The Fierce Aunty’s No-Nonsense Guide to the Perfect Laksa is an exacting and comprehensive book that takes you through the A to Z of making laksa from many states in Malaysia, and its surrounding countries. Penang asam laksa has been voted one of the ‘50 best foods in the world’. Since then, foodies who come to Malaysia list laksa as a local delicacy that they must try at least once.
Little do they know that there are many types of laksa besides the Penang version. In fact, almost each state in Malaysia as well as its neighbour Thailand, has one or more versions of their own. They share similar traits: a pungent seafood-based broth commonly paired with rice noodles lavishly garnished with fresh aromatic herbs. It is the ultimate comfort food for the locals. Rice noodles can be dried or freshly made. The rice noodles used are usually thick, almost like Japanese udon, but once in a while you will ﬁnd a thinner version, ala angel hair pasta. The word laksa comes from the Urdu word Iakh, which means one hundred thousand. One can conjecture that the word serves as a metaphor for the number of ingredients required to make laksa. Where did this dish originate from? Some say asam laksa might have come from southern Thailand. The herbs found in asam laksa are very much in common with Siamese ingredients i.e galangal, tamarind, lemongrass, as well as bird’s eye chilies.
About the chef-writer: Nazlina Hussin, a home-grown talent who hails from Penang, the street food capital of Asia, was featured in ’36 hours in Penang’ by The New York Times in February 2012 and before that, in June 2010, by the Weekend Telegraph. In February 2014, The Independent and Lonely Planet ranked Nazlina Spice Station as the number one foodie stop-over, worldwide. Two inflight magazines Going Places (August 2010) and Silver Kris (June 2011) ran articles about her cooking classes. Nazlina Spice Station, her cooking school in Penang, has been awarded Trip Advisor’s Certiﬁcate of Excellence from year 2015-2017.