Move over Nonya and assam laksa, a new laksa will hit town soon. Enter Laksa Lemak or Siamese Laksa from Penang, which features coconut milk-based fish gravy topped with condiments such as kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger and pineapple slices.
Homegrown hospitality group The Proper Concepts, which co-runs Gaggan Anand’s Indian-Mexican restaurant Ms Maria & Mr Singh Singapore among other restaurants, will launch Granny Q (GQ) Lemak Laksa as a pop-up at Japanese handroll bar Rappu in Tanjong Pagar.
The Penang brand will debut on 29 April when complimentary bowls will be served to diners at Rappu, which is run by The Proper Concepts. Regular pop-up operations will commence on Fridays and the weekends, from noon to 2.30pm. A permanent location will be announced soon.
Leong Sheen Jet, managing director of Proper Concepts was introduced to Granny Q Lemak Laksa during a trip to Penang last July. He liked the comforting dish so much that he convinced the Heng family, which runs Granny Q, to expand their business overseas.
Granny Q Penang Lemak Laksa is a family-run hawker stall in Pulau Tikus in Georgetown that specialises in Lemak Laksa. Unlike Penang’s more well-known sour and tangy assam laksa, Laksa Lemak features a rich and spicy coconut milk-infused fish broth that is topped with condiments such as torch ginger, cucumbers, shallots, mint, chilli flakes and pineapples, which add a zingy touch. The recipe has been passed down from Granny Kew (Granny Q) in the Heng family since the early 1920s.
The menu at the Singapore pop-up will feature two versions of the laksa: the Signature GQ Laksa ($8.80) and the Supreme GQ Laksa ($21) that comes with seafood. The laksa broth is made from Granny Q’s rempah, which is a concoction of Nonya spices and herbs, and kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce. The rempah is made in its original stall before it is sent to Singapore.
The Signature GQ Laksa comprises prawns, shredded poached tilapia or fried tilapia nugget coated in tempura batter. Like Assam laksa, the noodle is served with a spoonful of pungent prawn paste (hei ko) for an added kick. The Supreme GQ Laksa has the full works that includes scallops and crayfish.
The laksa scene in Singapore is heating up with recent entrants such as the seafood Jelebu Dry Laksa by the Tipsy Collective, which started out as an online business and expanded to a bricks-and-mortar shop last year.