Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Tampoi Laksa, Johor Bahru 淡杯辣沙
Tampoi Laksa is a household name in Johor Bahru and I've been asked many times, since I started blogging about Johor food, "Have you tried Tampoi Laksa?" When I shook my head coyly, the response was always an awkward pause and surprise written all over their faces. And, the words tripped out in disbelief, "You haven't tried Tampoi Laksa?" Their cringed faces and wrinkled noses shouted the unspoken words, "Where have you been, really?"
So today, I am so glad that I finally visited Tampoi Laksa :)
Tampoi Laksa is run by a 3 person team - Mdm Wong, her daughter and son-in-law (not in this picture). The 30 year old street side push cart stall is just in front of their house in Tampoi.
This is the menu of this street side stall - everything at one glance. It says laksa, rojak, cuttlefish kangkong and seeham. We tried everything except for the seeham which was not available on Monday.
This is the famous Tampoi Laksa. Fiery looking, most of the ingredients covered by the fried tofu skin and submerged under the curry.
The ingredients were quite simple really. The yellow noodles, taugeh (bean sprouts), fish balls, see ham, tau pok and even the fried tofu skin were quite average.
But what sets Tampoi Laksa well apart is their curry laksa. Tampoi Laksa's curry has the usual spices and santan but it also has a subtle umami-ness not usually found in other laksa places. Mdm Wong said they boil anchovy for hours to get the stock (and the umami flavour).
Next time, I will order bee hoon (instead of yellow mee) with my curry laksa in order to better appreciate the gravy's flavours.
Mdm Wong tossing the cut fruits and vegetables with prawn paste and sambal chili to make rojak.
The rojak is made with thick and mildly flavoured savoury prawn paste, so it would suit most palates. The cut fruits and vegetables were fresh and crunchy. The pieces of cut you char kway were not toasted, so they were soft - many people like it this way though personally my preference is for mine to be toasted and crispy.
We also tried this cuttlefish kangkong. The sauce was savoury, slightly sweet, mildly spicy and blanketed with a layer of crushed peanuts. The kangkong was market fresh and the cuttlefish was springily bouncy.
We enjoyed the cuttlefish kangkong. I asked Mdm Wong if they also serve this dish with bee hoon. Mdm Wong said yes and that many customers from Singapore asked for it as they are used to eating this dish with bee hoon.
Tampoi Laksa is also famous for their boiled live seeham (cockles) eaten with savoury sauce and crushed peanuts. Unfortunately for me, the was no seeham on Mondays. Shall have to be back to try the seeham :)
Restaurant name: Tampoi Laksa 淡杯辣沙
Address: 17, Jalan Dato Muthuthambi, Tampoi, Johor Bahru
Hours: 5:00pm to 11:00pm (opens daily but no see ham on Mondays)
Date visited: 29 Apr 2013