Asam Laksa is very, very tart.
Asam Laksa is a signature dish of a Malaysian group called Pernanakans — Chinese immigrants who settled on the Malay Peninsula as long as 400 years ago, and intermarried with Malays. Their cooking is often called Nonya (“Grandmother”), and represents one of the glories of Malaysian cuisine.
The soup has a reddish, tamarind-laced fish broth, which is prodigiously sour, and made sourer by the addition of lemongrass and more pungent with galangal, a variant of ginger. There are knots of soft wheat noodles and shreds of dried mackerel, as well as scallions, cilantro, and other aromatics.
The soup is also spicy as hell. Find it at Banana Leaf, a new Malaysian restaurant on Eighth Avenue and 52nd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
5216 Eighth Avenue
Sunset Park, Brooklyn
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More:100 Favorite Dishes