Laksa

All posts tagged Laksa

Qi Ji

Published June 24, 2016 by piggie
Laksa (Cockles + Prawn), $5.20

Laksa (Cockles + Prawn), $5.20

This ain’t the first time I try Qi Ji, but let me start this post with their Laksa. They have two prices for Laksa, the first, $4.20, comes without prawn, just the standard cockles along with tau pok, fish cakes, egg, and what I believe to be shredded chives. The second is what I ordered here, $5.20 with added prawns.

I won’t say $5.20 is cheap, hence I expected some quality here. Notably, the ingredients here is considerably sumptuous as compare to many food court or hawker center stalls elsewhere, and we also need to factor in the costly rental in the locations they settled. The spicy broth is at least delightful, as with the comprehensive quantity and quality of the ingredients present, with the prawns used being relatively large ones. For such price, it’s more worth than what you can get from Toastbox and Heavenly Wang. The former was mediocre with their quality, the latter is so pathetic that I don’t even want to blog about it. All three franchise are selling their laksa about the same price.

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Popiah, $2.80 (with prawns)

Qi Ji’s popiah is their signature dish. Their ingredients include ‘homemade’ sweet and chili sauces, garlic, lettuce, bean sprouts, crispy bits, egg, prawn, parsley and turnip. When I first tried them after a one-hour drive home, I feel the finished item lacked cohesive character. It’s like eating all those ingredients by themselves, and I believe the main flaw is their ‘homemade’ sweet sauce. However, when I eventually beat their lunch queue and eat on the spot, it tastes very much better. I suspect their sweet sauce dried up after a while and somewhat rendered the popiah’s bland in taste. In addition, whoever behind that counter preparing your popiah makes a significant difference too! Anyway, I can’t emphasise enough how I hate the term ‘homemade’ is misused. It’s their own recipe, ok fine, but was it made in any of their staffs’ home or at the premise itself? No. Anyway, the popiah I bought comes with prawns. For $2.80, you get to choose whether you want prawn or chicken filling. There’s a plain version (neither prawn nor chicken) which cost just $2.20.

qiji_mee_rebus

Mee Rebus Deluxe, $5.80

Qi Ji has two versions of Mee Rebus, the conventional one selling at $4, while their deluxe version costing another $1.80 more. You probably won’t see the chicken cutlet and deep fried fish cake on the conventional version, for that, the price may look somewhat expensive. However, that doesn’t take away how great their noodles taste. Their gravy wasn’t as thick as I’ve tried elsewhere, but the calamasi fragrance was powerful, making it overall a very appetising meal. I don’t usually find the chicken cutlet and fish cake tasty, but complementing their mee rebus, I found the chemistry works to a tee!

Updates:

Qi Ji has since upgraded their Laksa menu, there are no more cockles, replacing with clams. And they are now serving brown rice mee hoon (thick vermicelli) with their Laksa (option: noodle) instead. With that healthy upgrades, a price rise of mere 10⊄ is more than reasonable.

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Toast Box

Published May 28, 2014 by piggie

Usually, I’d rather not blog about mediocre food, but this was one so awful that I felt I have a social responsibility to warn potential patrons about yet another of BreadTalk co’s half-hearted attempt.

I have a long perception of their premium price but usually low quality food, but was somehow taken in by the picture of their Laksa and decided to trust them one more time. When I was at their outlet, I found their Laksa set meal cost $6.10, and came along with a cup of Barley drink or ice lemon tea. I felt the price was unreasonable (restaurants apart, not even the best Laksa in Singapore charges that much!), so settled for their Mee Rebus set meal instead, which was ‘slightly’ cheaper at $5. I thought if it failed me, then at least George Quek, the owner behind the franchise, would earn $1.10 lesser from me. LOL!

It was very miserable for $5. So bad that I felt I chose not to take any picture of it at all. Firstly, the gravy was mediocre, nowhere near the usual standard you would expect from any Malay stall in a coffee shop or hawker center, not to mention the price was very much higher. The fragrance of the gravy could only be considered good enough if it had come out from an amateur cook’s first attempt. Then, after charging $5 for what I learned to be very miserable portion of noodle with a glass of Barley drink, which looked half the portion on their display placard (does George Quek know what is the difference between a slope and a hill?), also they would be so stingy not to include peanuts nor coriander leaves as part of their ingredients! How much does peanut cost? S$25,000? Or George Quek had never tasted a genuine Mee Rebus in the first place? And let’s not even mention any concern of nuts allergy since they were selling peanut butter toast anyway.

After the meal, I left feeling cheated. So frustrated that, for once, I didn’t want to clear my tray upon leaving (I always do that in hawker centers and food courts). Yes, the rental may be high, and kudos to George Quek for generating job opportunities, I might as well help him with that, and he can really do with the over-charging to get additional cleaners. Really, the whole ingredients (including noodle, a mediocre portion of Tofu, green chili, sliced egg. Period) probably cost < S$1, I am willing to pay for quality food and keep my mouth shut if it’s of decent quality, but in this case, it’s truly implausible. It’s only slightly better than Singapore Armed Forces’ free cook house food long before they sub-contracted out their food catering back in the early 1990s, And I swear even the street vendors’ version I tried way back in the mid 1980s tasted better for a mere $1.20 then.

A NORMAL Mee Rebus from a food court, $3.50

Note: This is NOT from Toast Box, but how a NORMAL Mee Rebus from a food court is like, for merely $3.50

Now, let me share how a moderate Mee Rebus should look like. The above picture was taken from a normal food court (definitely not George Quek’s franchise), the portion was more than double that of Toast Box, with better gravy and more ingredients than Toast Box’s miserable version, and a more appealing outlook, tasted a few times better! No, I ain’t not bragging.

On a subsequent visit, I asked the cashier whether I could just have the stand-alone Bee Tai Bak (a kind of white, short and thick vermicelli) Laksa, minus the mediocre drink, and was offered the price of $5.10 too.

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Laksa Bee Tai Bak, $5.10 (or $6.10 with a glass of drink)

Hmm… at least something. It’s really worth trading in the mediocre drink for a slightly better meal like this at the same price of the set meal for their terrible mee rebus or mee siam, here with ingredients such as Tau Por (tofu puffs), fish cakes, half sliced egg, and three small prawns, but no cockle, the quantity of the ingredients still easily more than double that of the mee rebus. Seriously, having tried their lousy mee rebus, nothing much could have come worse. Despite that, I am not saying their Laksa deserve a mentioning. If I have to use one word to describe it, it will be mediocre. But at least the food portion is reasonable. The gravy is slightly spicy, though not hot enough to make me sweat, and the prawns tasted not fresh. Overall, the quality still lack behind general stalls from a normal food court, moreover with its price very much higher. Granted, given the name, perhaps I couldn’t expect any quality in their food other than their toast, but having also tried that before, it was about the worst among the local coffee franchise one can find in Singapore. Really, I still have that feeling of sponsoring much to their rental or to their shareholders’ pocket. Not a franchise I would recommend.

Depot Road Claypot Laksa 德普路真善美砂锅叻沙

Published April 8, 2013 by piggie

DSC05289-Ex-Depot-Road-Zhen-shan-mei-Claypot-Laksa

I suppose this outlet needs no further introduction. Reputably the best laksa in Singapore, Depot Road ‘Zhen Shan Mei’ Claypot Laksa was previously in Depot Road before shifting to their current location at Alexandra Village Food Centre.

Their ingredients are nothing to shout about, very typical tau por, fish cake slice, cockles etc., but their spicy gravy is thick with rich coconut milk. However, their laksa is truly unique in Singapore as it is served in claypot, which retains the heat of the food for a prolonged period. So unless you talk a lot during your meal, otherwise, their laksa is guaranteed warm until you finish it, hence, one gets to indulge in the aroma of the gravy while you are eating, making it extra enjoyable!

Be prepared to sweat a lot..

德普路真善美砂锅叻沙
Blk 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-75
Alexandra Village Food Centre
Singapore 150120
Tel: 90889203
Opening hours: 8.30am – 3.30pm (closed Mon)

Laksania @ NEX

Published July 7, 2012 by piggie

I was given this voucher from some Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) activity, and had the honour to try out Laksania @ NEX for their delicate serving. Prior to elaborating further on this review, I need to reiterate, even though my meal was highly subsidised in a way, this post is by no way influenced by their kind gesture. In addition, the owner and staff are not aware of this post, at least by the time of posting.

Laksania is a melting pot of laksa from around the regions, many of which I have never even heard before, such as Sarawak Laksa, Kelantan Laksa etc. I made up my mind not to try their conventional Singapore Laksa as I’m almost certain there bounds to be pros and cons comparing to the many excellent Laksa outlets all over our tiny island.

I settled for a Seafood Hotpot with Rice:

Seafood Hotpot with Rice

It wasn’t the same as the famous Hotpot Laksa at Alexandra Village. Not only it was served with rice, but the ingredients are entirely different as well. There are choices of Seafood, Chicken or Beef, but apart from the use of hot pot, none comes close in resembling the Alexandra Village style. So, to compare them would be like rating orange against apple. As for the gravy, I thought I find Laksania’s less spicy, but still enough to make me sweat nevertheless. To call it seafood may sound a little exaggerated, as apart from fishballs and cockles, the only seafood is prawn. There were plenty of veggie, which effectively made this quite filling for one patron. The gravy was kept heating throughout my meal, a very thoughtful consideration, not unlike some other food outlets, merely going through the motion to heat their food for a few meaningless minutes (eg Pao Xiang Bah Kut Teh.. thumb down!!), who might as well save on the redundant hotpot! At least, this stirred the thick fragrance of coconut milk filling the surrounding air with captivating scent, beside keeping the ingredients warm!

Laksania Penang Laksa

The other famous Laksa in this region has to be Peneng Laksa, although it’s a little difficult to find in most neighbourhood outlets. Laksania’s version is pretty eye-catching, with colourful mixture of onions, beam sprouts, polygonum leaves, chili, and mackerels among others. The broth is naturally tamarind (assam) based and even though in my opinion, it somewhat pales against the famous Penang outlet situated near Kek Lok Si Temple, blame it for the lack of shrimp paste.

Laksania Sarawak Laksa

Seriously, I have never heard of Laksa outside our typical Nonya Laksa and Penang Laksa, so the sound of Sarawak Laksa and the appealing pictures in their menu caught my eyes and I decided to give it a try over some of their other specialties. The ingredients comprises fresh prawns, fish cake slices, shredded chicken, and coriander leaves, nothing fanciful, but the broth tastes rather special! The rich herbal favour has overcome the traditional spicy taste, I wasn’t able to identify the ingredients, but some food reviewer revealed it comprises galangal, garlic, lemon grass, belacan, and tamarind. For me, it’s an eye-opener! Oh, and it was served in thin Bee Hoon, instead of the usual thick version.

Laksania Chicken Satay

Laksania’s Chicken Satay was not inside their main menu, and I wonder whether it’s available only for a specific period. I think it’s a bit pricey at $3.80 if not for the significantly larger portion. Contrary to conventional satay, the sauce was not typical peanut-based satay sauce. It comes with laksa gravy, offering a new dimension in savouring this local delicacy. I would rather they serve it in conventional size with more sticks, so I can appreciate the gravy more, but other than that, I would say it’s nice, but I didn’t find it spectacular.

Laksania Chicken Wings

The chicken wings are crispy and tender, but nothing much special worth mentioning in my humble opinion 😀

At the time of my visit, desserts such as Longan Jelly, Chin Chow Jelly, and Red Bean are offering at $1 each, considerably cheaper than many outlets in hawker centers. At such price, one has to forgive the unappealing look, but the portion is adequate for one person nevertheless.

Oh, and before I end this post, let me emphasize that Laksania is one of the socially responsible restaurants. What this means here is that, Laksania employs some marginalised personnel who might be mentally less privileged. And so, if you ever encounter slight unpleasantness in terms of slower response or something, do be more forgiving. These people are working hard to earn a honest living too, please give them a chance like Laksania does! (^_^)