Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Dec 23, 1999 10:36 AM

Laksa in NYC

  • n

Does anyone know where I can find a good version of the Singaporean laksa? (i.e., coconut noodle soup)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Unfortunately not. I've been looking for a good rendition of it myself. If you find a restaurant that has it, please post back.

    Istana (on Lafayette St.near Soho) has laksa, but do NOT order it -- it is a very pathetic version of it.

    11 Replies
    1. re: gary cheong

      Natasha -- We have a couple of Indonesian restaurants in or near Boston that present something they call Laksa. It can be good --but it isn't like the Laksa I used to eat in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

      There is a very popular NY chain of Malasian restaurants called "The Panang". The Boston version in Chinatown has some noodle soups that are pretty close to Laksa. Try the local NYC Panang and see what you think.
      Another close version can be found in some Vietnamese restaurants. Our favorite is in Boston's Chinatown and its a "Duck's Blood Noodle Soup with Chicken."
      If you find something close you can always bring your own hard boiled eggs, spices and pastes and add it in --with some prawn crackers :-) That ought to blow their minds!

      If you don't luck out I can post the Indonesian recepy I have and you can make it at home --like I sometimes do. Its a killer version.

      Happy Holidays

      1. re: Tord Svenson

        Penang's laksa is not the Singaporean version that Natasha is looking for. The broth is tamarind based instead of the coconut milk based. My preference is for the Singaporean version.

        I'd be curious to see what your Indonesian recipe is like.

        1. re: gary cheong

          Thanks for the reply. I did have one of these Penang-style laksas at a place in NYC's chinatown, and boy, was it pungent!! I really do not care for these at all, especially after tasting the sweet & smooth falor of the cocnut milk-based laksas.

          I do know a few places in New York where you can get reasonable laksas, of the Singaporean kind. One place is on Doyers (Boyers?)Street in Chinatown (just off Pell Street which runs from Mott to the Bowery), called something like "Indonesian Malaysian Restaurant". The place has a small take-out area on street level, but the actual restaurant in downstairs. The only problem here is that the women there can be a little nasty when you ask for extra chilli sauce (which is a must!). You might want to also order the excellent fried tofu, as they do not put tofu in the laksa. Then there is Jaya on Baxter Street (the block south of Canal) where the laksa has a bit more of a tumeric/curry powder flavor. The last one I know of is on the corner of West Broadway and Leonard Street in TriBeCa (the streets actually form a triangle there). This laksa is quite nice in the sense that they make it from scratch and use all fresh ingedients (no frozen seafood like all the rest). They are also very nice women there.

          So I hope that you check these places out and let me know what you think, and which one you prefer.

          1. re: Natasha

            You're right on the money about the place on doyer. It's among the best. Even The Straits, in SF cannot compare to this place. What's the name of the place you mentioned on W'Bway and Leonard? Other than the expected higher price, how does the taste hold up the place on doyer? Never mind the chic chic environs. Oh the women on doyer are not particularly rude... just the usual demeanor of waiters in Chinatown. Certainly paying higher prices in Tribeca means more courtesy expected (demanded?). But the quest for the best laksa is what we're talking about.

            1. re: Maumau
              Martha Gehan

              There is a recipe for the coconut milk-based laksa in The Bathers Pavilion Cookbook, an Australian cookbook. Don't know how authentic it is (sure sounds good) but it is full of esoteric ingredients that will have you dashing around Chinatown with your Asian grocery guide (see Book du Jour). Can't post it because of the copyright thing, but if anyone wants it I'll e-mail it to you.

              1. re: Martha Gehan

                Pls email the recipe to me. Thanks. I'll let you know after I try it out.

          2. re: gary cheong
            Jeremy Osner

            Hi Gary,

            In today's Voice, Sietsema reviews Sentosa on Allen St., which he says "offers a Singaporean perspective on Malaysian cooking." Maybe they would have what you're looking for.


            1. re: Jeremy Osner

              Thanks for the info Jeremy. Wanna go try it sometime?

              1. re: Gary Cheong

                I tried it out for lunch today (Sorry Gary, I would have invited you; I just saw your message now.) Very, very good! We shared an appetizer of pasembur, which was a jicama salad topped with crispy fried tofu and shrimp, with a squid-based dressing. I had a Kari Mee noodle soup, one of the richest, most flavorful broths I have encountered, with tofu-stuffed vegetables; my dining partner had a seafood noodle soup with a tomato-based broth. The bean curd in all the dishes was of the very highest quality.

                1. re: Jeremy

                  that's ok, jeremy. i wouldn't have been able to make it for lunch anyway. let's plan a dinner there soon.

              2. re: Jeremy Osner

                I think Sentosa is overrated from the conversation. It's over priced for the food they're serving. It's good and authentic. But to charge $9 for an entre of tofu with shrimp paste sauce is a major rip-off. In addition, the grease (lard used liberally) is totally unnecessary. Get real, because the place is not in SoHo or anywhere else where the price of tofu is expected to be inflated, I can't understand why it's so pricey for a restaurant in the fringes of Chinatown. I am afraid to eat there again because of the grease regardless of the price and location.