Singaporeans and Malaysians are no stranger to the time-tested hawker dish that is laksa. Rich, fragrant, and one of the most satisfying dishes to eat on a rainy day, laksa in all its variations have become well-loved in both countries. While we’re all familiar with Penang laksa and Katong laksa, we’re here to spotlight the equally delicious but lesser-seen Laksa Johor, and where to find best versions of the heritage dish in Malaysia’s KL and PJ today.
This Johorean speciality is no stranger to laksa fans from around the region, but while most laksa varieties take inspiration from its own region, the Laksa Johor actually has roots in Italy. Well, sort of. Legend has it that it originated when the then ruler of the Malaysian state of Johor, Sultan Sir Abu Bakar visited Europe. He made a pitstop in Italy in 1885 and fell so deeply in love with spaghetti, that upon returning, instructed his staff to whip up a dish featuring the noodle. The result was an East-meets-West fusion that saw traditional laksa gravy sit atop a mound of spaghetti, and the rest was history.
Take one whiff of the dish and you’ll immediately recognise the umami richness from the thick spicy fish gravy topped on spaghetti, alongside a handful of fresh vegetables like onions and cucumber. The dish is notoriously difficult to nail, and it starts with the tedious preparation of its star ingredients: Ikan parang (Wolf Herring) and kerisik (grated coconut paste). Other star ingredients that help the dish shine include dried shrimps, coconut cream, lemongrass, ginger, onion, and garlic, as well as a generous spoonful of sambal belacan.
Thanks to the thickness of the sauce, the heritage dish resembles spaghetti bolognese, but the flavours in this Johorean meal adds a certain flavour that’s hard to find outside of the country. The dish may look simple to some but the secret to acing good laksa Johor is in the gravy. If you’re bored of the Singaporean version, here’s where to turn the heat up a little with the best Laksa Johor in Klang Valley’s KL and PJ.
(Hero and featured image credit: @halalmart_coopmart/Instagram)
6 places for the best Laksa Johor in KL and PJ today:
Those who live around TTDI will know D’Cengkih in a heartbeat. Known for its famous Johorean delicacies, you’ll find your favourites served under one roof. Besides laksa Johor (which is what you’re here for), the establishment also offers some of the best nasi campur, lontong, mee rebus, and Soto mee in KL. The place is usually packed around lunchtime, so it’s best to head over early to enjoy your food.
(Image credit: @helenyap2013/Instagram)
6, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 12-499 9908
Another hidden gem in TTDI is another family-owned business from Johor that’s humbly located behind the At-Taqwa mosque. Famous for its Johorean favourites from the Laksa Johor, tomato rice with ayam masak merah and the nasi biryani – fans of Wannah’s would crowd the store on the weekends just to have a taste of the specialities. Heads up: the store is opened from 8 AM to 3 PM, so if you can’t make it in time, just order online or plan ahead. Trust us, it will be worth it.
(Image credit: Wannah’s)
22, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 19-770 7070
There’s no better feeling like waking up in the morning for authentic local breakfast food. If you’re willing to travel to Ara Damansara for a taste of lontong, nasi lemak and of course, Laksa Johor, then you should add Lontong & Co to your list. The prices here are quite affordable and it’s advisable to head over to the restaurant early as there’s always a crowd.
(Image credit: Lontong & Co.)
M-G-08, NZX Commercial Centre, Jalan PJU 1A/41, Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
+60 12-379 1011
Imagine having a warm cuppa with a side of your favourite Johorean dishes. With two outlets to visit between Wangsa Maju and Damansara Utama, you can now enjoy your tasty meals with delicious cakes and coffee to enjoy on the side. It’s the best of both worlds when you’re served with iced coffee and laksa Johor on a hot day.
(Image credit: D’Timer Cafe/Facebook)
11-G, Blok B, Plaza Wangsa Maju, Jalan Maju Ria 2, Seksyen 10, Taman Sri Rampai, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3-4141 5312
A cosy cafe serving up everything from Western food to fusion takes on local favourites, Do Eat With Us is the perfect place for family and friends to gather at. Its Laksa Johor in particular is known to be one of the best in Selangor’s PJ, and comes served with a generous dollop of sambal belachan for a spicy kick.
8, Jalan PJU 5/20D, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
+60 3-7496 3930
Located in Kuala Lumpur’s buzzy Bukit Damansara, Kecur is a family-run restaurant in a beautifully designed bungalow is famous amongst locals for serving delicious local fare, from lontong and satay to nasi ulam and mee bandung. One of its specialties, however, is Laksa Johor, and here a thick, rich, and flavoursome gravy, as well as a generous handful of fresh chopped vegetables are served atop a plate of spaghetti to make for a hearty and immensely satisfying meal.
If you’re vegan, this is one of the few places that serve a meat-free version of the dish, accompanied by a dollop of its vegan sambal. Little wonder then, that this is said to be one of the best places in the KL for Laksa Johor.
(Image credit: @kecurrr)
64, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 12-665 6790
The post 6 places for the best Laksa Johor in KL and PJ today appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.