Last weekend, I finally managed to get my hands on the highly recommended Lee Fah Mee Instant Rice Vermicelli – Sarawak Laksa Flavour.
Sarawak laksa differs from other laksas in the Malaysia and Singapore region in that the broth is belacan (fermented shrimp)-based instead of curry-based. The stock base is made from chicken and/or prawn. Depending on where you go to in Sarawak, the broth can be finished off with or without coconut cream (santan). The former gives the broth a cleaner taste, while the latter is richer and heartier. The laksa itself is usually topped with shredded chicken, boiled prawns, thinly-fried omelette, bean sprouts (taugeh), and chopped coriander. It is always served alongside a saucer of belacan and kalamansi lime for those who want to add more kick to their broth.
There are many variations of this laksa, but all Sarawakians will agree that Sarawak laksa beats everyone else’s by miles.
For reference, here’s actual Sarawak Laksa.
So without further ado, let’s see how this instant version holds up to the real thing:
The packet for the instant noodle is not a standard instant noodle package size. Instead, it comes in a longer packet akin to the ones plain vermicelli noodles are sold in.
The packet contains four serves of instant laksa. While the seasoning packets come in four separate sets, the four serves of vermicelli noodles are instead stored in one single plastic packet. This means that if you only want to make one serving of noodles, you will need to reseal the vermicelli packet yourself or transfer the remaining noodles into an airtight container for storage (I ended up doing this). That’s not a very smart product design decision as most people who would buy this instant laksa product would want to be able to only make a single serve at a time.
I’ve previously reviewed the Sarawak Laksa flavoured non-bihun instant noodles, and in that post, I complained that there wasn’t enough laksa paste for the noodles. Thankfully, in this bihun version, this is not the case.
The laksa paste was enough to flavour the soup. Complementing the laksa paste was the provided soup powder. It managed to fit in where the original chicken and/or prawn stock sat in the original broth, and the coconut cream powder finished off the broth exactly as it would be prepared by a laksa hawker.
I didn’t garnish my bowl of instant laksa with any extra ingredients as I wanted to taste it as is.
Not bad. It’s a decent facsimile of the real thing, and a decent enough replacement when laksa cravings strike. But at the end of the day, it’s not rich enough, nor spicy enough. Nothing beats an actual bowl of Sarawak laksa that’s made from scratch.
BUT, if it’s all you’ve got and you’re having cravings, just add boiled prawn, chicken, a fried omelette and coriander, and you’ve got instant Sarawak Laksa!
This can be bought in Perth at Tan’s Seafood and Grocer in Canning Vale. It’s next to Tan’s Food Court where the stall Sarawak Hawker Cuisine also serves a decent bowl of Sarawak Laksa.
Cost: AUD 6.49