Baba proves he can cook the best curry laksa

THANKS to overwhelming support from voters, Limapulo: Baba Can Cook along Jalan Doraisamy in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is the proud winner of the award for the Best Curry Laksa in the Klang Valley in The Star People’s Food Awards.

Present to receive the award from StarMetro representative Aida Ahmad was none other than the Baba cook himself, Limapulo executive chef John Tan Kim Chye and his godson, Limapulo owner Alan Yun.

Known affectionately by his customers as ‘Uncle John’, the 73-year old explained that coming from a proud Baba-Nyonya family meant that it was their duty to carry on the legacy of tasty Nyonya cuisine.

“Our passion for Nyonya cuisine led to the idea of opening restaurants dedicated to Nyonya food,” said Uncle John, whose repertoire of Nyonya recipes was largely handed down across generations in his family in Malacca.

Simply irresistable: The Nyonya Laksa Lemak at Limapulo: Baba Can Cook contains only fresh ingredients, making its preparation a tedious process.The Star Food Award Prize Presentation for Best Curry Laksa Category to Limapulo.
Simply irresistable: The Nyonya Laksa Lemak at Limapulo.Baba Can Cook contains only fresh ingredients, making its preparation a tedious process.

His godson Yun had opened restaurants in other locations before this, but Limapulo had only come to the famed Heritage Row by invitation over a year ago.

Within that one year, Limapulo’s reputation as a Nyonya specialty restaurant had spread far and wide over the Internet, sometimes attracting even foreign tourists from as far as London to their doorstep.

“This recipe was taught to me by my mother, whose laksa was the pride of our family. The only difference is that while she uses the traditional method of approximation (agak-agak) for the quantity of ingredients, I carefully measure out mine.”

“The laksa that we serve here is not strictly a ‘curry laksa’ per se as we do not use curry leaves or curry powder, so the dish is instead known as Nyonya Laksa Lemak,” explained Uncle John.

The paste used in the laksa comprises no less than eight core ingredients such as shallots, galangal, turmeric, candlenuts, dried chillies and lemongrass, but the preparation takes a lot of work.

“Because we only use fresh ingredients in our laksa, preparing it is a very tedious process as it takes hours to peel the ingredients. Blending the ingredients takes more than three hours and preparing the broth takes another two hours,” he added.

It is due to this limitation that Limapulo and Limabelas, their sister restaurant in The Intermark, can only prepare a maximum of about 70 bowls of laksa in a day.

Packed with ingredients such as shredded chicken, fried tofu puffs and tofu skin, bean sprouts, hard-boiled egg, fishball and fish cake, the quality of this tasty laksa is justified at the price of RM9.90 for a big bowl.

“The laksa is normally sold out by lunch, which is a good thing because we do not believe in keeping leftovers for our customers,” said Uncle John.

With great taste comes service with a smile as Uncle John himself is often found seated at the entrance of the shop, waiting to welcome customers and tell them about the Nyonya delicacies still in stock.

“I feel proud today, knowing that our dishes are appreciated by our patrons, and also honoured that in my twilight days, we have received recognition for having the best laksa in town,” said Uncle John.

Limapulo, located near Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel along Jalan Doraisamy, opens for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday. Business hours are from noon to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm.

The Star People’s Food Awards is a monthly contest that recognises the best street food in the Klang Valley.

This month, visit the Metro Online Broadcast website at and vote for your favourite eateries in the current category for rojak buah.

Those who nominate, vote or share the link on social media stand a chance to win attractive prizes such as hotel stays and dining vouchers.

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