Laksa must be one of Singapore’s most iconic hawker food, and “Katong Laksa” has become synonymous with this bowl of spicy and coconuty rice noodle dish.
You use only your spoon to eat the short strands of vermicelli. No fork. No chopsticks.
Who’s the most original, who’s the real “Katong Laksa”… debatable, but guess it doesn’t really matter that much now.
Laksa is complete when a lot of delicious components are brought together in one bowl to give you an authentic taste of Singaporean cuisines, with the sweetness of prawns, fishcakes and cockles, the springiness of thick bee hoon and the tang and spice of coconut-based soup.
While I worry for my cholesterol after finishing this Laksa guide… well, we have to agree it is a hearty and wholesome dish that is comforting and quite reflects the unique Singapore food culture.
Here are 10 Must-Have Laksa in Singapore:
Sungei Road Laksa
27 Jalan Berseh, #01-100, Singapore 200027
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 4pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sat), Closed Sun, Wed
No chopsticks. No photos. Sungei Road Laksa may be occupied within a coffee shop that is slightly hard to get to (no MRT stations nearby), but people come from far away for their Laksa with traditional and rich flavors.
The queue continues to be long throughout their opening hours, and the stall is managed by 3 ladies, but they work together well like clockwork not make the hungry customers wait too long.
A single serving size of their Laksa is for $3. Maybe one bowl is not enough.
One of the few stalls who still cook the gravy using charcoal, it is served in a typical Katong style with spoon, and the lovely orange gravy shines through and fills up the senses with a tantalising aroma.
There’s also a generous amount of cockles, and garnishing with green laksa leaves to give it more flavour. I loved how the gravy was light enough to make it easy to drink and not feel too heavy after consuming the whole bowl. Sungei Road Laksa (Jalan Berseh)
1 Queensway, Queensway Shopping Centre, Singapore 149053
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
There are a number of “Janggut” Laksas around, from Upper Paya Lebar Road, Wisma’s Food Republic, Chinatown Point basement to Katong.
But I go to the Queensway outlet most often. Fans say they continue with the traditional taste of “Katong Laksa” from the original makers.
You come over here, sit in a counter facing inwards, and must order a side of Otah (or even curry chicken and bread.)
This stall remains one of the best ones when it comes to the genuine, authentic-tasting dish with freshly prepared ingredients.
The special thing about their Laksa which sets them apart from competitors is the soup base and sambal chili that is prepared with meticulous care.
There are three serving sizes for their Laksa, $4 for a small bowl, $5 for medium and $6 for large serving. A portion is generally generous with ingredients and bursting with a myriad of flavors.
I liked that the whole bowl was comforting, flavourful, light and not too rich on the coconut milk – balance just right. Janggut Laksa (Queensway)
928 Yishun Laksa
928 Yishun Central 1, #01-155, Singapore 760928
Tel: +65 9731 9586
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 7pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Yishun may not have the most positive reputation in Singapore. It is considered ‘dangerous’ because of some reports and news – we know it is over-exaggerated, but the Yishun Laksa stall still attracts people to visit this side of the town and feast on a delicious meal.
To find this on Instagram, search for “Yishun 928 – the Very Nice Laksa Stall”.
The queue here is very long, and can easily make you wait for half an hour or more. (Note: if you need to dine in the other coffee shop space, you MUST order something there like a dessert.)
The Laksa is quite cheap, starting as low as $2.80 per bowl, but you can add more ingredients for just $0.50, while cockles are $1 extra. I found the serving size surprisingly generous for the given price.
You can choose the noodles you want, and the ingredients are plentiful from crabstick (kind of unusual), crunchy bean sprouts, fish cakes, boiled egg and bean curd puffs.
The gravy was on the light side, some would prefer a richer and heavy going bowl.
The thing that stands out the most is their delicious homemade sambal that gives the dish an extra kick of dang and spice. Perhaps considered a ‘hidden’ food gem in Yishun. 928 Yishun Laksa (Yishun)
Terry Katong Laksa
51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 588172
Tel: +65 9812 0630
Opening Hours: 8am – 7pm (Mon – Sun)
This was a surprise find during one of my trips to Bukit Timah Food Centre (there is another outlet at Chinatown Food Centre). Consider this the ‘healthier; version of laksa with still flavorful gravy
This stall serves a healthy variety of Laksa that contains no pork, no lard, no added sugar, MSG or evaporated creamer in its preparation.
Surprisingly, even after taking out all of this, the authentic and delicious flavors and taste still remains, which makes it a very desirable dish so you can stay healthy while enjoying your favorite meals.
A regular serving bowl of Laksa cost $3.50. You can require for additional cockles, prawns for a dollar; and fish cake for $0.50
The standout ingredient of this dish is definitely their gravy. It ties the whole dish together and blends in well with every ingredient to impart a mild and comforting taste.
They also serve Nonya Otah ($0.60) and Nasi Lemak ($1.60) at their store.
Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Laksa
Alexandra Village Food Centre #01-75, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore 151120
Opening Hours: 9am – 3:30pm (Tues – Sat), Closed Sun, Mon
This ensures that the laksa gravy remains piping hot.
The broth is supposedly slow cooked over two hours using a unique blend of spices and ingredients, resulting in a thicker and more flavourful gravy.
Coming with toppings including prawns, cockles and fishcakes, I remember it used to taste a lot hotter and better in the ‘good old days’ though.
[Updated 2022: the stall does not serve the Laksa in claypots anymore, so do expect some differing standards.)
Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa
531A Upper Cross Street, #02-66 Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 051531
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
The Asia Delight Laksa is also one of a kind.
The gravy cooked using fresh coconut, scallops, dried oysters and dried prawns was rather flavourful, yet with thin texture somewhat like chicken soup.
Not as ‘lemak’ (coconuty) or thick like the normal (unhealthier) ones, so some customers might not enjoy this version as much.
Owner Mr Soo was also generous with the ingredients with fishcake, prawns, cockles, tau pok and slices of chicken added. He also sells a strange-sounding fruit juice Mee Siam.
328 Katong Laksa
216 East Coast Road, Singapore 428914
Tel: +65 9732 8163
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
To many foreigners, 328 Katong Laksa has become synonymous with “Katong Laksa”.
328 Katong Laksa has many branches throughout Singapore, but the one in East Roast Road is the most famous, especially after it was graced by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay himself.
During a Hawker Heroes cookoff challenge years ago, he ‘lost’ to 328 Katong Laksa’s founder Lucy (regulars call her Nancy) and son Ryan Koh.
The walls at the outlet are adorned with posters of celebrities.
Albeit a bit pricey, their Laksa ($5.50 for a small serving) can be upgraded by paying $2 extra.
While most fans would say this used to taste much better in the past, there is still something special about the gravy – the balance of coconut flavour, richness, and freshness and sweetness of seafood. 328 Katong Laksa (East Coast)
Wei Yi Laksa & Prawn Noodle 唯一辣沙
48A Tanglin Halt Road, Singapore 148813
Tel: +65 9782 1012
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 12:30pm (Tues, Wed, Sat, Sun), Closed Mon, Thurs, Fri
This stall shares the same name as the famous song by Wang Leehom, and perhaps just one of the reasons why it is well loved by the residents nearby.
Their Laksa and Prawn Noodles are so famous that you can see a short line forming even before the stall opens to serve their customers.
A basic bowl starts from $3, and I got a bowl of their Laksa ($5) which was quite generously filled with chicken, prawns, cockles, and fried bean curd.
Loved the enticing presentation and the mouthwatering aroma of the dish with bright and lovely colours from all the different ingredients.
The chicken slices, prawns and especially the tau pok were delicious when well-soaked in that gravy.
Won’t say that I totally enjoyed the gravy as I found it lacking in that particular “oomph” and was a tad oily, but the coconut flavour was pleasantly mild so some would like that aspect. Wei Yi Laksa & Prawn Noodle 唯一辣沙 (Tanglin Halt Food Centre)
Guang Fa Laksa
22A Havelock Road, Havelock Cooked Food Centre #01-08, Singapore 161022
Tel: +65 6271 2936
Opening Hours: 8am – 3pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 2pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Perhaps one of the most under-rated Laksa store around.
This version departs from the more-popular Katong style, and you get a bowl of deep-orange gravy that is spicier, richer and perhaps oiler than usual (can be ‘scary’ if you see that much of red floating.)
There was a generous amount of springy and chewy bee hoon that was topped with crunchy bean sprouts.
The tau pok, fish cakes and the delicious cockles were very well prepared, and I loved the coconut milk gravy that was on the spicier side and gao-gao (rich) coconut goodness.
Khoon’s Katong Laksa & Seafood Soup
590 Upper Thomson Rd, Sembawang Hills Food Centre #01-26, Singapore 574419
Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Another variation of the “Katong Laksa” and this comes served in a metallic bowl, available in options of $3, $4, and $5. I ordered the $4 bowl.
The thick vermicelli is cut into rather short strands, so you just need to scoop all up with a soup.
Compared to other styles of Laksa, they do not add that much coconut milk so you would find it easy to slurp without being too cloying.
There was a certain lightness and not too spicy, but even those who cannot take the heat would likely find this manageable. I would have personally preferred if it was slightly more aromatic overall.
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