Back to all 3 rival Katong laksa spots again this afternoon.Well - surprise, surprise, my original rating from Oct 2010 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737820) had to be totally revised after today's visit!
Previously, I'd have rated them thus:
#1: 328 Katong Laksa
#2: Marine Parade Laksa (Roxy Square
)#3: 49 Famous Katong Laksa
However, after today's "3 Laksa Lunches in 1 Hour", I'd rank them:
#1: 49 Famous Katong Laksa
#2: Marine Parade Laksa (Roxy Square)
#3: 328 Katong Laksa
Tastewise, 49 Famous Katong Laksa (which was pooh-poohed by Singapore food critic, Violet Oon, during her taste-test at the height of the infamous "Laksa Wars" 2 decades back) had improved by leaps & bounds! Amazingly, the two women who did most of the cooking today were undoubtedly Mainland Chinese - but obviously well-trained in the art of preparing Nyonya laksa! The laksa soup had the quintessential flavors which laksa connoisseurs looked for, the prawns were fresh and just-cooked, so were the cockles. Everything just came together perfectly. Totally unexpected development for me as, in previous years, I'd been most disappointed in 49 Famous Katong Laksa's version - the blandest in any blind test. Not now though! Theirs was the most piquant and aromatic.
328 Katong Laksa, on the other hand, seemed to be resting on their laurels. But they were extremely friendly, the owner-proprietress oozed charm and charisma, ever-attentive to her customers' needs. But their version, which I tasted barely 5 mnutes' after trying their rival's from across the road, paled in comparison. The prawns were over-cooked, the cockles were under-cooked, and the soup was the thinnest and most tasteless of the 3 I tried today.
Marine Parade Laksa - had the friendliest server. Theirs were the most consistent - unchanging during my numerous visits in the past 30 years or so. Their laksa soup was the creamiest of the lot through their liberal use of coconut milk. Their chilli paste was also the best and most flavorsome.
49 Famous Katong Laksa
49 East Coast Road
Hock Tong Hin Eating House
Tel: +65 6344 5101
Marine Parade Laksa
50 East Coast Road
#01-64, Roxy Square 1
Tel: Not available
328 Katong Laksa
216 East Coast Road
Tel: +65 9732 8163