Assam Laksa & Coconut Jelly in Penang

Continuing with my makan spree in Penang…

After the 2 breakfasts that we had, we went to Queensbay Mall (because it was also raining and we had to abandon any outdoor jaunts) … not that we had anything to shop for, but it was more like we had to exercise a bit to work off that heavy double-breakfast! After a couple hours of aimless window-shopping there, we decided we had enough and headed on to my must-have Assam Laksa!

Yes, this is the place…

The Air Itam Market Assam Laksa is a must for me whenever I visit Penang. I have tried some of the other popular assam laksa in the island but somehow this place holds the No.1 spot for me. It’s not exactly the most glamorous location 😉 but then, hey, I’m a loyal supporter of this enterprise!

That Ah Pek has been manning this stall since time immemorial, I think…

We had hardly taken our seats and before we could even blink, bowls of hot steaming Assam Laksa appeared on our table. Ahh… the familiar ceramic bowl, the metal soup-spoon, the red chopsticks – this assam laksa has its own personality which can’t be found anywhere else.

I think the soup is somehow kinda watered-down a bit, not as thick as it used to be… and of course the price of RM2.70 per bowl has rocketed… but I’m still happy. The soup still maintained the delicate balance of sour, sweet, fishy with the combination of bunga kantan, daun kesom, mint leaves, bombay onions imparting its unmistakable aroma. The rice noodles were smooth with just the right touch of chewiness…

LL wanted to order his 2nd bowl but he was stopped by SIL who said that there’s another assam laksa joint down the road which she insisted we had to try. Oh well, more about that below.

There’s this stall just next to the Assam Laksa selling fried goodies… and being the gluttons that we were, of course we had to have some…

We had fried popiah and some fried fuchook (beancurd skins)… hmmm… fresh out from the wok of hot oil… I think they were just decent but not mind-blasting.

So, after our one bowl of assam laksa per person, we hopped back into the car and drove down the road, to this place…

Just across from the Asia Cafe, there was a cluster of stalls by the roadside… and chairs and tables with umbrellas set up along the side lane.

This was the Assam Laksa stall which SIL said was very good…

So, we ordered a couple of bowls…

Verdict: Hmmm… we should have stuck to the Air Itam Market laksa!!!

The laksa here was bland and totally unexciting. It just did not hit it off, ok. I almost wanted to turn back to the market to satiate our cravings… but then SIL suggested we tried the Fried Mee Mamak which she also said was good.

OK lah… since we were already seated there (and we had to wait 10 minutes to get a table!), we decided to try the Fried Mee Mamak

As you can see, when this plate of noodles was served, I thought the guy had given us the wrong item. It looked more like mee rebus than fried mee… it was way too “wet” to qualify as “fried mee” methinks. Taste-wise: nahh, forgettable. Pretty tasteless, noodles were too soggy, totally no oomphh.

(Note to self: don’t trust SIL’s recommendations in future, hehe!)

After the spicy food in Air Itam and the disappointment at the 2nd venue, it was time to head back to the city for some refreshing dessert. CK Lam told me we absolutely must try the Penang Coconut Jelly in Jalan Dato’ Keramat! We managed to get a parking along one of the side roads perpendicular to the busy Jalan Dato’ Keramat and headed into the shop.

The whole shop sells nothing but coconuts – workers were busy cutting coconuts from the small mountains spread out in the shop. We plonked ourselves at a table and each had one of these…

… yummy refreshing soft smooth jelly straight out of the coconut! After spooning all the yummy jelly into our mouths, proceed on to the coconut flesh which was just the right “age” – not too soft nor too hard! Of course Joe the boss there refused to tell his trade secret as to HOW they made the jelly inside the coconut using the natural coconut water only. Hmmm… using the “injection” method perhaps?

Each jelly coconut cost RM3.70… and if you tapau them, make sure you keep them properly refrigerated! Joe said they can keep for 3 days…

Joe did mention they will market this in the Klang Valley later, in a big way… so all you people here in the KV just have to be patient, ya!

Look out for my next & final posting on my makan trip to Penang – the BEST Lobak there!


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21 Responses to “Assam Laksa & Coconut Jelly in Penang”

  1. J2Kfm
    September 18, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    it's a father and son empire thingie.
    yup, they do inject the jelly into the coconut. it's formed inside the coconut itself. refreshing nonetheless.
    the Manjung original one, manned by the father, is priced at only RM3. IF you ever go to Manjung, that is.

  2. Jason Wong
    September 18, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Next time, you may like to try the laksa in kulim. It is not bad either.

    I have not been to the Air Itam Laksa stall for ages. Don;t quite remember how it taste like already. One of the put off are the prices!

  3. Life for Beginners
    September 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    The trick to a good assam laksa is the balance, no? :)

    And I had the good fortune to try the coconut jelly too, thanks to CK Lam and Lingzie when I went to Penang. It's really good! 😀

  4. foodbin
    September 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    air hitam assam laksa is my fave.

  5. worldwindows
    September 19, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    The old Air Itam Laksa and new concoction coconut jelly. Good combination!

  6. reanaclaire
    September 19, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    eh.. i havent tried that coconut thingy before.. each time i go pg..i forget to jot down references.. sigh.. this time when i go, i better otherwise i always seem to be eating the same old stuff…

  7. CUMI & CIKI
    September 19, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    yar man..boy does the food look piping hot and fresh!

  8. SJ
    September 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    the popiah looks scrumptious! i like it!

    ps you're invited to comment on my post too =)

  9. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    J2Kfm: Thanks for the info! OK, i will look out for this if ever i go to Manjung :-)

  10. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Jason: Wow…Kulim! Have not been there before but thanks for the recommendation.

  11. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    LFB: Ya, the jelly was really good and refreshing.

  12. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Foodbin: Hi-5! :-)

  13. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    worldwindows: you are right – it was indeed a perfect combination!

  14. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    Claire: Yeah, do try this jelly – u will love it!

  15. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    Ciki: Yeah, the laksa was piping hot & yummy!

  16. PureGlutton
    September 21, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    SJ: Thanks for dropping by :-)

  17. UnkaLeong
    September 23, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    wah…rm2.70 a bowl now. There used to be very good mee goreng nearby as well, not sure if it's still there…

  18. thule a.k.a leo
    September 24, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    hmmm… maybe I have not gone to many places for asam laksa.. my fav is still the one at Kek Lok Si temple

  19. PureGlutton
    September 28, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    Unka: ya, the price has gone up tremendously. Didn't see any mee goreng stall near there, though.

  20. PureGlutton
    September 28, 2009 at 7:24 am #

    Leo: Inside the temple? Can't recall any there.

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    October 3, 2009 at 7:19 am #

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