Ye Lai Xiang Laksa: Humble stall with popular S$4 Laksa in Woodlands

·4-min read

When it comes to laksa, Ye Lai Xiang Laksa has long been a popular spot for Woodlands residents to satisfy their spicy, soupy cravings. With laksa being one of my favourite local dishes, I knew I had to give this well-known stall a try. 

ye lai xiang laksa - storefront
ye lai xiang laksa - storefront

I headed down to Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre around 2pm on a weekday. I walked around for a good five minutes before I finally located Ye Lai Xiang Laksa hidden away at the back of the hawker centre. Its bright orange storefront instantly captivated my attention. 

Despite having the word “laksa” in its name, Ye Lai Xiang Laksa also sells other dishes like prawn noodles, lor mee and pig’s tail noodles. I had planned on trying their Chicken Cutlet Lor Mee (S$4/S$5), but unfortunately, I was informed that it was no longer available for the day. I suppose I should have come at an earlier time!

What I tried at Ye Lai Xiang Laksa

ye lai xiang laksa - laksa
ye lai xiang laksa - laksa

Of course, the first thing I had to try at Ye Lai Xiang Laksa was their titular Laksa, available in S$4 or S$5 portions. I went with the S$4 option, which provided me with a decently sized bowl of laksa.

Donning a vibrant orange hue, the Laksa looked absolutely tantalising. Served with tau pok, fishcakes, cockles, half of a hard boiled egg, white noodles, chilli and laksa leaves, this had the look of a classic Singaporean laksa dish. 

ye lai xiang laksa - laksa noodles
ye lai xiang laksa - laksa noodles

The noodles in the Laksa were surprisingly quite chewy and bouncy. Of all the laksa dishes I’ve had, Ye Lai Xiang Laksa’s noodles were certainly the chewiest in texture, which I enjoyed.

ye lai xiang laksa - laksa gravy
ye lai xiang laksa - laksa gravy

The laksa broth, on the other hand, had a runny and soup-like consistency. It had a very strong taste of coconut milk, making it fragrant and palatable. While it wasn’t as strong in terms of spice, I enjoyed its prominent milky aftertaste that made it taste a little different from other laksa stalls.

ye lai xiang laksa - laksa
ye lai xiang laksa - laksa

All other elements of the Laksa complemented the chewy noodles and flavourful broth nicely. The cockles were soft and juicy while the tau pok and fishcakes absorbed the coconut-y spice of the Laksa.

While Ye Lai Xiang Laksa didn’t exactly blow me away with its Laksa, it was still a very solid bowl of noodles with a classic taste and a reasonable price point.

ye lai xiang laksa - pork rib prawn noodles
ye lai xiang laksa - pork rib prawn noodles

Next, I tried the Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle, available in either Dry or Soup in S$4.50 or S$5.50 portions. I got the S$4.50 dry version, which came with a side of prawn soup.

The Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle bowl came with thick yellow noodles, four pieces of pork ribs, two prawns, lettuce, chives and fried shallots.

ye lai xiang laksa - prawn noodles
ye lai xiang laksa - prawn noodles

The noodles were coated evenly in a brown sauce. The sauce was slightly thick and a tad bit starchy, though it still had a bit of a runny consistency. The taste was salty and unfortunately one-dimensional. Personally, I would have liked for there to be more sauce as the distinct taste of the yellow noodles drowned out the profile of the sauce a little.

ye lai xiang laksa - prawn
ye lai xiang laksa - prawn

The prawns came with the tail on and were not that impressive. They were average in size and did not taste as fresh as other prawns I’ve had.

ye lai xiang laksa - prawn noodles pork ribs
ye lai xiang laksa - prawn noodles pork ribs

I was initially excited to see four whole pieces of pork ribs in the noodles, but to my disappointment, I discovered that the majority of each piece of pork rib was just the bone, with a minimal amount of actual pork meat.

The pork was also a little dry, though thankfully, it was still tender enough to fall off the bone easily.

ye lai xiang laksa - prawn soup
ye lai xiang laksa - prawn soup

The soup served with the Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle was the biggest disappointment. It was incredibly salty and very one-dimensional, lacking a full-bodied taste. Though I could still taste a hint of prawns in the soup, I wouldn’t try this again.

Generally, I wasn’t very impressed with Ye Lai Xiang Laksa’s Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle. For S$4.50, I didn’t find it to be anything outstanding or mind-blowing and I’d most definitely give this a skip. 

Final thoughts

ye lai xiang laksa - dishes
ye lai xiang laksa - dishes

After trying the two dishes, I can see why Ye Lai Xiang Laksa proudly displays its Laksa dish in its name, as I found the Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle to be lower in standard. I wouldn’t travel down just for these dishes, though if I were in the area, I’d likely order the Laksa again. 

Expected damage: S$4 – S$6 per pax

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