One Dish To Try in Penang – Assam Laksa

Penang Assam Laksa

Assam Laksa is a dish duly loved by many for its distinct spicy fish broth which brings about a complex burst of flavours, making it unbelievably satisfying and appetising. Every tourist who visits Penang is bound to be looking for a taste of this bowl of goodness. Locals too, treat this as a staple in their daily meals or even as a comfort food.

There is nothing more gratifying than slurping on the tangy and spicy broth for lunch or dinner, and it only makes you crave for more. The Assam Laksa is often served topped with an array of chopped vegetables with a spoonful of hae koh – a spicy shrimp paste dip.

Walk through any street in Penang, and you will be greeted by many stall vendors serving up bowls of this piping Assam Laksa to many of its patrons. It is addictive and is bound to get your stomachs churning in delight.


Though the flavours found in the Assam Laksa can be intense, its ingredients can be easily assembled and sourced from the wet markets. As derived from its name, one of the main ingredients found would be Tamarind, also known as Assam in Malay to give it a needed punch of tartness. Other than that, polygonum leaves, tamarind juice, lemongrass and mackerel are used to create a distinct sweetness in the Assam stock.

A spicy paste consisting of diced chilli, belachanĀ and shallots are then poured into the stock before completion. Rice noodles are added in before garnishing it with chopped mint leaves, polygonum, lettuce, cucumber, pineapple and kantan.


The Assam Laksa is incredibly affordable, and can be purchased at RM5 – which amounts to less than S$2. Being one of the most famous hawker food in Penang, we are confident to say that one bowl is simply not enough. We always leave Penang with thoughts of having another serving of this spicy and appetising dish on our next visit.


It can be found everywhere, and we really do mean everywhere. Since it is a commonly enjoyed hawker fare, we would recommend you to savour this from one of the street stalls for the most authentic flavours and a knoll of fresh ingredients. Who else is up for this great bowl of Assam Laksa?

About the writer:
Cassandra is a staff writer for ladyironchef. During her free time, she fuels her passion for fashion through shopping and indulges in all things food. She loves anything egg related and is always ready for a cafe-hopping adventure.