Penang Assam Laksa: Tangy Fish Noodle Soup

Penang Assam Laksa, a vibrant bowl of fish noodle soup hailing from the beautiful island of Penang, Malaysia, is a unique culinary experience that will awaken your taste buds. This dish is a delicious medley of flavors – sour, sweet, spicy, and savory – all perfectly balanced to create a symphony of taste. The tangy broth, made with tamarind and mackerel, is served over thick rice noodles and topped with fresh herbs and veggies. Named one of the world’s 50 best foods by CNN, Penang Assam Laksa is a dish that demands to be savored.

Penang Assam Laksa: Tangy Fish Noodle Soup


  • 500g of mackerel
  • 200g of thick rice noodles
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves
  • 1 torch ginger flower, sliced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • For the spice paste:
    • 10 dried red chilies, soaked in hot water
    • 5 shallots
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 lemongrass stalk
    • 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste

Cooking Steps

  • Begin by boiling the mackerel in a pot of water until fully cooked. Remove the fish, let it cool, then flake the meat and discard the bones. Reserve the broth.
  • Combine all the spice paste ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Heat a pot over medium heat and add the spice paste, lemongrass, and tamarind pulp. Stir-fry until fragrant.
  • Add the fish broth, flaked fish, sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • To serve, divide the noodles among the bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, making sure each bowl gets an equal amount of fish. Top with cucumber, onion, mint leaves, and torch ginger flower. Serve hot.

In conclusion, Penang Assam Laksa is a flavorful dish that showcases the complexity of Malaysian cuisine. The tangy, spicy broth combined with the fresh herbs and veggies create a refreshing and satisfying meal. The key to a perfect Assam Laksa lies in the freshness of the ingredients. Always choose fresh mackerel and herbs for the best flavor, and remember that the best Assam Laksa is one that strikes a balance between the sour, sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. So if you’re ready for a culinary adventure, give this dish a try and experience the magic of Penang Assam Laksa.

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