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Singapore-style Laksa downtown Toronto?

foodlovinggal May 27, 2010 05:58 PM

Anyone know where I can find amazing Singapore-style laksa in downtown Toronto?

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  1. munchieHK RE: foodlovinggal May 27, 2010 06:55 PM

    Actually, I would be grateful to find the real thing anywhere in the GTA, let alone downtown. There is a place on Spadina that proclaims 'Laksa' on its facade, but unless you enjoy the taste of bitter disappointment, I would not recommend it.
    I have pretty much abandoned this particular search, along with my quests for good Indonesian and Turkish cuisine. I don't think TO has the populations of these ethnic groups to support authentic restaurants. Let me know if you discover otherwise. I'll keep on making my laksa at home.

    8 Replies
    1. re: munchieHK
      foodlovinggal RE: munchieHK May 27, 2010 07:03 PM

      Thanks munchieHK. What a shame! I'm dying for some good laksa. I bought a laksa mix from an Asian grocery store to make it and it was terrible. How do you make yours..... from scratch?

      1. re: foodlovinggal
        munchieHK RE: foodlovinggal May 27, 2010 09:37 PM

        Yep...that's the only way! Make your own spice paste and you can't go wrong (well, you can actually, but it's still gonna be better than out of a package). Here's an easy and good method for making a paste:
        Singapore Laksa/Laksa Lemak Spice Paste

        2 chopped small onions
        4 cloves of crushed garlic
        1 tbsp crushed blanched candle nuts (use macadamias if you must)
        2 tbsp soaked dried shrimp
        2 bulbs of fresh lemongrass finely chopped
        2 tbsp chopped fresh galangal
        1 tsp shrimp paste (Indonesian belacan is best)
        2 long red chillies (adjust according to taste)
        1 tsp ground turmeric
        Bunch of Vietnamese Mint, finely chopped. Alternative is coriander, but it's worth the effort to find the mint.
        1 tsp ground coriander

        Put the lot into a food blender and blend until smooth, you may need to add a little vegetable oil to help it all come together. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and blend again. Put in a bowl and refrigerate until required.

        1. re: munchieHK
          Apple RE: munchieHK May 28, 2010 10:35 AM

          Thank sounds wonderful. Where can you buy belacan? I have never seen it at T&T

          1. re: Apple
            munchieHK RE: Apple May 29, 2010 11:17 AM

            The Belacan I buy is in a block with a blue wrapper and it is Njonja brand. You can generally find it in the bigger Chinese supermarkets. I would be very surprised if T&T did not stock it. Otherwise, root around the supermarkets on Spadina. Chinese shrimp paste will do in a pinch, but it's really not the same.

          2. re: munchieHK
            YVR flyboy RE: munchieHK Feb 12, 2012 10:43 AM

            I'm from Vancouver(often in Toronto). Here is my version: Laksa Sauce paste from T & T. canned coconut milk, chicken broth, rice vermicellli noodles(be careful not to buy bean vermicelli), fish cake(sold at T & T in a brick, then sliced in preparation, fish balls at T & T seafood dept, live mussels, shrimp(live or frozen), baby octopus(frozen), optional hard boiled egg halves, been sprouts. Sambal oelek or balacan(again T&T). I line the bottom of each bowl with a small amount of bean sprouts, a couple of boiled egg halves and cooked rice vermicelli noodles. In a large pot, I fry about a 1/4 cup of the paste before adding the seafood , then the fish cake slices & fish balls before adding a can of coconut milk & finally the chicken broth before finally pouring it over the noodles in the bowl before adding a dollop of sambal.

          3. re: foodlovinggal
            klyeoh RE: foodlovinggal Apr 19, 2011 08:23 PM

            If you need to buy pre-packed laksa spice mix, just get the Prima brand (mentioned by other posters in this thread) - it's the only authentic-tasting brand I'd found anywhere in the world!

            1. re: klyeoh
              towkay RE: klyeoh Apr 20, 2011 08:08 AM

              Agree! Prima laksa is one of their better recipe. Wish their Cdn distributors will stock more of the other Prima recipes, than what is currently offered, besides the Chicken rice, rendang and curry paste.

          4. re: munchieHK
            Teep RE: munchieHK May 28, 2010 06:57 AM

            You may be happy to know that Laksa on Spadina is a goner.

            Have you tried Matahari's version?

          5. s
            szw RE: foodlovinggal May 28, 2010 11:54 AM

            Have you tried gourmet garden's version?

            BTW I have seen belacan (from penang) at T&T before but can't comment on recently because I no longer go there. I have bought it recently at Oriental Mart on denison north of Pacific Mall recently.

            1. m
              Madcar RE: foodlovinggal May 28, 2010 03:04 PM

              My family goes to Lion City in Mississauga for our Singaporean food, including Laksa (we're Singaporean-Canadian).

              Lion City Restaurant
              1177 Central Pky W, Unit 70, Mississauga, ON L5C4P3, CA

              1. foodlovinggal RE: foodlovinggal May 28, 2010 06:55 PM

                Thanks for all your input. MunchieHK..... thanks for the recipe! Can't wait to give it a try.

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodlovinggal
                  munchieHK RE: foodlovinggal May 29, 2010 11:17 AM

                  You're most welcome. Enjoy!

                2. t
                  TanglinBoy RE: foodlovinggal Sep 2, 2010 08:26 PM

                  Garden Gourmet on Sheppard & Brimley is as good as it gets, if you get the older "see-fu" or the owner.
                  Probably the closest taste to home. If anyone has tried GG and know of anywhere else let me know !
                  I tried alot of places claiming authentic Singapore/Malaysian but try asking for sambal and see if they
                  know what you're talking about. They've got popiah on wkends.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: TanglinBoy
                    smfan RE: TanglinBoy Sep 3, 2010 01:30 PM

                    One 2 snacks authentic Malaysian food at the Dynasty Centre, 8 Glen Watford Drive, Unit 26, Scarborough. On Sheppard & east of Midland. I find their Laksa is better than the Garden Gourment. They also serve Nasi Lemak and desserts on the weekend.

                    1. re: smfan
                      Wandering Foodie RE: smfan Sep 3, 2010 09:58 PM

                      Gourmet Garden is so-so. I find A Snack Or Two (or is it One 2 Snacks?) bland which is the opposite of what laksa should be. My fav restaurant laksa is at Coconut Island at Kennedy & Hwy 7. However, we prefer homemade laksa during the warmer months since it's labour intensive and makes the place smell of spices.

                      For reference, my taste buds prefer Malaysian laksa to Singaporean laksa.

                      1. re: Wandering Foodie
                        TanglinBoy RE: Wandering Foodie Sep 27, 2010 01:19 PM

                        Finally took a drive up to Coconut Island to try their Curry Laksa.
                        I'm from Singapore and they definitely DO NOT serve Singapore laksa.
                        Theirs is a mild-spiced up version of what we in Singapore call Hokkien Mee (soup version). Singapore laksa is spicy with laksa sauce (not curry), heavy on coconut milk,
                        with either beehoon or li-fun, with whole shrimp, sliced fish cake, fried tofu, boneless
                        chicken and the elusive cockle. Then there's the topping of hot sambal blachan ( chili
                        shrimp paste) . Coconut Island's soup was tasty with a nice shrimp flavour but
                        hokkien mee (yellow noodles) in Singapore Laksa? No coconut milk, no fish cake and no sambal blachan...$7.50 Ouch ! So back to GG @ Sheppard/Brimley, everything
                        in an authentic Singapore Laksa (minus cockles), a treat @ $5.80 !

                        1. re: TanglinBoy
                          Wandering Foodie RE: TanglinBoy Sep 28, 2010 07:29 AM

                          Hmm... this is disconcerting. I was there 3 weeks ago and what you described is not what I got. It was Malaysian style: laksa sauce, coconut milk, mix of yellow thick noodles and white vermicelli, etc... (although they had to substitute brisket for chicken because they were out that day). Hopefully they didn't change it. I do admit the owners recognize me but I don't think I get any special treatment because if I were preparing the laksa paste, it would be a whole batch rather than individual servings.

                          1. re: Wandering Foodie
                            TanglinBoy RE: Wandering Foodie Sep 28, 2010 09:26 AM

                            Thks for the feedback, I'll give them another try in case they had an "off day"'
                            it happens even at GG, not the same when the apprentice does it.

                            1. re: TanglinBoy
                              Wandering Foodie RE: TanglinBoy Sep 28, 2010 02:47 PM

                              Yeah, I'll have to check it out again to see if they changed. BTW, have you come across a place that serves it with cockles? I see canned cockles in the supermarkets sometimes but never seen it in dishes yet.

                              1. re: Wandering Foodie
                                TanglinBoy RE: Wandering Foodie Sep 28, 2010 07:09 PM

                                Lots of clams but no sight of cockles in any restaurants-doubt they even heard of them. I've seen them occasionally in the frozen fish section in Chinese & Filipino supermarkets, common in England.

                  2. Teep RE: foodlovinggal Sep 12, 2010 06:01 PM

                    I saw an ad in the Chinese newspaper today for Villa Malaysia, at 140 York, Richmond Hill, (East Beaver Creek/Hwy 7). Among the specialties they listed is "la-sa" (in Chinese) which I assume would be laksa. Someone please go try it out!


                    Edit: it's already been written about here

                    1. h
                      helenhelen RE: foodlovinggal Nov 8, 2010 05:02 PM

                      is there anywhere with vegetarian laksa?

                      1. t
                        thecupcakegal RE: foodlovinggal Nov 12, 2010 07:10 PM

                        THE best authentic Laksa (though Malaysian, mind you) is at Restoran Malaysia in Richmond Hill (Bayview & Major Mac). I know, it's a bit far out to suburbia, but trust me, it's worth it! The BF and I have been there for years, and it's his favourite dish. Btw, if you do go, request the Laksa with the mixed noodles. Also the pulled tea is amazing as well as their Roti.


                        1. j
                          jazzng RE: foodlovinggal Dec 28, 2010 09:01 AM

                          Has anyone tried the malaysian food stand inside First Markham Place? It's in the food court tucked into the corner. I usually get the laksa or nasi lemak. I can't seem to find good nasi lemak--i know, very basic but I am trying not to use nasi lemak craving to fly all the way to Malaysia.
                          I too have resorted to making my own laksa paste at home. Lots of ingredients and more work than I am used to when it comes to cooking.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jazzng
                            towkay RE: jazzng Jan 5, 2011 01:59 PM

                            PRIMA laksa paste is next best to flying to Singapore/Malaysia, if T&T/Toronto should ever decide to restock them. It even has coconut milk and sambal in the mix!

                          2. hal2010 RE: foodlovinggal Jan 5, 2011 02:14 PM

                            Satay on the Road does laksa. I tried it this weekend, but as it was my first time trying it, I have no comparison. It was a bit like Thai coconut chicken soup (Tom Kha Gai) with rice noodles and some red curry paste, but not as sweet.

                            Satay on the Road
                            2003 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

                            1. t
                              Tony8952 RE: foodlovinggal Mar 29, 2011 05:02 AM

                              Lion City Restaurant's Laksa is usually quite good..

                              T&T supermarket used to carry a decent packaged “DoDo” labeled Laksa as well as fish balls. The quality is surprising for a packaged product, but T&T has stopped stocking it at their Mississauga store (probably due to its slight price premium). It's possible your local Asian supermarket could import them from the manufacturer below (Thong Siek):

                              - "DoDo" Coconut Curry Rice Stick with Fish Cakes (Laksa)

                              - "DoDo" Fish Balls and other seafood balls

                              Prima still sells their pastes, also decent. It had a restaurant in Robson St, Vancouver called Prima Taste Restaurant, but it closed down.

                              Lion City Restaurant
                              1177 Central Pky W, Unit 70, Mississauga, ON L5C4P3, CA

                              1. k
                                kewgardens RE: foodlovinggal Jun 16, 2014 07:46 AM

                                Prima Laksa, Curry at T&T supermarket. The best laksa you can get, you pay slightly more compare to others. THE BEST.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kewgardens
                                  Charles Yu RE: kewgardens Jun 16, 2014 09:44 AM

                                  Here's my posting!

                                  1. re: kewgardens
                                    Michael N RE: kewgardens Jun 16, 2014 10:01 AM

                                    Indeed. In fact, I went to Lion City, which was mentioned by a few people in this thread, and found that their laksa actually wasn't significantly better than the Prima Taste version. That's pretty crazy, all things considered. I don't know if that reflects really well on Prima Taste, or really poorly on Lion City. A bit of both, I guess.

                                  2. Teep RE: foodlovinggal Jun 17, 2014 08:55 PM

                                    Tried it at Hot and Spicy on Queen near Bathurst earlier in the year - bland and tasting like an instant mix or something.

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