Located right next to Tolido is a totally under-the-radar Penang eatery Gu Cheng. Not quite the most expected place to find some Penang Laksa.
An olden Chinese inn signboard writing “古城” which means “ancient city” hung on the entrance, with coffee shop style tables and chairs. However, upon entering the premise, I thought there was a strange cooked food smell that won’t go away.
Gu Cheng specialises in Penang cuisine such as Penang Laksa ($6.90), Penang Hokkien Mee ($6.90), Signature Carrot Cake ($6.90); two mains of Shrimp Fried Rice ($4.90) and Beef Stew ($7.90).
There are also some side dishes offered such as Lor Bak ($3.50), Signature Crispy Tofu ($4.90), Otah ($3.50), and Fried Chicken with Salted Egg Yolk ($7.90).
After being disappointed with some Penang eateries here, I must say the Penang Laksa ($6.90) was not too bad at all.
There was that familiar taste tangy-meets-spiciness in the rich broth cooked with sardines and kembong (chub mackerel).
Noodles are said to be imported from Malaysia, and the hae gor (prawn paste) completed the bowl.
Perhaps I wished that the bowl could have been hotter. It was warm, but not hawker-style piping hot.
The Penang Hokkien Mee ($6.90) was also worth a try, with slurp-worthy flavourful shrimp broth at a pocket-friendly price (at least by Singapore standards).
The two sides that I ordered – the Penang style Otah and Lor Bak were decent, though not spectacular as compared to the other two noodle dishes.
Perhaps the Otah could have been more firm and less mushy; and fried meat roll more substantial in its fillings.
While I won’t purposely make a detour to come here for Penang food, I reckon Gu Cheng is worth a try if you are in the vicinity and have cravings for that tangy-spicy bowl of laksa.
462 Crawford Lane #01-61 Singapore 190461
Tel: +65 9787 4888
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun