Many are familiar with Katong's style of laksa, but I find the hawkers brandishing the brand to be a little heavy-handed with coconut milk. I can hardly finish a small portion without getting overwhelmed by the cloyingly saccharine overtones.
In this regard, I much prefer the restrain displayed by Sungei Road Laksa, another illustrious heritage hawker whose style of laksa is distinguished by the use of charcoal to fire up the brick stove. Sungei Road Laksa may serve up one of the simplest bowls of laksa, without modern adornments like eggs, prawns or otah, but what they lack in frills, they compensate with freshness and quality. And if you ever thought what the biggie was in using charcoal fire, Sungei Road Laksa will change your mind; it's immediately evident that the smoky char of the fire imbues each bowl of laksa with an irresistibly heady aroma.
The queues may be legendary but clockwork-efficient production of the noodles ensures the line moves fast. But if you're really averse to waiting in line, the best time to hit up Sungei Road Laksa is after the peak lunch hours on weekdays. There's hardly a queue then.
The standard order Laksa ($3) loaded with beansprouts, fishcakes, and cockles was seriously good. The cockles, though petite, were swimmingly fresh and succulent, and lend a briny accent to the rich and robust gravy.
I'm not a big fan of cockles, so we got a portion of Laksa ($3) sans cockles, which potent gravy was unadulterated by the seafresh taste of cockles. Be sure to ask for an extra helping of the glorious sambal chilli, this added a kickass punch to the creamy gravy.
The stall facade.
Sungei Road Laksa
Jin Shui Kopitiam #01-100
27 Jalan Berseh
Open daily from 9am to 6pm;
Closed every first Wednesday of the month