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SIN HWA CAFÉ LAKSA

Posted by crizlai On February - 27 - 2009|

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Laksa is another one of the great hawker dishes one should not miss if you were to be in Penang for a visit. Originated from the Peranakan (Baba and Nyonya) culture, this dish will come in two different flavors, namely assam (tamarind) soup base or lemak (in coconut milk) soup base. The fish used for this delicious delicacy may differ for each store as some may use ikan parang (wolf herring), belut (eel), ikan kembong (Indian mackerel) or ikan selar (yellow tail scad). Most commercially used would be the latter two as the wolf herring contained too many tiny bones to work with and eel would be rather expensive.

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The most common Laksa you will get easily throughout the state of Penang, either in Chinese, Malay or Indian styles, would be the Assam Laksa. The other not so commonly found would be the Laksa Lemak, a spicy version of fish soup base with the use of coconut milk. I found a few such stalls selling in Penang but I personally love the one served in Sin Hwa Café where the reputable Char Koay Teow stall is. What matters most in a Laksa dish is not the ingredients served but lies within the tastiness of the soup broth and the quality of the prawn paste used (heko). In a typical bowl of Laksa, you would get the laksa noodles, sliced cucumber, lettuce, onions, pineapple and mint leaves, garnished with sliced ginger flower buds (bunga kantan) and red chillies, topped with some diluted prawn paste (heko).

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Sin Hwa Café Assam Laksa is somewhat different as in taste as the cook would use tamarind juice instead of tamarind peels as some of the other stalls. It has just the right amount of sourness to my liking. Some ladies may want the soup to be a bit more sour in taste but as a guy here, I like it just the way it is with many spoonful of the yummy prawn paste. A normal bowl would cost RM3 whereas a larger bowl would be at RM4.

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The other version I had tried was the Laksa Lemak. On top of the typical serving of ingredients, it has that special spicy and milky taste that I like very much. The soup broth had the pungent taste of lemongrass, a hint of fresh turmeric and not too overpowering taste of coconut milk. This would be perfect for those who prefer a spicier dish and prawn paste lovers. The price would be the same as the Assam Laksa.

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You would be surprised if I were to tell you that the above two were not my most favorable choices, it’s the third choice – Laksa Assam Lemak. Yes, it’s a combination of both the soup broths. The best combination would be 2/3 of the Lemak soup and 1/3 of the Assam soup. You have to inform the seller on your preference as he would always combine half of each soup broth.

Please also take note that the Penang Assam Laksa and Laksa Lemak are totally different from those served in other states such as the Laksa Perlis, Laksa Kedah, Laksa Ipoh, Laksa Kuala Kangsar, Laksa Johor, Laksa Sarawak, Laksa Kelantan or even the Laksa Katong as some of these are actually a variant of Penang Curry Mee (a thicker coconut milk soup base). Moreover other ingredients used may include fried tofu puff, fried/hard boiled eggs, chicken meat, prawns, fish cakes, fish balls, char siew, and more.

The Laksa stall in also in Sin Hwa Café in Pulau Tikus. If you are coming from town along Jalan Burma, you would a service road after Lebuhraya Codrington on your left. That’s where the Pulau Tikus 7-11 branch is. Try finding a parking space there. If you can’t find one, you will have to come out of the service road into the main road and turn left into Jalan Moulmein (between two coffee shops). Drive further until you have reached a crossroad (Jalan Pasar/ Jalan Moulmein/ Persiaran Cantoment) and you will see a huge car park at a corner just opposite along Persiaran Cantonment. Park your car there and walk back up Jalan Moulmein, turn left and walk further up and you will see the stall within the premise of Sin Hwa Café.

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Name: SIN HWA CAFÉ LAKSA
Address: 329 Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 017-471 7330 (Mr. Max)
Opening Hours: 10.30am-4.30pm (Closed Thursday)
GPS: 5.430656, 100.312400

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

16 Responses to “SIN HWA CAFÉ LAKSA”

  1. oh…. I think I know this place. But it’s been ages that I did not drop by this place liao. Now reminding me that I should go and try out when I crave for laksa. lol

    Remember Mary… do try out 2/3 laksa lemak and 1/3 assam soup mix for your laksa… you sure will crave for more. 😛

  2. SimpleGirl says:

    My dad recommended this to me….he said it has been existed for many many years….yea, the laksa there quite good also…

    Well, the cook behind the delicious laksa is still the same old lady but now it’s being helped out by her grandson. The standard has maintained the same ever since.

  3. Chin says:

    The condiments esp ginger flower must be there and fish should be in chunky pieces. I am sold.

    Hmmm.. if I were to cook laksa with grouper or Spanish mackerel with crab meat, I wondered if you would fly down here immediately.. 😛

  4. allie says:

    So many pieces of fish which can hardly be found in any laksa these day… Must go try out lol..

    I know you would… girls like Laksa a lot.. I wondered why? LOL!

  5. Sooo heavenly… I’ve only visited Sin Hwa for the CKT but I think I’ll make an exception the next time. Bumped up on my list!

    Don’t miss out the laksa during your next trip here Min, you will sure love it a lot. 🙂

  6. Selba says:

    Interesting laksa….

    You should try this Selby… it’s a must!! 😛

  7. Duckie says:

    oh i like the laksa here!!! somehow i find the laksa here tastes better and other places!!! my vote for best laksa in penang!!!

    Oh.. finally someone agreed with me on the stall being one of the the best around Penang. 🙂

  8. fodbin says:

    the noodle looks like homemade-it is an essential ingredient for a good bowl of the laksa.

    Yea Leong.. it’s homemade as you can see the sparkles on the surface. You won’t get that shine if you were to use dried ones. 🙂

  9. Jason Wong says:

    Actually when we make laksa asam, we use both the tamarind juice and peel. One give the acidity taste and the other gives that tangy flavor.

    The fish is boiled and the stock is used in the soup, then the bones are removed and then cooked again in the tamarind soup.

    I prefer to have my laksa with the fish all blended in the soup so that every mouthful has that acidic, sweet and fishy taste and rough texture.

    Hmmm… would you love to have a bowl with grouper and crab meat? Let me get some groupers first.. but you have to cut all the vegetables. LOL!! It’s all hard work to get a well balance laksa with fresh crunchy vegetables. Regarding the peel, I don’t quite like them floating about in my bowl of laksa. I rather like to slurp down everything without having all the “extras” blocking my throat way.. haha 😛

  10. lingzie says:

    one of my favourite laksa stalls! and i like it ‘cham’ too!
    and strangely enough i didn’t like laksa when i was young. only developed a taste for it when i was much older! 😛

    Me too… I love Hokkien Mee more but somehow the laksa from this specific stall caught my appetite. 🙂

  11. I’ve never been very fancy about Laksa, however, this 1 looks nice. Next time please bring me to this place.

    Why not, it’s so near your office. 🙂

  12. jaslynbaoz says:

    to my horror!!! how can u say it is homemade noodles? in the first place i saw it with my own eyes that an old man will come every morning around 9.30am to 10am to send the noodles to them…AND they PAY him as well..(think think think…if it is homemade by them…WHY on earth should they pay?) wel…no doubt the laksa here taste good…as i have always frequented this laksa…mostly in the morning…to me it is just an above average bowl of laksa not as EXCELLENT as what u said here…lucky me…to taste the best laksa..the secret is in the soup, prawn paste n fish…not the noodles…if not….this will not be my favourite destination for laksa anymore…hehehe

    wel… the service is so so by them only as most of the time..i have to wait for them…sumtimes i was told by the kopi aunty that they went to buy breakfast…what is the use of opening the stall ready for business and walk off just like that….shouldn’t they leave someone behind to mend the stall…y must the husband n wife go together? seriously…most of the time i went there…i have to wait for them…instead of them waiting at the stalls for customers…i have also seen the owner went to the backlane to smoke and leave the stall unattended….maybe the time u go there…they know that u r coming…that is y they waited there…if not the service marks should not be so high lo…hehehehe

    n one more thing…my compliments to the grandma…not the owner of this stall as the soups are cooked by her…all the owner does is just sell…i was told by one of the owner’s uncle. but seriously…u should all give it a try for the lemak laksa…the assam wan…just ok only…

    Wow! You seemed to know a lot about the stall. 😛 Don’t get me wrong on the term used. When I said homemade, it could well meant made at home but not necessary by the stall owner. At least the noodles were not mass produced. Another thing that you got it right was on the soup. The grandson only sell the laksa. Everything else was prepared by his grandma in another house behind the row of shop houses.

    For your information, it was an impromptu visit that he did not expect. Maybe my timing was just right to see him there. 😛 Another thing that you may want to know… he’s a bachelor. 😛 Only occasionally his girl friend would help him out, thus he’s shorthanded most of the time. Even if he has to replenish his fresh cut vegetables for the stall, he would have to be away from the stall for awhile.

    It’s also not within our control to intrude into his personal life as he has the right to do anything legal out from the sight of his customers. In case you might want to know how I know so much, I had personally called him up to clarify your complaints. He’s aware of your complaint now and would do his best to ensure customer satisfaction in the future. I hope you are happy with this explanation. Thanks for your feedback 🙂 By the way, I’m also curious about you mentioning about the best laksa in town. Care to share with my readers here as they have the right to know too. 🙂

  13. jaslynbaoz says:

    haha…i know so much because i very kaypo wan…i will ask all sorts of questions to all stall owner when i patronize their stall…n oso i cant stop my ears from overhearing..hehehe…
    oh…really….i did not knoe that girl is only his gf…well…the girl is there everyday not occasionally…my office is just near there n i always walk the kaki lima ther hunting for food…mayb i m wrong…but i was there oneday when they were arguing….n i heard the girl shouted ‘wa si lu eh boh lai chai o’..so i tot she is the wife lo…
    furthermore…he cuts his vegetable at his stall la…he never walks off to cut the vege elsewhere…unless to wash the noodles lo…
    on the best penang laksa…i personally prefered the one in air itam…below kek lok si…altho some people might not like it as rumours say they use tissue..the soup is always boiling cos a lot of people…they even mashed the fish meat n added it in the soup…when the soup keeps boiling the sweetness of the fish will add the ommph! to the soup…u will not c chunks of fish when it is serve tho pasai sudah mashed……the prawn paste n noodles are made by themself…thumb up for the prawn paste…so in conclusion…my favourite assam laksa is in air itam n my favourite lemak laksa is here….since u knoe the owner soo wel…is it possible for u to ask him to prepare more lemak soup on weekends? as i know he only prepare one pot of lemak soup only n byt 3pm it has finish…i always missed it…

    Haha.. you sure is very frank in admitting that. I’m such a person too at times. 😛 Well, sometimes his Grandma will help out in the cutting, maybe during peak period. By the way, I don’t know him that well but I could always call up to send in your suggestion. You could do that too you know with the contact number easily provided in the post.

    Yea… I heard lots of rumours about the tissues and fish feed added into the soup. That’s the reason why most people prefer to see chunks of fresh fish on their laksa. Everyone’s taste buds are different when savouring laksa and there are so many versions in Penang alone. Some even have fish balls added in. It’s up to what you would love to have but still the Laksa Lemak here is still the best 🙂

  14. jennykins says:

    ooh…went there on labour day..too bad….the taste has gone from good to WORSE…..guess I will have to strike out this stall….it was a really big letdown and i mean BIG letdown for me and my kl n singapore frens….
    the noodles are too soggy…the vegetable is over cooked and we have waited at least 20 minutes for 2 bowls of laksa…slow service….and bad food…..the soup too…it taste very very different…too ‘cheng’ already..like plain water like that…

    Hey Jenny… you should give them your feedback directly and to be part of the concerned citizens on the quality of food in Penang.

  15. Jay-P. says:

    Close to our Penang homebase as well… will give it a try but I thought they also were known for their CKT?
    Jay-P.

    Well, It used to be better under the older generations Jay-P. I guessed the younger generation would need time to get that skill. 🙂

  16. GREAT ARTICLE!

    AT CHULIA COURT THE TAVERN WE HIGHLIGHT SOME NATIONAL DISHES LIKE NASI LEMAK, CHAR KOAY TEOW AND OF COURSE THE PENANG ASAM LAKSA WHICH WAS VOTED 7TH IN CNN’S WORLD TOP 10 YUMMIEST FOOD, AS WELL AS SEVERAL OTHER VARIETIES OF THIS FAMOUS DISH THAT IS GAINING POPULARITY AROUND THE WORLD.

    OUR DETAILS:
    CHULIA COURT
    355,357&359, Lebuh Chulia 10200 Pulau Pinang
    04-261 3809

    WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON AT CHULIA COURT.

    THANK YOU,

    KH 🙂

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Howdy from the Isle of delicious Asian food and the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Just call me Criz Lai and I am here to share with you on what’s the best food you can get in town as well as from many other parts of Malaysia.

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