Sunday, 4 May 2014
328 Katong Laksa Singapore 加东叻沙
I came here wondering if it was all hype or if 328 Katong Laksa 加东叻沙 was really what the media had made it out to be.
328 Katong Laksa was one of the hawkers chosen to represent Singapore in a cook-off with Gordon Ramsay in 2013. 328 Katong Laksa beat Gordon Ramsay in the cook-off.
I have eaten at 328 Katong Laksa in the past before but this is my first time as a food blogger. Now, I pay extra attention to get to the bottom of the dish I am blogging about :D
328 Katong Laksa is located at the pretty, strategic junction of East Coast Road and Ceylon Road in Singapore.
Inside the air conditioned dining area, one of the walls was completely wall papered with photos of a dazzling parade of dignitaries and celebrities who have eaten here.
328 Katong Laksa is one of those iconic Singapore hawker places where a selfie cannot be resisted.
Time and again, a taxi will pull up alongside, and excited wide eyed tourists will emerge clutching a guide book while sporting the happy wide eyed "bingo!" look.
The ordering system here is very simple and efficient. First, find your seat, note your table number, have someone "chope" your seat, and then proceed to the cashier to make your order.
Pay your money and tell the cashier your table number.
Get back to your seat and wait around 30 minutes (during peak hours) for your laksa :D
On weekends, there is always a silent, orderly queue for tables.
We sat outside at the al fresco section because I needed good natural light for photography.
(Actually, it was the side walk.)
The much heralded 328 Katong Laksa, SGD5.50 medium size edition.
Or, perhaps legendary would also be an apt adjective.
Initially, I was worried that the broth may be too creamy with coconut milk but, no, it turned out to have just the right medium body and texture.
The broth was only mildly spicy with a gentle spicy aftertaste that fades quickly. This makes the slightly sweet broth appealing even to laksa novices, and yet it was flavourful enough for laksa veterans.
Appeal to wide audiences by finding the right balance. Very smart market strategy :D
The cockles or seeham were cooked just right - there were more than half a dozen of them, all really fresh, succulent and tasty.
The half a dozen small, shelled and butterflied prawns were fresh too.
The tender fat rice noodles were snipped into short strands and scooped up with a plastic soup spoon.
A spoonful of yum.
Fresh prawn, seeham, a bit of crunchy bean sprouts, fat bee hoon bathed in milky broth perfumed by spices and coconut milk garnished with chopped daun kesum or laksa leaves. I also liked the tasty strips of tender fish cakes in the laksa.
One word, for the mouthful.
Every table had a stainless steel jar of this sambal chili. I didn't need this as I found the broth flavourful enough for me.
Taking a couple of teaspoonfuls to taste test, I found the sambal heavy on savoury hae bee flavours, salty and only mildly spicy.
The Japanese expat couple at the table across ours were big fans of this sambal chili.
When we were leaving, we realised that the boss was sitting at the next table. We were totally engrossed in photo taking and discussing the laksa rather loudly, oblivious that we had attracted the boss' attention :P
The boss 高老板 was very friendly and we stayed to chat a while. 高老板 and 老板娘 Mdm Lim had been selling laksa for nearly 20 years. Now the family business has branches all over Singapore, in KL and Kelantan in Malaysia, and even Guangzhou and Xiamen in China.
Truly a Singapore homegrown success story.
I say 328 Katong Laksa fully deserves the accolades it is getting all these years.
Restaurant name: 328 Katong Laksa 加东叻沙
Address: 51/53 East Coast Road, Singapore
Hours: 8:00am to 10:00pm
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert
Date visited: 4 May 2014
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