A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

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Entry from February 01, 2019
Laksa (spicy rice noodle soup)

"Laksa” is a spicy rice noodle soup that is popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. “Asam laksa, from the Malay island of Penang, is sour and contains mackerel. “Curry laksa” (popular in Singapore) has coconut milk, chili and prawns or chicken.

“Ayer Itam, as I said before, is also famous for its ‘laksa’—obtainable from a stall at the foot of Kek Lok Si” was printed in the Penang Information Guide (1957). A recipe for laksa with coconut and shrimp was printed in The Evening Star (Washington, DC) on July 10, 1958. A Thai recipe for “Laksa Siam” (with prawns and some pork) was printed in The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) on August 30, 1962.


Wikipedia: Laksa
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup popular in Peranakan cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup based on either rich and spicy curry coconut milk or on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). Laksa is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Southern Thailand.

Origin
There are various theories about the origins of laksa. In Indonesia, the dish is believed to have been born from the Chinese coastal settlements and the mixing of cultures between Chinese merchants and the local cooking practices.

Google Books
Penang Information Guide
By K.H. Khaw (Firm), C. L. Cheah
1957
Pg. 48:
Ayer Itam, as I said before, is also famous for its “laksa”—obtainable from a stall at the foot of Kek Lok Si.

10 July 1958, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), “Violet Faulkner Says: Out in Malay They Eat Satay,” pg. B-8, cols. 5-6:
Laksa
One-fourth teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon (or to taste) hot pepper powder, 2 tablespoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon caraway, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 small piece shrimp paste,3 small pieces shallots, 3 small cloves garlic, small slices of green ginger root, 3 tablespoons fried, shredded and pounded coconut, 1 pound fresh fish, coconut milk from 1 coconut, 1/4 pound dried shrimp, noodles. Grate meat from 1 coconut; place meat in thin, white cloth and pour hot water over grated coconut. Squeeze gently to extract the milk. Boil fish until tender. Combine ingredients and cook as for soup. Serve with noodles. Garnish dish with dashes of bean sprouts, diced cucumber, onion rings and 1 slice of lemon or lime.

Laksa is a light curry noodle soup.

30 August 1962, The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), “Cooking Round the World: Gourmets’ Choice” by Paulette Muskins, pg. 14, cols. 1-2:
We enjoyed this laksa dish in one of the smaller Chinese restaurants downtown (in Bangkok—ed.), and it was accompanied then by braised bamboo shoots, a red lacquered duck, fried prawn tails and fried frogs’ legs...one of the best meals in memory.

Laksa Siam
(Thai noodle dish).

Serves four, Preparation time, 30 min.
1/2 pound fine rice noodles.
4 oz. shredded pork.
1 brown onion.
1 clove garlic.
1 slice ginger.
4 large prawns.
3 tablespoons soy sauce.
4 oz. bean sprouts.
Salt and pepper.
2 tablespoons peanut oil.
2 hard-boiled eggs.

Mince onion, garlic and ginger and fry lightly with the pork in peanut oil for 5 to 8 minutes. Cut prawns in cubes and add together with the soy sauce and bean sprouts. Keep warm, soak rice noodles (available in CHinese shops, sometimes under the name of Mee Hun) for 5 minutes in boiling water, drain carefully. Add to the meat/prawn mixture and fry together again for a few minutes. Serve hot with sliced eggs on top.

Google Books
Kamus Inggeris
Indonesian-English

By E. Pino and Tamme Wittermans
Groningen, Netherlands: J.B. Wolters
1963
Pg. 84:
laksa (1), ten thousand.
laksa (2), k. o. noodles

20 October 1963, South China Sunday Post-Herald (Hong Kong), pg. 3, col. 7 ad:
MALAYA RESTAURANT
(...)
CURRY SATAY LAKSA
Spring Roll (SINGAPORE STYLE)

21 February 1964, Lincoln Evening Journal and Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), “Life in Malaysia,” pg. 4, col. 3:
At a charity fair Miss Montgomery had just sat down at the laksa stall to make a supper of that “nourishing chowder” when the blaring loud-speaker prefixed its next rock and roll with, “ We dedicate this record to Miss Helen Montgomery. We love you. Enjoy your laksa.”

Google Books
Secrets of Eastern Cooking
By Christine Wilson
New York, NY: Hastings House
1966
Pg. 147:
Laksa (Prawns and Noodles)

Google Books
Penang for the Visitor
By Penang Tourist Association.
Penang, Malaysia: Penang Tourist Association
1969
Pg. 35:
LAKSA This is actually a Siamese dish but is something for which Penang has become well-known. It is a special type of fish curry served with noodles and fresh vegetables.

27 June 1971, Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Making Tracks” with David Allen, pg. 4-E, col. 7:
“Laksa” is a Siamese dish, a reminder of how close Penang is to Thailand. It’s a fish curry served with noodles and fresh vegetables.

15 July 1971, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Exotic Convenience Foods Forecast for U.S. Market” by Barbara Hansen, pt. 6, pg. 7, col. 1:
From Singapore come cans of ready-made curry, satay and laksa gravies. Laksa gravy is a sauce made of coconut milk, prawns, chiles, garlic and spices and served over noodles.

Google Books
Off to Asia:
Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau

By Colin Simpson
Sydney, Australia: Angus & Robertson
1973
Pg. 75:
... the spicy Penang specialty of laksa noodles and fish curry topped with vegetables; ...

14 October 1973, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Singapore Mystique Comes to Life in Hotel Raffles” by Jean Simmons, pg. 6C, col. 4:
Rows and rows of foodstuffs tempt the visitor with strange sights and smells: ... laksa (a spicy noodle soup), ...

4 November 1973, Naples (FL) Daily News, “Singapore: An Exotic Melting Pot” by Tony Weitzel, pg. 1F, col. 2:
Laksa is made with shrimp and thin noodles. The Malaysian shrimp, by the way, is magnificent.

Google Books
Singapore Guide Book:
Free Official Publication of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board

Singapore: STPB
1975
Pg. 38:
A Nonya favourite is Laksa, noodles served in delicious spicy coconut gravy sprinked with fresh herbs.

1 April 1986, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, “Singapore—food capital of the world” by Gareth Powell, Good Living sec., pg. 1, col. 3:
Nonya hawkers sell a cuisine unique to Singapore and specialise in laksa, a highly spiced coconut milk gravy with noodles and prawns or chicken and another noodle dish called mee siam.

YouTube
#nyonyacooking
Asam Laksa | Malaysian Sour and Spicy Fish Soup Noodles | Penang Asam Laksa [Nyonya Cooking]
Nyonya Cooking
Published on May 21, 2016
Penang Asam Laksa recipe made easy for you to recreate. Clear tangy fish broth which teases and tantalizes your taste buds!

YouTube
Asam Laksa (Assam Laksa/Spicy & Sour Fish Noodles)
Flavours Of Asia
Published on Aug 19, 2016
Asam Laksa is another popular dish in Malaysia. It is a dish with thick rice noodles served with a sour and slightly spicy fish based broth. Some of the key ingredients in this delicious soup include Bunga Kantan or torch ginger flower, tamarind paste, dried tamarind or asam gelugor, daun kesum, etc. 

Asam Laksa
Ingredients
2 ilbs Fish (Mackerel/Kembungl, Corvina/Croaker or Wolf Herring/Parang)
2 Ibs Fresh Laksa Noodles/Lai Fun
2 Bunga Kantan
2 Tbsp Tamarind Paste + 1 Cup of Water
2 to 3 Pieces Asam Keping/Gelugur
8 Stalks of of Daun Kesum/Vietnamese Mint
1 Stalk Lemongrass, bruised
6 to 8 Cups Water
Sea Salt, to taste

YouTube
PAI’S KITCHEN S1 • E37
Laksa Recipe - Singaporean Curry Noodle Soup (Laksa Lemak) | Asian Recipes
Pailin’s Kitchen
Published on May 11, 2018
After a trip to Singapore a couple of years ago, I fell in love with their Laksa! The coconut curry broth is complex, fragrant, and just the right amount of richness. Seafood stock is the base of the broth, and the flavour the comes through is every seafood lover’s dream. You might be tempted to skip the clams but trust me...the clams make a huge difference in the flavour of the broth.

There are many types of laksa across Malaysia and Singapore, but this version enriched with coconut milk is the one common in Singapore and is also known as laksa lemak, peranakan laksa, or nyonya laksa.

YouTube
Cooked by Singaporean! Singapore Laksa Recipe (Curry Noodles/Mee) Katong Laksa Inspired 新加坡叻沙
Spice N’ Pans
Published on Jul 7, 2018
Laksa is a popular Peranakan spicy noodle soup dish, available in different variation depending on the country of origin. Although you can find this noodle soup in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, the ingredients used in each country is somewhat different. In general, laksa consists of rice vermicelli with chicken or seafood, served in spicy coconut based soup.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, February 01, 2019 • Permalink