Laksa is like eating a hug.
That’s what I said to Jourdan and Tristan after we skived !!! (yes, the band, not an actual trio of exclamation marks) at the Laneway Festival. Yeah, I know, bad form, eh? Personally, I got my money’s worth seeing the lead singer from Les Savy Fav jumping into the Maribyrnong (river, yes) and drinking said river water from his shoe. Gross.
(seriously ace photo of said band’s frontman kindly supplied by that talented @caztheturtle lass)
As Ali G would say, I digest. Mrs Malaprop and Sheridan would be proud.
Back to the food. The three of us were a bit cold, tired and totally needing sustenance and the Beatbox Shroom burger gorged down at epic speeds many hours before didn’t quite hit the spot (more on that one day). Given that we were in pho town (Laneway Festival being in Foo-tas-cray, bless Franco Cozzo), soup noodles were suggested as post-festival nosh.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure how we ended up wanting pho but eating chicken curry laksa at Laksa King in Flemington. It may have had something to do with being able to confirm that Laksa King would definitely be open.
First up, I know there is much debate about how Laksa King used to be ace till it moved rah rah rah, but I wouldn’t know because I never went then. Listening to people rant about how ace Laksa King of old is, is like reading The Age’s ‘Green Guide’ letters from the people who preferred The Bill before it went all American-soapy. I loved old-school The Bill but it ain’t coming back. Move on, people.
So (sadly, some might say), my review is based on post-move Laksa King. I readily admit that my Malaysian palate is very much in training, but I dig Laksa King. The chicken curry laksa was hearty though could have done with a bit more chilli heat and the broth seemed lacking in richness? It’s a little hard to explain, but it was like the flavours weren’t as deep as they could have been. It was good (lots of chicken and great tofu), but not outstanding. All three of us had it. It seemed a good staple to try.
However, the assam laksa I had the first time I visited with Alex and Jillian was freaking amazing. Everything tasted fresh, sour and so alive. It made the one I had at Chai – Eat Like Malaysian (which I did like too) seem quite grey in comparison. It was Jillian who recommended I try the assam laksa on my virgin visit and as she’s native to Malaysia, it would have been stupid not to listen.
I have since heard that there are better assam laksas out there (to be hunted out at a later date, for certain!). They better be gravity-defying…
Other things experienced at this restaurant include lobak. Tristan had ordered this pre-chicken curry laksa, bottomless pit that he is. We all got to taste and despite my only having lobak on one occasion prior, this wasn’t amazeballs.
I was pretty shocked at the notion that they didn’t have hot teh tarik (seriously, why don’t they?!) and ordered some cold approximation of said beverage. Tristan got some soy milk, eager to evoke fond memories of the same drink in Hong Kong.
It gets a bit old being that arsehole tourist who says x is so much better in <insert destination newly travelled to here>, but yeah, both me and T were.
Flemington seems to have quite the nook of Malaysian restaurants, all of which I’m keen to further explore. As someone who readily admits not being informed on its culinary authenticity, I’m a fan of Laksa King – it’s cheap, casual, friendly and has a good range of food on the menu. It’s quite stylish inside too.