I decided to make a food pilgrimage of sorts (with 5 local Penang Chowhounds as guides) to Balik Pulau, an old sleepy town on "the other side of the island" in Penang. It was my very first trip there, and the place was absolutely enchanting - sort of caught in a time-warp circa 1970s.
Balik Pulau is justly famous for their laksa - slippery white rice noodles, garnished with slivered cucumbers, mint leaves, pink torch-ginger flowers, thinly-sliced onions, lots & lots of fresh fish flakes, all slathered with either a deliciously addictive tamarind-flavoured soup ("assam laksa"), or a sweeter, richer, coconut-infused soup ("laksa lemak"). Both types of laksa come drizzled with Penang's famous prawn paste ("hae koh") for that extra zing! Both types of laksa were mind-blowingly delicious!!! You can even ask the vendor for a "mixed" gravy, i.e. half-assam, half-lemak.
Pity I live in Singapore, if I'm in Penang, I'd eat laksa every day! In fact, I think I'm going to take another 70-minute flight up to Penang again this Easter weekend for a second round of Balik Pulau Laksa!
Balik Pulau Laksa @ New Market
Jalan Tun Sardon, Jalan Balik Pulau, Penang, Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang , MY