PETALING JAYA, Dec 3 — If you love Sarawak laksa, we have good news for you! A stall located at the brand-new NZX Food Court Centre here offers up a truly authentic bowl of Sarawak laksa.
Opened by the friendly Aunty Lan, 56, the food at this stall tastes home cooked and comforting.
Aunty Lan tells us her foray into the food business began about 29 years ago back in her hometown, Kuching. Previously an accounts clerk, she had quit her job to look after her young children.
Bored with staying at home when her children got older, she decided to help out at her mother’s stall. Catering to the locals at the popular 7th Mile area, it operated from a family friend’s house and served up laksa and kway chap. Being a keen cook, she picked up the skills to make these dishes from her Teochew mother.
About four years ago, when her husband retired from his job, the couple decided to relocate here. As almost all of her children are based here (one is working in Hong Kong), it also made sense to stay nearer to them.
Not one to just sit at home, Aunty Lan decided to start her own small stall in Subang Two. She recalls how customers were clueless about Sarawak laksa and asked what kind of laksa she was serving as it didn’t have any cockles or beancurd puffs!
Later, she gained exposure with Sarawak natives when her Iban customers who worked in the nearby airfield started to post about her food on social media.
When a new owner took over the coffeeshop and raised her stall’s rental, she decided to relocate to the newly-opened NZX Food Court Centre as it was offering an attractive rental package. Since she arrived, word has gotten out about her delicious laksa and you will find a crowd of Sarawak natives and locals here on weekends.
Order a bowl of laksa (normal size is RM8, upsized version is RM10) and you will understand why many are making their way here. The secret is the incredibly tasty and aromatic broth which you will want to slurp to the last drop.
Just like every other stall in Sarawak, Aunty Lan tells us she uses the pre-packaged spice paste, sourced from Sarawak. She explained that it’s too much work to make the paste themselves.
What makes her laksa different is how she tweaks the flavours to her satisfaction by frying the spice paste with additional ingredients like chilli powder and coriander powder. Every morning, just before she opens her stall, she prepares the laksa broth by boiling the aromatic spice paste with her own self-made chicken stock.
After an hour or so, she’ll add the coconut milk that gives the broth a nice creamy finish. Each bowl of laksa is served with coarse beehoon, strips of omelette, poached beansprouts and shredded poached chicken.
Crowning each glorious bowl is a trio of poached prawns and fresh coriander sprigs. Even the sambal belacan served on the side is incredibly tasty, thanks to the belacan made by her sister-in-law in Kuching.
Our other favourite is the simple, satisfying kway chap (normal size is RM7, upsized version is RM9) with its soft, chewy braised innards. It’s tedious work for Aunty Lan as the innards need to be cleaned properly and braised ahead to develop flavour.
Again, the resourceful lady will tweak the taste of the locally sourced soy sauce (she finds it too sweet) for her braising liquid. Inside your bowl, you will also find pig’s ears, tongue, pork belly and trotters, beancurd puffs and hard boiled egg.
It is served with kway or the smooth squarish rice noodle sheets. Eat your bowl of kway chap with the homemade bright red chilli sauce served on the side. The finely blended dried chillies, cili padi and vinegar is full of kick.
The stall also serves two types of kolo mee (normal size is RM6, upsized version is RM7): a plain white one and a reddish one that is tossed with a homemade char siew sauce. She tells us the frilly egg noodles is sourced from a factory in Puchong run by a fellow Sarawakian. These noodles topped with their homemade char siew and minced pork have a plainer taste which may not appeal to those who prefer stronger flavours.
When you dine here, you will notice that the finicky Aunty Lan takes the trouble to make a lot of things from scratch. For instance, rather than settling for factory-produced shallot crisps, she makes her own. It’s the same for the chilli sauce and sambal belacan. Even when her husband plates up a bowl for serving, she’s there to fuss over it. That’s the true sign of a perfectionist in the kitchen!
Aunty Lan Sarawak Deli
NZX Food Court Centre
NZX Boulevard, Jalan PJU 1A/41B, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya
Open: 7am to 3.30pm. Off days are not fixed
NZX Food Court Centre
Opened on October 1, the food court is a joint venture between NZX Commercial Centre’s developer, SM Land, and real estate negotiator Ang Ah Meng.
Currently the general manager of the food court, Ang tells us that they came up with this idea to revive the area. After inviting various stalls from all over the place, they opened with a total of eight stalls.
These offer a variety of food like Sarawak laksa, Kulim wantan mee, chicken rice, Medan steamed rice, char kway teow and etc. On December 2, the bak kut teh and dim sum stalls started business. You can check for updates on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/nzxboulevardfood/).