah mentah (white gravy/raw gravy) and kuah merah/kuah masak (red gravy/cooked gravy). In the past, in order to make kuah mentah, coconut milk was added raw without boiling it firsthand into the fish paste with other ingredients hence its name. However, nowadays people usually just heat it without boiling it. Kuah mentah made out of this method is meant to be eaten immediately as storing it for some time will end up spoiling it. Kuah masak on the other hand is reddish and similar to Pahang laksa but uses less fish. It uses the same topping as laksam which are the ulam.

KELANTAN & TERENGGANU

1. Laksam
Image Credit: leatutty_dapoq (IG)

Noodle: wheat & rice flour noodles

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

This special laksa is also known as lasae in Thai. So, what’s so special about laksam? First of all, the noodles can be easily made at home, all you have to do is prepare the rice flour batter and pour thinly on a round and flat utensil (usually curry pot lid or pan). Then, steam it for about 3 minutes. After that, remove it from the utensil while hot and roll it. Then, cut it into a few pieces. Laksam is a type of laksa kuah putih (white gravy laksa) due to its white gravy. The white and creamy gravy is a result of boiling coconut milk with mackerel fish paste and other ingredients. It is usually served with a gallop of vinegared chilli sambal, some chopped long beans and other vegetables and herbs (called "ulam" in Malay).

2. Laksa Lemak Kelantan
Image Credit: sizuka_makanmakan (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

It has the same gravy as laksam which is the kuah putih, the only difference is that it uses the laksa noodle. As the kuah putih does not have a lot of spices in it, the taste is milder and locals love to eat it for breakfast.

3. Terengganu Laksa
Image Credit: Swee Yan (IG)
Image Credit: Mark Ong (IG)

Noodle: thick rice noodles (laksa noodles)

Soup: fish & coconut milk based

There are 2 types of gravies for Terengganu laksa, namely the kuah putih/kuah mentah (white gravy/raw gravy) and kuah merah/kuah masak (red gravy/cooked gravy). In the past, in order to make kuah mentah, coconut milk was added raw without boiling it firsthand into the fish paste with other ingredients hence its name. However, nowadays people usually just heat it without boiling it. Kuah mentah made out of this method is meant to be eaten immediately as storing it for some time will end up spoiling it. Kuah masak on the other hand is reddish and similar to Pahang laksa but uses less fish. It uses the same topping as laksam which are the ulam.

SARAWAK

1. Sarawak Laksa
Image Credit: R O (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Named as ‘Breakfast of the Gods’ by the late Anthony Bourdain, Sarawak laksa is made of more than 20 different kinds of ingredients. The soup base is boiled with a concoction of herbs and spices, which surprisingly gives it a more subtle and mild flavour compared to other curry laksa. Some of the key ingredients that thicken the soup are roasted ground sesame seeds and peanuts. Sarawak laksa is generally served with chicken meat, thinly chopped omelette and prawns. Spicy sambal and lime are also served as condiments.

SARAWAK

1. Sarawak Laksa
Image Credit: R O (IG)

Noodle: rice vermicelli

Soup: coconut milk curry-based

Named as ‘Breakfast of the Gods’ by the late Anthony Bourdain, Sarawak laksa is made of more than 20 different kinds of ingredients. The soup base is boiled with a concoction of herbs and spices, which surprisingly gives it a more subtle and mild flavour compared to other curry laksa. Some of the key ingredients that thicken the soup are roasted ground sesame seeds and peanuts. Sarawak laksa is generally served with chicken meat, thinly chopped omelette and prawns. Spicy sambal and lime are also served as condiments.

So there you go, all the laksa from each state, all 16 of them. So, how many of these different laksa from each state have you eaten before? Which is your favourite?


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