JK reader Jasmine suggested that I should try the old laksa stall at Ulu Tiram directly opposite the Chinese school SKJ (C) Tiram. Thanks to Jasmine's suggestion, I have the story of another heritage hawker in JK blog.
地南叻沙。另一 家柔佛叻沙的老字号。年轻一代已经掌管了五十年老摊位。 味道是传统的古早味。有椰子的香味，而不是太辣。智南华小对面。
Finding Tiram Laksa is easy. The home based stall is right across Jalan Kekabu opposite SKJ (C) Tiram.
While we sat at the wooden table and waited for our bowls of laksa to be served, we could smell the familiar aroma of old school yard laksa. The aroma was familiar like a friend whom we have not met for a very long time. During my school days in 1960s/70s Singapore, I am fortunate that every school I've attended had a curry laksa stall and they were all good.
The soul of curry laksa is in it's curry broth. Tiram Laksa's broth has good body but it was not overly heavy (it was not the cloyingly creamy jelak kind). With just the right medium body, the coconut broth was full of coconut milk flavour and aroma. There's quite a bit of red chili oil floating on the curry but it was just mildly spicy.
Fresh blood cockles in the laksa.
Nice sambal chili you can mix into the curry broth if you want more kick from the mildly spicy curry.
We had the honour to chat briefly with Uncle Au after our meal.
Uncle Au founded Tiram Laksa nearly 50 years ago. It used to be a mobile stall plying the streets of Ulu Tiram with a charcoal stove and a large pot of laksa curry. Tiram Laksa still operates from the same tricycle stall except that the tricycle is now permanently parked, and gas cylinders have replaced the charcoal stove.
Uncle Au's daughter and son have also taken over the running of Tiram Laksa.
Uncle Au said that his heydays were in the 1970s to 1990s, when party goers would drive all the way to Ulu Tiram at 2-3:00am for his laksa after partying at the pubs in Taman Sentosa (downtown JB).
When asked what is the secret of Tiram Laksa, humble Uncle Au replied that there is really none. If there is anything that might set Tiram Laksa apart, it's perhaps the coconuts Uncle Au uses. Uncle Au always used the same old ripe coconuts from Sungai Tiram which have a deeper flavour than young coconuts imported from Indonesia. Uncle Au also made his laksa broth by boiling dried shrimps for hours. He has kept his spices mild so that it would appeal to a wider public including children.
As I was leaving, a gentleman called out to me. "You should also interview the customers" he said jokingly. He is absolutely right, and I immediately pulled a chair and sat down next to him while he enjoyed his bowl of Tiram Laksa.
"We used to come up here after partying in town" he said. He said he is back here with his wife to get that old familiar taste of Tiram Laksa, and I think to relive that loving feeling of the 1970s too :-D
->> If you are one of the party animals of the 1970s-90s in JB, the curry laksa of your partying days is still here in Ulu Tiram. If you want to taste an old school laksa, you may find it at Tiram Laksa.
Restaurant name: Tiram Laksa
Address: Jalan Kekabu (opposite SKJ Tiram), Ulu Tiram, Johor, Malaysia
GPS: 1.599130, 103.819392 / 1°35'56.9"N 103°49'09.8"E
Hours: 12:00 noon to 10:00pm (not fixed rest day)
Tel: +6013 7222 322
Date visited: 30 May 2016
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.