What is Laksa?

What is Laksa? A Guide to This Flavourful Asian / Australian Dish

If you’re an international student studying at Latitude College in Darwin, Australia, you’re in for a treat when it comes to exploring the local cuisine. Australia’s multicultural environment means you’ll have the opportunity to taste dishes from all around the world, and one such culinary delight you may come across is “Laksa.”

What is Laksa?

Laksa is a popular and aromatic dish that originates from Malaysia but has found its way into the hearts and palates of people across the globe. It’s a delightful combination of rich and creamy coconut milk-based soup, noodles, and a variety of toppings, making it a harmonious fusion of Chinese and Malay flavors.

Key Ingredients

  1. Coconut Milk: The base of any good laksa is creamy coconut milk. It provides a velvety texture and a slightly sweet undertone to the dish.
  2. Noodles: Laksa typically features two types of noodles: rice vermicelli and egg noodles. This combination offers a delightful contrast in texture.
  3. Proteins: You can find various proteins in laksa, such as prawns, chicken, tofu, or a combination of these. This flexibility ensures there’s a version of laksa for every taste preference.
  4. Herbs and Spices: Laksa gets its distinct flavour from a blend of herbs and spices like lemongrass, galangal, garlic, and chili. These ingredients give laksa its characteristic fragrance and a touch of heat.
  5. Toppings: Common laksa toppings include bean sprouts, boiled egg halves, and a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves. Some variations might include extras like fried shallots or lime wedges.

Regional Variations

Laksa is a versatile dish, and its recipe can vary significantly from region to region. In Malaysia alone, there are two primary types: Asam Laksa and Curry Laksa.

  1. Asam Laksa: This version features a tangy and tamarind-based soup, often with mackerel fish, giving it a unique and slightly sour taste.
  2. Curry Laksa: The more common variety, known for its creamy and aromatic curry broth. It’s often garnished with prawns, chicken, or tofu.

Local Tip

For those of you that are vegan, we recommend Chow on the waterfront in Darwin!

How to Enjoy Laksa

When you’re ready to savour a bowl of laksa, remember to have a spoon and chopsticks at the ready. It’s customary to use both to enjoy the rich broth and noodles. Don’t be afraid to slurp a little – it’s a sign that you’re thoroughly enjoying this delicious meal!

Enjoy exploring the diverse world of food during your stay in Australia, and don’t forget to share your laksa adventure with your friends and fellow students at Latitude College!