A first and more firsts
My last visit to Singapore comprised of a lot of firsts which I'll be sharing in a series of #SingaporeInvites posts. I joined a photo contest sponsored by STB last year and I was one of the Lucky 25 winners who won a trip to SG. This was the first time that I stayed in the Eastern side of Singapore at Joo Chiat / Katong. Being Singapore's first heritage town, Joo Chiat is an interesting area to explore. It has its distinct vibe that both locals and tourists love. I have obviously overlooked this part in my previous trips, but I am glad to have had the chance to experience Katong and its rustic charm a couple of months ago. There aren't skyscrapers around. There's not much vehicles, too — at least that's what I recall. What you'll see are these beautiful, Instagram-worthy preserved Peranakan shop houses that line the streets and a lot of small yet interesting food places to go to. It is in Joo Chiat that I had my first-ever spicy and steaming bowl of Peranakan Laksa.
I'm no Laksa expert, but one thing I'm sure of is that Laksa may not be for everyone. In my family and in my circle of friends, there are a few of us who enjoy this flavorful, super spicy, creamy coconut-based aromatic soup-noodle dish. Most people I know shun spicy food, the same way that they do not like anything coconut-based. However, if you like gastro-adventures and dig that burning feeling on your taste buds, you're definitely in for a treat with a hearty bowl of Laksa.
Our STB Singapore Invites tour guide, Wai Keong took us to the best Laksa place in Joo Chiat, 328 Katong Laksa. Wai Keong shared with us that 328 Katong Laksa is THE go-to restaurant for authentic Peranakan Laksa. Not only that, the guys here beat master chef Gordon Ramsay several years back for SingTel's Hawker Heroes. This certainly made 328 Katong Laksa a huge hit. It got foodies curious. Tourists would go out of their way to try their Laksa. I got to talk to this French dude and he admitted that he almost got lost going to Katong district taking the subway and the bus so he opted to go to Joo Chiat using Grab. After devouring his bowl of this popular Peranakan dish, he said it was so worth the extra bucks he had to shell out for the ride. Aside from this, its history makes this dish more interesting.
"The descendants of these Chinese traders were called the Peranakans, and the tradition of Laksa was born out of the Peranakan desire to marry Chinese food with existing Southeast Asian flavors like coconut milk, and those brought over by South Asian traders, like chilis. Often, the desire to marry cuisines resulted from literal marriages between Peranakans and locals. In Indonesia, for example, the origin story of Laksa traces back to the Chinese coastal settlements. Chinese sailors set out to find local wives, and these women began incorporating chili peppers and coconut milk into Chinese noodle soup." [ Read more: How inter-marriage created one of the most delicious food ]
Believe it or not, this is the first time that I've had Laksa in Singapore. Today, we got to try one of the superstars of the Peranakan dishes at the place whose owner beat Gordon Ramsay in the SingTel Hawker Heroes in 2013. Girlfriend Tip: You don't eat this with chopsticks. Noodles are cut so you can easily eat it with a spoon. #SingaporeInvites #VisitSingapore #YourSingapore #FoodTrip #Foodie #russgirltravels #ExploreSingapore
If you get the chance to travel to Singapore in one of your future trips, don't forget to visit the Joo Chiat / Katong district for an authentic bowl of Peranakan Laksa. Want the best Laksa? You know where to go. ☮..Peace + ❥_Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.
The SingaporeInvites Series
» Lucky 25. #VisitSingapore #SingaporeInvites
» The build up of anticipation