Oh, laksa...You soupy, shirt-staining, delicious hug in a bowl. What would chilly nights, midweek lunches and catch-up dinners be without you? Thank you for existing.
How do you like yours? Spicy AF, full of spongy tofu, or brimming with bouncy prawns? There’s literally no wrong way to get this guy all up in your face (or on your face). I’m going to get to the point now, because nothing should ever get in the way of a good person’s search for a satisfying laksa, especially not my ramblings. Here are the best places in Sydney to get your laksa fix; with a 2017 twist for your pleasure. Happy slurping!
Oh, lucky are the people that live within comfortable distance to this gem and its cosy bowls of laksa. This one will have your mouth salivating and your arms doing that thing that says “gimme!” before you realise it’s more polite to wait. Chock full of egg noodles and delicious, juicy meat, Temasek’s signature laksa is exactly what you need on those nights when you need a bit of noodly goodness in your life, and DIY just isn’t going to cut it. Pro tip: When they ask if you want roti on the side, say yes. Just. Say. Yes.
*Splish splash I was takin’ a bath* in laksa at Penang Cuisine, though. Get a swimming cap, friend, because you will be diving straight into this mouth-watering bowl of soup, noodles, and a hefty kick of chilli. And I mean that, this one is spiii-cayyy, which is great if that’s how you like to do things. Whether you’re into silky chicken, bouncy prawns or seafood, or the cheeky vegetarian option, these guys don’t mess around, so you and your growling stomach are in excellent hands here.
Ultimo-tely, these guys are a top option for students looking for a satisfying bite that won’t break the bank between lectures or after class. But if you’re past the student stage of your life and still really like a spot of Laksa, Malacca Straits will serve up the goods. In bowl form. It’s a milder style up in here, but you can absolutely go to town on the chilli sauce if you’re into the whole breathing fire thing. For those that like to go the route of the spice girls and make two become one, the golden sand prawns are bloody epic on their own, and similarly wonderful when dipped into your laksa broth. Happy days.
Alex Lee Kitchen
Who else wakes up every day and gets excited that Spice Alley exists? A haven from the world of food courts that surround it, this happy little street food market sits just off Kensington Street’s dining precinct and always offers up service with a smile. Alex Lee Kitchen comes at you with steaming laksa from a chef that knows his shit. His name is Alex Lee, in case that didn’t catch on, and he’s been a veteran of the Sydney Malaysian food scene for years. Go see him and tell him we said hey. But, like, don’t make us sound desperate.
Ito’s! The CBD joint everyone knows about but wants to keep secret anyway, because it’s just saaaah good. They’ve been ladling laksa for over twenty years, and it shows… Oh, does it show. The menu is short and sweet, the service is direct, and the broth is legendary. This is one of the places you might want to hit up alone, because Sydney folklore states that you have a little bit of a moment upon first slurp. Enjoy, friends.
There are so many things to sing from the rooftops about when it comes to Malay Chinese in the CBD, but one of them is that they cater for the picky eater, and allow hungry guests to choose which part of the chicken they want in their laksa—skinless, drumstick, regular, and more. Hey, if you want chicken and prawn, it’s yours. You want seafood, beef, beancurd? No drama, chicken parma. Apart from this, it’s really really good, so get involved.
Happy Chef Seafood Noodle House
You know what they say about Happy Chefs. No, seriously… I’m asking you, because I don’t know. I know what I say, though, and that’s GO THERE. Nestled in Sussex Centre Food Court, this joint has a cult following among hungry bankers and ladybosses alike. If you like a little bit of nose to tail goodness, you can get your favourite tripe or fish ball laksa here, and you can be guaranteed it’s going to live up to your standards.
You should be so laksa-y to get this fire starting treat in your belly every day. And you can, if you’re one of the lucky sods that work in the CBD and can nip down and say whaddup to Jimmy and the team every other day. Once you’ve devoured every last piece of meat, tofu, and noodle, just go ahead and drink your soup directly from the bowl, because dammit you’re an adult and your mum isn’t watching. But if she is… slurp faster and run.
Campsie & Kingsford
Just one visit to either of these cult Malaysian restaurants will have you all like “Albee returning, that’s for sure”. Don’t hate me for that one. In fact, let me make it up to you and give you the inside scoop on Albee’s Kitchen. There are two types of laksa here: laksa kuching sarawak, and penang asam laksa, which differ slightly but are both hearty and delicious. Hot tip: the menu and type of laksa varies from day to day, so be sure to do your research if there’s a particular type you want to get inside you. Or, y’know, you could just go two nights in a row.
What is it about a place that has a name attached to it that makes you want to trust it just that little bit more? I don’t know, but it’s a thing. You can be all like “Hey Lee! Big ass bowl of laksa, please and thank you”. And they might look at you funny, but this Hunter Street joint will tickle you in all the good places, settling any tummy rumbles and satisfying those cravings for laksa that seem to hit you like a swift punch in the face.
I mean… The name says it all. If you’re looking for noodles in the CBD, these guys are a safe, delicious, and well-priced bet. Sitting happily in the Wintergarden complex on O’Connell Street, CBD Noodles quickly garnered a cult following among city dwellers. As with most quality lunch locations in the city, you’ll need to get here in good time, and by that I mean definitely pre-12:30. Also, the laksa here is preeettty spicy, which is great if you’re a superior human that can handle a little fire in their bowls. If you’re not… Well, grow up.
Like a little more than laksa? Check out Sydney’s best Malaysian restaurants.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso