I was never a fan of ‘Indian’ food so I never dared to try Laksa ever since I’ve first set foot here in Singapore. Little did I know that Laksa is NOT an Indian food but is a Peranakan (Chinese and Malay mix) cuisine and that it’s surprisingly really good.
My first conversation with G included him ‘promising’ to take me to this popular and best Laksa place in the whole of Singapore, the Katong Laksa (East of Singapore). True to his word, albeit rather late (he fulfilled the rest of his promises earlier in our relationship!), he took me to 328 Katong, which is the best-est among the Laksa stores in the area.
Laksa War. All store owners selling Laksa in Katong claim that theirs is the best and authentic but you can never go wrong with the 328 Katong Laksa (51 East Coast Road).
Before we were sat down, the attendant immediately asked us three things (plus 1):
1. Size? Small (S$4), Medium (S$6), or Large (S$^6)
2. Clams? Or Cockles. It’s a free add-on.
3. You want Otah? Otah (Otak) is a local dish that is similar to a beef/meat loaf only it’s minced fish, wrapped in coconut leaves and then flamed grilled. Extra Otah is S$1.40
4. Drinks? Someone will come over to get your order.
And so we sat down and waited for our Laksa. It was a busy restaurant, customers just come and go, servers are loud, customers even more so. Lotsa photos of famous visitors and the owner Nancy (says a newspaper article but the business certificate on the wall says Lucy. Whatever) were plastered all over the store. It’s mostly her with Chinese celebrities that I do not know of and only one Ang Moh (Caucasian) that I know: Anthony Bourdain. Don’t expect a squeaky clean shop so if you’re the high-maintenance type, better not go here and try Laksa somewhere else.
Our Laksa arrived. G ordered Medium and I ordered Small. The laksa that was served has a mud-yellow hue as opposed to the the hawker center type of laksa which you can probably see in all of these food places, dark red/orange. This, for me, meant that the foodcourt laksa probably has that overpowering curry taste (which turned me off and made me NOT buy/have one). The one served in stall 51 (328 Katong Laksa) however has that perfect balance of curry AND coconut milk, not too spicy nor it’s too sweet and oily. Their soup, which they call gravy by the way (gravy is brown and for dipping and not a soup!), has just that perfect balance of flavour. It’s perfect with the Otah too as there’s not much meat in the soup. The dish has bits of sliced fish cake, cockles (I preferred not to have it on mine though, not really a fan of clams), halved prawns (I didn’t find any in mine so I fished some from G’s bowl!) and laksa leaves.
The small serving was quite filling, given that we had sushi buffet for lunch that day. 😀 I can see myself craving for this Katong Laksa but I don’t think I can make myself try the hawker center laksa since the one that I had was from the best. So if ever you are planning to visit Singapore and wants something Singaporean + authentic + affordable, you can never get wrong with 328 Katong Laksa.
328 Katong Laksa is located at 51 East Coast Road, near I12 Katong Mall.