6 Places For The Best Laksa Johor In KL And PJ Today
Laksa Johor might be notoriously difficult to cook, but these best restaurants in KL and PJ get it right with their time-tested recipes.
Published on Sep 11, 2023, 08:00 AM
Singaporeans and Malaysians are no strangers to the time-tested hawker dish that is laksa. Rich, fragrant, and one of the most satisfying dishes to eat on a rainy day, laksa in all its variations has become well-loved in both countries. While we’re all familiar with Penang laksa and Katong laksa, we’re here to spotlight the equally delicious but lesser-seen Laksa Johor, and where to find the best versions of the heritage dish in Malaysia’s KL and PJ today.
This Johorean speciality is no stranger to Laksa fans from around the region, but while most Laksa varieties take inspiration from their own region, the Laksa Johor actually has roots in Italy. Well, sort of. Legend has it that it originated when the then ruler of the Malaysian state of Johor, Sultan Sir Abu Bakar visited Europe. He made a pitstop in Italy in 1885 and fell so deeply in love with spaghetti, that upon returning, instructed his staff to whip up a dish featuring the noodle. The result was an East-meets-West fusion that saw traditional laksa gravy sit atop a mound of spaghetti, and the rest was history.
Take one whiff of the dish and you’ll immediately recognise the umami richness from the thick spicy fish gravy topped on spaghetti, alongside a handful of fresh vegetables like onions and cucumber. The dish is notoriously difficult to nail, and it starts with the tedious preparation of its star ingredients: Ikan parang (Wolf Herring) and kerisik (grated coconut paste). Other star ingredients that help the dish shine include dried shrimp, coconut cream, lemongrass, ginger, onion, and garlic, as well as a generous spoonful of sambal belacan.
Thanks to the thickness of the sauce, the heritage dish resembles spaghetti bolognese, but the flavours in this Johorean meal add a certain flavour that’s hard to find outside of the country. The dish may look simple to some but the secret to acing good laksa Johor is in the gravy. If you’re bored of the Singaporean version, here’s where to turn the heat up a little with the best Laksa Johor in Klang Valley’s KL and PJ.