Friday, May 7, 2010

Balik Pulau Asam Laksa @ Nan Guang Coffee Shop, Penang

Balik Pulau which literally means at the back of the island is a small town located at the secluded part of Penang. 35 minutes away of drive from the Georgetown, this town is indeed famous for it's durian plantations. Ask any of the Penangites, and most if not all will no doubt agree to it.
The secluded town in Penang

Former Balik Pulau wet market

When it comes to food, Balik Pulau has their very own history too. It was the asam laksa history that stretches back to 1970s. Back then, the Balik Pulau Laksa was dominated by the Khoo family. However, following the deceased of the wife, Mrs Khoo, the business was then discontinued and was later picked up by by Mrs. Ewe, the neighbour of Khoo family who inherited the secret recipe of the asam laksa. Mr.s Ewe then fine tuned the recipe and even went on introducing another version of laksa which contains cocunut milk, named as the Siam Laksa. After decades of being in the business, Mrs. Ewe finally called it a day on 2004, passing on the recipes and business to John who happened to be their friend.

The laksa stall is located at Nan Guang coffee shop, a corner lot of the shop right in front of the T junction road of Tun Sardon Road and Balik Pulau Road. It is hard to miss this shop, with the infamous landmarks are the Balik Pulau market on the left side coupled with a big green signboard right in front of the coffee shop.
Nan Guang Coffee Shop

My first time being here was back in 2004 with my uncle. However, back then, the laksa that I tasted was operated in the now defunct Balik Pulau wet market. The taste was so memorable, even it has been more than 6 years since I last tasted it. I am unsure whether was this the laksa that I tasted 6 years ago.
The laksa stall

Business being run overseeing the Balik Pulau road

Since it was on the weekday, my bowl of laksa was served almost instantly. The crowd was neither packed too, offering a quieter and cozier ambiance for laksa indulgence.
Balik Pulau Asam Laksa (RM 2.50)
For me, my definition of a bowl of delicious Asam Laksa would be those that have a thick soup that consisted plenty of fish, reasonably garnished with vegetables coupled with reasonable perking of tamarind stock and topped off with a sweet shrimp paste.

Balik Pulau Asam Laksa
The bowl of Balik Pulau laksa consisted of all the elements of what should be my definition of a delicious asam laksa. The soup was exploding with flavour of the fish, perked up reasonably with tamarind stock and perfectly sweetened with a tablespoon of shrimp paste. On top of that, I particularly loved their rice noodles which consisted of more rice propotion than the propotion of tapioca flour.

For those who does not have a chili tongue, perhaps would worried about getting drinks to cool down themselves. Need not to worry as they served the deliciously refreshing Ambra juice to sooth your tongue and body.
Ambra juice (RM 1.20)
It was also referred to as buah Kedondong in Malay. The ambra juice is being sweetened with sugar syrup before being topped off with a sweet and sour dried plum. Just awesomely delicious and refreshing!

Time for a perfect bowl of Laksa=)

After tasting so many bowl of laksa around, this Balik Pulau laksa remained as one of my favourite asam laksa to date. It was that good that I went for two bowls. Perhaps, I should try their Siam Laksa on my next visit.

Atmosphere: 5/10
Food: 8/10
Price: 9/10
Verdict: Tasted great, and definitely has what it takes to be one of the best Penang Asam Laksa.

Location: The T-junction road of Tun Sardon Road and Balik Pulau road with the Balik Pulau defunct market right beside it as a landmark.

Nan Guang Coffee Shop
67, Balik Pulau Main Road
11000, Balik Pulau

Business hours : 11am - 5pm daily, closed on every Wednesday except public holidays
Tel : 012 - 428 6235 (Mr. John)

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