16.7.09

Singapore Laksa: The dish that reflects our traditions



For readers of non Southeast Asian origins, you might have not heard of this dish. This is one of Singaporean food that we, overseas Singaporeans will miss the most. I never reflected on the significance of this dish as it is easily available in every hawker centres in Singapore. From first look, this dish does not leave any impression. Even sites mentioning Laksa can only translate it to be a type of Curry Noodles.

Luckily for me, the major craving for Laksa was satisfied by a box of Laksa mix that my family sent in a parcel few months ago. I would say those ready mixes really "saved the lives" of many overseas Singaporeans! There were 3 packs in the box: One pack contains the dehydrated coconut milk, one contains the spicy shrimp paste and the last a pack of sambal chilli (for those who crave for EXTRA chilli!). It should have a small pack of Laksa leaves but I couldn't find it so I replaced it with chopped Basil leaves instead. Of course, I couldn't find the vermicelli that made up the famous Singapore Laksa over here. So I used some sort of pasta. Lacking prawns (and cockles which I do not missed) and fishcakes as the main ingredients for my Laksa did not deter me to top the dish with shredded chicken meat. Luckily the pack of fried beancurd that I bought from London came in handy! The spicy treat really made my day!!!

Back to more Laksa talk, I went on a little google search for the origin of Laksa. But even an article from Singapore Infopedia cited more than one possible source for this famous Southeast Asian dishes. Laksa actually means "10 Thousand" in Indonesian which possibly referred to the white and fine vermicelli used for this dish. The name of an older Sanskrit origin. However, other sources indicate that the dish is a perfect marriage of Chinese and Malay cultures which gave birth to Peranakan culture in Southeast Asia.

You can read more of this article from National Library Board through this link.

If you are a Laksa fan, you will probably know that almost Southeast Asian country has its own Laksa. There is no need for me to elaborate on this subject as you can read it on Wikipedia.

With a dish so simple, yet so satisfying and culturally significant, Singapore Laksa is well deserved to have its own fan following!

5 comments:

C K said...

I don't know about the rest but Prima Taste's Laksa certainly bring home closer, at least for Wife and I.

Hey, Singapore High Commission will be holding a National Day gathering over at... Singapore High Commission. Hmm, is there anything like that held over at your end?

SheR. said...

>>CK.
Exactly! That's the one I got! Prima! It's good enough!

National Day gathering? Yeah.. don't forget there's no diplomatic relations between Singapore and Croatia. Probably SG govt can't even be bothered to make friends with those corrupted and useless govt here! Hahah

Chef Nash said...

Hey sher, I was thinking if u can post 'Laksa Singapura' recipe, i mean the traditional one... I love laksa a lot n havent taste for a while now... the best i've tried 'kuching laksa' made by one of my friend from Sarawak , tasted Singapore Laksa in one of a restaurant here in Brunei but I dont think it was original Singaporean...
just an idea tho... n Brunei dont have their own laksa, i think 'soto' we called it but then soto is not laksa... ;)

C K said...

Tsk, tsk... not exactly a gracious guest you are. :) I didn't realise that S'pore doesn't have ties with Croatia. There's not even a proxy High Commission? I guess there aren't many S'poreans in Croatia as well, is there?

Psst, I just got another shipment of dried food over... mushrooms, scallops, ikan billis and loads (and loads) of herbs. Wuah hah hah...

SheR. said...

>>Chef Nash.
I do have a recipe for Singapore Laksa. But I'm not the author. I might have to ask permission to reproduce it. Let me try it out in the near future and I promise to post it here!

My mum loves the sourish Penang Laksa.

>>CK.
No need to gloat. I have 3 packs and I'm wondering what to do with them! I'm heading home to eat.. in a month's time. I'll eat on your behalf!