Hot treats spice up laksa fest

Low proudly showing off a bowl of his famous Laotian Laksa which garnered the highest number of votes from visitors during the Laksa of The Region event at the Penang State Museum in Macalister Road. (Left) Jacqueline Khoo, 51, (in checked shirt) enjoying some of the different types of laksa available at the fair. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

VISITORS were spoilt for choice at the Laksa of the Region (LoTR) event in Penang as they got to sample 24 varieties of laksa from the Asean countries.

The aroma of tangy sauce and spices filled the air at Penang State Museum in Macalister Road where the mouth-watering noodle soups were up for sale.

Visitors could also vote for their favourite version from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore as well as local variations from Kelantan, Sarawak, Johor Baru and Penang.

The event was part of George Town Festival’s Macam-Macam Asean Market.

Standing out from the crowd was the Laotian laksa prepared by operator of the ‘No Eyed Deer’ restaurant in Tanjung Tokong.

The stall won the coveted LoTR title after getting the most number of votes throughout the two-day event which ended recently.

Co-owner Ken Low said he knew his laksa had garnered a huge following over the years, but did not expect to win the event.

“Although our laksa is called Laotian Laksa, it is actually a house twist on the local favourite and not a dish from the Indochinese country.

“It is our own creation, and you won’t find it anywhere else.

Jacqueline Khoo,51, (second from right) enjoying various types of laksa with family and friends at the Macam-Macam ASEAN Laksa Of The Region (LOTR) event held at the Penang State Museum in Macalister Road, Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star/ 30 July 2017
Jacqueline Khoo, 51, (in checked shirt) enjoying some of the different types of laksa available at the fair. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

“As it has Thai and Vietnamese elements, we decided to name it after the country between them,” he said.

Low said his laksa was special as unlike the normal fish-based noodle, the Laotian Laksa has chicken or beef options and comes with an orangy soup with bean sprouts and fresh basil.

“It has a bit of santan plus lime to give it a tangy taste,” he said.

Local culinary instructor Nazlina Hussin launched her book titled ‘The Fierce Aunty’s No-nonsense Guide to the Perfect Laksa’ at the event.

The single mother of two first started off with a website known as ‘Pickles and Spices’ in 2007, offering insights into local traditional food before proceeding to conduct cooking classes and market tours.

“The book is something I always had in the back of my mind but had not put to paper.

“I grew up in a big family and laksa was our go-to evening snack.

“The book is an extensive guide to making various types of laksa.

“Topics include making the spice paste and its shelf life, how to choose the seafood as well as special sections on torch ginger and tamarind,” she said.

The book that boasts recipes for 16 types of laksa from various states and Asian countries as well as a vegan laksa will be made available early next month at various bookstores and tourist spots in Penang, as well as internationally on Amazon online shopping and Nazlina’s websites.

The Macam-Macam ASEAN market was one of the many events held in conjunction with George Town Festival, the annual global art and culture festival offering an exciting lineup of programmes till Sept 3.

For a detailed programme rundown, visit

For the latest updates, follow georgetownfestival on Facebook and Instagram or gt_festival on Twitter.

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