I'm going to try to get this down quickly. I fell in love w/ Laksa maybe 25 yrs ago at Seattle's Wild Ginger and then at San Francisco's Betel Nut. I guess it's my fav Asian noodle soup, alongside Japanese nabiyakiudon. But I have never researched it, so I'm sure the CH Asian aficionados are way more informed than I about all its permutations. Anyway, iirc, it's pretty much a Malay and Thai coconut milk base with noodles, various sliced proteins and veggies and sprouts, herbs and fresh lime. "Good fer all what ails ya."
After spending quite a few hours searching through CH and Yelp, we bit the bullet today and drove awhile to get some in Newton Ctr at #1 Noodle House(NONH), and Wagamama in Harv Sq -where they call it Chicken Itame. (I didn't even check the Penang menu because I had such a negative experience w/ their food last year.)
Please please please NEVER go to NONH. They just must be the all time winners of the "nicest restnt people w/ the worst food" medal. Yikes. Seafood , noodles, and other proteins cooked carefully and well (go figure), but the stock, oooh the stock. Yes, the plain base, "chicken stock", is the color of dishwater and has less than zero flavor. Added to it is coconut milk like Hawkeye uses Vermouth in his martini- just wafted over the glass. And we all know the stock is at least 50% of the deal with noodle soups. ( Also tried 2 stuffed -wonton soups; o.k. wontons, same stock, same blech, both w/ and w/o hot pepper.) Down the drain all that goes. we'll put the other leftover components in our own laksa I guess......
Wagamama's Chicken Itame is not brilliant but it does give you an idea of what laksa can be, and we enjoyed and finished it all. (Expect protein to be scarce for the mid teens $.)And the woman who took my phone order was very friendly, helpful, and efficient.
Hopefully we'll have good laksa in Boston some day, but it appears to not be now. If and when it shows up, plse post about it!