Malaysia is not the only country that makes laksa. Check out Indonesian Cibinong Laksa – a regional version from West Java.
There are many dishes popular in both Malaysia and Indonesia and both countries will argue until the end about which country can claim its origins. Laksa is one of those dishes. The dishes will have the same name as the two countries’ languages are very similar and have the same vocabulary in many instances. Laksa is very popular in Malaysia, its second national dish after Nasi Lemak. Most people associate laksa mostly with Malaysian cuisine, but don’t tell the Indonesians that.
In Malaysia, laksa varies from region to region. I have always loved the versions of laksa I have tried until I visited Penang last year. Since I was in Penang, I knew I couldn’t leave without trying their regional laksa. I knew it was made with mackerel, a fish with a strong flavor – not one of my fave fish varieties, but I was still game. This is one version of laksa I would stay away from unless you are a sour, smelly fish fan. I don’t know what was worse the strong fish flavor or the extremely sour broth with LOTS of tamarind. I am doing you the favor if you ever visit Penang, there is so much other delicious food than to subject yourself to their laksa!
Like Malaysia, Indonesia also has regional varieties of laksa. This version comes from the region of Cibinong, in West Java. I did make a few variations from the traditional version due to preference and availability. I am not a tempeh (fermented soybean cake) fan, so I instead used king oyster mushrooms and when I went to the Asian market to get the ingredients, they were out of bean sprouts. Go figure – no bean sprouts in an Asian market. Anyway, I instead used flowering chives. In Indonesia, they would use lemon basil. I substituted with Thai basil.
Before we get to today’s laksa, don’t forget to check out the other Laksa versions I have made before:
IN THE MAKING
This light soup is perfect for the summer season!
This is a definite improvement over the Penang version 🙂