1. Laksa Pesto Linguine
Photo: Wild Rocket
When it comes to laksa-inspired dishes, the iconic Laksa Pesto Linguine by Mod-Sin pioneer Willin Low remains a firm favourite for many local food lovers. The dish came about rather serendipitously. When chef Willin first opened Wild Rocket, his landlord curiously asked if they would have a laksa on the menu. That sparked something in him, and he decided to come up with a creation that reinvented the classic Singapore dish. Substituting basil leaves for laksa leaves and pine nuts with candlenuts for his pesto, and using dried shrimps to complement cheese, he developed a robust pasta dish that is packed full of flavour and captured the essence of laksa. And the rest, as they say, is history. In addition to the Laksa Pesto Linguine, chef Willin has also served several variations of the dish over the years, such as a laksa risotto and laksa ravioli in a traditional Roxy Laksa broth. The Laska Pesto Linguine with tiger prawns and quail egg will be available as part of a set lunch menu ($38 for 4 courses) and set dinner menu (from $82 for 5 courses) from now till October 31. We are sad to share that Wild Rocket will be closing thereafter (their last dinner will be served on October 31), so don’t miss this last chance to say goodbye.
Where: Wild Rocket, Hangout @ Mt Emily, 10A Upper Wilkie Road, tel: 6339 9448. Visit www.wildrocket.com.sg
2. Laksa Tonkotsu Ramen and Shabu Shabu
Photo: Xie Huiqun
Laksa Tonkotsu Ramen ($13.80) might sound odd, but this latest ramen soup base at Ramen Champion Clarke Quay Central proves, after a couple of sips, to be rather pleasing. Its rich, full-bodied tonkotsu broth is brewed with pork bones for hours then cooked with homemade laksa paste, which consists of chilli, garlic, galangal, turmeric and dried shrimps. The resulting soup is mildly spicy and has a luscious mouth feel that works rather well with the springy noodles and toppings, which include black fungus, seasoned egg, and torched pork belly cha siu. Feeling adventurous and craving for a stronger laksa oomph? Try Ramen Champion’s Shabu Champion Buffet (from $22.90 per adult) and opt for the laksa tonkotsu soup base. This hotpot is truly a meal for champions. Both will be available till December 31.
Where: Ramen Champion Clarke Quay Central, #03-89, Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, tel: 6221 2156. Visit www.ramenchampion.com.sg.
3. Seabass Ceviche in Tamarind Laksa Sauce
As part of the revamped new menu at Botanico, Singaporean head chef Sujatha Asokan brings her style of East-West synergy to the table, giving us delectable dishes such as smoked and char-grilled Iberico Char Siew with carrot purée and honey pork jus, and fresh chitarra – also known as “guitar” pasta (so named as the pasta is cut by rolling the dough across a rectangular wooden frame that has numerous thin wires stretched across it) – with XO sauce and sous-vide slipper lobsters. But the highlight has got to be the tantalizing Seabass Ceviche dish inspired by assam laksa. Think cold diced local seabass tossed with lemon juice, lime juice, tamarind, house-made chilli jam and extra virgin olive oil, served with glass noodles dressed with a tangy tamarind laksa sauce made with belachan, candlenuts, diced chilli, galangal, shallots and turmeric, and topped with shrimp paste ice cream and laksa leaves. So intriguing, you just can’t help taking another bite. Definitely a must-try.
Where: Botanico, 50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, tel: 9831 1106. Open for dinner only from Wednesdays to Sundays (6pm-1130pm) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (11.30am – 3pm). Visit www.thegarage.sg
4. Chicken Laksa Spring Roll
The delectable Chicken Laksa Spring Roll ($22) is a crowd favourite at Spago Bar & Lounge, and a well-loved option on Spago Dining Room’s executive lunch menu ($45 for 3 courses). A creative re-interpretation of the beloved local noodle dish, this moreish snack comes in the form of a golden crispy spring roll filled with sliced chicken and thick white vermicelli infused with flavours from a rich laksa broth that the chefs made from scratch. Served with a refreshing sour-savoury dip made from kalamansi and fish sauce that helps cut through the richness, this clever dish makes a perfect starter and also a wonderful bar bite.
Where: Spago Dining Room, Sands SkyPark, Tower 2 Level 57, 10 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6688 9955. Visit www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/celebrity-chefs/spago.html
5. Prawn Pappardelle with Laksa Reduction
Photo: Xie Huiqun
Over at Open Farm Community (OFC), head chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and sous chef Phoebe Oviedo have introduced a produce-driven menu with South-east Asian influences using ingredients that are primarily sourced locally and also harvested from OFC’s own lush urban garden. One of the dishes is a laksa-inspired Prawn Pappardelle. This pasta dish went through several iterations and was previously served with soft shall crab. The soft shell prawn is an interesting touch, but the pasta is the real star here. The al dente homemade pappardelle pasta is tossed in a creamy homemade laksa reduction and finished with a drizzle of coconut cream (which gives a roundness to the sauce) and topped with curry leaves from OFC’s garden. A squeeze of kalamansi adds just the right touch of citrus and helps cuts through the creaminess. Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine from their list of natural wines – the affable wine & operations manager, Phillippe Chin can help you with that.
Where: Open Farm Community (OFC), 130E Minden Road, tel: 6471 0306. Visit www.openfarmcommunity.com
6. Laksa Pizza
Photo: Benjamin Barker Café
The Benjamin Barker Café, launched in May this year by popular local menswear label Benjamin Barker at Orchard Cineleisure, is a handsome (read: gram-worthy) space for a spot of good coffee (or craft beer) and some hearty fare. Food at the 60-seater café with white marble-top counters and sleek timber furniture include bites such as salted egg yolk calamari rings and mentaiko fries, brunch items crab cake benedict and a selection of pizzas, pastas, and burgers (we hear the waffles are pretty popular). What caught our eye was the Laksa Pizza ($22). Topped with prawns, squid, clams and fish cake and quail eggs, we must say this is a rather delicious version of “laksa” that we would not mind coming back for.
Where: Benjamin Barker Café, #01-01/02 Cineleisure, 8 Grange Road, tel: 6732 2123. Visit www.benjaminbarker.co/pages/benjamin-barker-cafe
7. Claypot Soon Hock Laksa
Photo: Baba Chews
As part of the Katong Freshest Catch feast by Baba Chews Bar and Eatery, Executive Chef Alvin Leong is serving up a selection of sumptuous dishes such as Herbal Drunken Tiger Prawns in a comforting Chinese herbal broth, Nonya-style baked lobster and an impressive Soon Hock Claypot Laksa ($49). The fresh fish (marble goby, 600g) is poached and served in a claypot with a thick and creamy lemak laksa broth and springy Korean wheat noodles to soak up all the yummy goodness. While the fish is meaty, it is the laksa-broth-infused noodles that stole the show (in fact, we wished we could have added more noodles to the dish!). Dishes for the Katong Freshest Catch feast are available from 12pm to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays) and 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Mondays to Sundays) till October 31.
Where: Baba Chews, 86 East Coast Road, #01-01 Katong Square, tel: 6723 2025. Visit www.babachews.com.sg
8. Laksa Cookies
Photo: Old Seng Choong
Old Seng Choong, which specialises in local bakes and cakes, draws inspiration from local flavours for their collection of cookies. Top picks include the aromatic Cereal Prawn Cookies, herbal Bak Kut Teh Cookies and also the Laksa Cookies. These crunchy morsels, made with coconut, fresh laksa leaves, lemongrass, shrimp paste dried shrimp and chilli powder, really pack a punch. Expect an explosion of full-bodied laksa flavours with every bite. The cookies come in pretty tins decorated with floral or Peranakan-inspired motifs and make lovely gifts.
Where: Old Seng Choong, Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, #01-48. Visit www.oldsengchoong.com.