Penang asam laksa, Air Itam

Asam laksa is a must-try dish in Penang. The laksa stall in the George Town suburb of Air Itam is the most recommended place to sample a bowl of asam laksa.

Asam laksa is a Peranakan noodle dish that comes with a sour fish and tamarind-based broth. It is one of the most iconic Penang dishes and its popularity is such that the CNN has ranked the Penang asam laksa 26th. in its world's 50 best foods list.

Asam laksa is actually common in the northern Peninsular Malaysia and northern Sumatra. Depending on its place of origin, a bowl of asam laksa usually consists of smooth rice noodles, shredded mackerel, sliced vegetables such as cucumber, onions, chillies, lettuce, common mint, laksa mint and pink torch ginger, pineapple slices and a sweet prawn paste called heh ko.

For tourists coming to Penang Island, asam laksa is a definite must-try dish. It is best eaten in the late afternoons (between 1500 hours and 1800 hours).


Penang asam laksa ingredients

Details about Penang asam laksa ingredients

There are several variations of asam laksa, each coming from a different place within the northern Malay Peninsula and northern Sumatra. The Penang variety gives off a mix of pungent sweet and sour flavour that is captured in its fish broth.

A bowl of Penang asam laksa has the following ingredients.

  • Smooth rice noodles
  • Shredded mackerel
  • Laksa mint
  • Common mint leaves
  • Chopped pink torch ginger flower
  • Sliced onions
  • Chopped red chillies
  • Lemongrass
  • Belachan (Malay shrimp paste)
  • Tamarind
  • Shredded cucumber
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Pineapple slices
  • Shallots
  • Spicy pungent fish broth
  • Heh ko (sweet shrimp paste in Penang Hokkien)

CNN Ranking

Penang laksa

A bowl of Penang asam laksa

According to the CNN's list of the best 50 foods in the world, Penang asam laksa was ranked 26th., beating the likes of Singapore's curry laksa and chilli crab. Penang asam laksa is described as follows.

'Poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple … one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles (especially great when fused with ginger), that’ll have your nose running before the spoon even hits your lips.'

Recommended Places

Air Itam market asam laksa, George Town, Penang

Air Itam Market Laksa Stall in Air Itam, George Town

Asam laksa is served in certain hawker stalls and hawker centres all over Penang Island. The following are the more recommended asam laksa stalls throughout Penang Island.

Jelutong asam laksa, George Town, Penang

Penang asam laksa as served in the Jelutong Post Office Hawker Centre, Jelutong, George Town

  • Air Itam Market Laksa Stall, Market Road, Air Itam, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 1130 hours - 2000 hours
  • Nan Guang Coffee Shop, Jalan Balik Pulau, Balik Pulau
    • Opening Hours : 1200 hours - 1530 hours
  • Joo Hooi Coffee Shop, Penang Road, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 1200 hours - 1700 hours
  • Jelutong Post Office Hawker Centre, Jelutong Avenue, Jelutong, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 1200 hours - 1700 hours
  • Bee Hooi Coffee Shop, Burmah Road, Pulau Tikus, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 2100 hours - 2300 hours
  • Sin Wah Coffee Shop, Burmah Road, Pulau TikusGeorge Town
    • Opening Hours : 1100 hours - 1600 hours
  • Taman Emas Coffee Shop, Gottlieb Road, Pulau TikusGeorge Town
    • Opening Hours : 1200 hours - 1700 hours
  • Weld Quay Laksa Stall, Weld Quay, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 1300 hours - 1800 hours
  • Midtown Cafe, Lorong Selamat, George Town
    • Opening Hours : 1100 hours - 1900 hours
  • Big Tree Laksa Stall, Jalan Dato' Ismail Hashim, Sungai Ara
    • Opening Hours : 1300 hours - 1700 hours