Laksa King

Name: Laksa King
Location: 6-12 Pin Oak Crescent
Cost: $10-15 main
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10

Laksa King is hyped to be the best laksa place in Melbourne, so my lunch buddy and I checked it out one grey Melbourne day. We arrived a bit after 3pm, hoping that the quiet lull that restaurants go through at 3pm would provide the space to take photographs least intrusively. It was spendidly quiet. So quiet it was actually closed. Laksa King has a break from 3pm to 5pm, remember that one kids.
(No, we didn’t spend 2 hours staring mournfully through the glass window/wall. Maybe 15 minutes before deciding whether to wait or go somewhere else.)
When it was finally opened, the staff were very friendly. I asked if I could take photos around the place, from the tables, to wall fixtures and food and they were very happy to let me do so, and even jokingly asked to have a their better half photographed.

Photos of mundane/ Chairs waiting for occupants/ Soon there'll be patrons

Artsy warehouse lights/ Light globes dangle from ceiling/ Quite mesmerising

SEAFOOD LAKSA
Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes

An iceberg laksa/ Most of the stuff underneath/ Happier ending

It has pieces of squid, fishcake slices, prawns, eggplant, scallops and two green-lipped mussels. See pictures for all the description you need. I’m impressed with the seafood selection. Seafood laksa was had by my lunch buddy, a notorious prawn fiend but refuses to eat mussels. So I get to eat the mussels. The mussel was tender, sweet and umami. Huzzah for getting mussels right!
My only qualm is that the eggplant texture wasn’t quite right, it was … ‘squeaky’ and a bit watery. Same for the fish okra laksa.

FISH OKRA LAKSA
Taste: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Creamy fish laksa/ To prevent overpowering/ Mild broth for fish

It has eggplant, battered and fried pieces of rockling (a sweet delicate white-fleshed) fish, and pieces of okra. It doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the seafood laksa but there is a LOT of fish in this laksa. Not the 3-4 sizable pieces of fish you’d expect in a noodle soup, but rather a number over 6 because I lost count after finding yet another piece of fish. The surprises just keep on coming. I do wish they were as generous with the okra as they were with fish.
I was going to place ‘No’ as a answer to ‘Would I order it again?’ but decided against it because it might misled you to think this wasn’t a tasty laksa. It’s a delicious meal packed with glorious fish goujons, the soup is creamy without being too rich, okra is crunchy and slimy in a way okra should be….. but what’s wrong with it?
It has no Hokkien noodles.
“But fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles!”
I hear you loud and clear. I now know fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles. But I love Hokkien noodles (those thick round yellow noodles in packets usually found in the refridgerated section). Out of the entire menu, all of which sounded appealing to me, I chose the only one without Hokkien noodles. (First world problems. Take that.)

AIS KACANG
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Tower of shaved ice/ Over base of sweet goodies/ Peanuts essential


Melts into syrup/ Medley of colourful things/Fish out sweet goodies

After polishing off a bowl of laksa, the staff came over and asked if we liked their laksa (we did, very much so), and kindly indulged me by answering my questions about Hokkien noodles and fish okra laksa. (No Hokkien noodles in fish laksa. Only rice vermicelli noodles. Got it.) While we’re still drinking tea and digesting, another waitstaff comes by and asks if we’d like our ais kacang to be sweet. My lunch buddy is familiar with ais kacang (and being a sweet tooth), replies ‘Yes!’. Contrasted with myself who had little idea what an Ice Kachang was (and thought sweetening was optional), replied ‘No?’.

“Ais kacang must be sweet. Cannot have not sweet lah,” the man chuckles and disappears, shortly returning with a giant bowl of ais kacang.
….. Why did he even ask if it wasn’t an option to begin with? I am baffled, bewildered and bemused at this strange man.

In any case, ais kacang contains shaved ice, crushed roasted peanuts, pink syrup (from the jelly?), cubes of raspberry jelly, bits of grass jelly, cendol (green jelly noodles), palm seed, sweetened whole red beans, canned longan fruits and a thin palm sugar syrup. It was actually very tasty, and we got through the entire bowl with no trouble.

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Instameal: Nongshim Doongji Korean Cold Noodle with Chilli Sauce

Name: NongShim Doongji Authentic Korean Cold Noodle with Chilli Sauce
Cost: $1.20
Contents: Wad of arrowroot noodles, 1 sachet of dehydrated fish and seaweed, 1 packet of chilli sauce
Spiciness: 6/10
Taste: Noodles 5/10, Sauce 3/10
Would I buy it again? No.

Nice advertising/ Looks nothing like true product/ See real deal below

It’s a large packet with a plastic tray inside. These sorts of instant noodle (with plastic trays inside) tend to be more expensive, but take more care with their sachets and noodles.

Love the packaging/ However, contents average/ Packaging bumped price

Arrowroot noodles are darker and chewier than buckwheat noodles. It is similar to konnyaku jelly noodles, but much thinner. Seasoning sauce is a hot sauce to be poured over the cooked and washed noodles. Seasoning flakes go into the boiling water with the noodles, a close-up of the flakes can be seen below.

Worst seasoning flakes/ It smells and tastes like fish food/ Just don't it, kids

The things that look like croutons feel like foam packaging peanuts, smell like MSG and taste of bad prawn flavouring.

Question: What was worse?/ Chewy noodles or hot sauce?/ Ack, tough choice. Hot sauce.

You’ll want to boil these noodles in a larger volume of water than you would for other noodles, then rinse them out very thoroughly. Otherwise they are very gluggy. The chilli sauce is a foreboding red (much more red than the picture suggests. The lighting was blue at the time.), but it isn’t as spicy as it looks. It is spicy, but it’s the usual Korean sweet-spicy so I can tolerate it more easily than if it wasn’t sweet.

Maybe I have a thing against cold sauce noodles, I just didn’t think it was delicious. I washed those noodles out repeatedly, but the noodles were gluggy anyway from being drowned in sauce. The sauce got boring after a few mouthfuls, though the sesame seeds make it bearable. The noodles are meant to be chewy, and they are, but I didn’t find it a pleasant summer experience. It was made worse by those dehydrted foam pellets. The texture seems to suggest it’s meant to be fish, but taste like vietnamese prawn cracker chips, and feel like chewing a sponge.
Overall, the dehydrated packet is terrible. The noodles and sauce could be nice if you like this sort of thing. Just don’t overdo the sauce. (I just dislike cold saucy noodles.) But I would strongly suggest for you to use the non-instant packets of arrowroot noodles (which take the same time to cook.) Get a separate chilli sauce too. Add some cucumber, and you have yourself cold noodles with chilli sauce. The instant packet is meant to imitate this dish, but it’s a terrible imitation.

Gold Leaf 02

Location: Level 1 Star Circus Harbour Town, Docklands, 3008
Cost: Last time it was $129 with 3 people, and this time it was $89 for 4 people. A la carte works like that.
Cost rating: 3/5, expensive side of yumcha, but the best yumcha in the city.
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10

I’m back at Gold Leaf, and will be reviewing a la carte yumcha goodies that have been not appeared in the last post. The first post has more items in it, so I suggest you have a gander at the first post.

FRIED PRAWN PARCEL
Score: ? (Eaten too quickly by my prawn-fiend lunch buddy.)
Would I order it again? Yes.

Fried wonton wrapper/ Looks especially golden/ Much like gold tael?

The prawn mince inside looks juicy, and the fried parcel is well-drained too.

PRAWN DUMPLING WITH ROE
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A bun-shaped dumpling/ Masquerading as siumai/ But still delicious

Personally, I don’t think roe is necessary, but it does make a pretty orange spot.

CONGEE
Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

pre-ground up rice grains/ boils down to be too smooth/makes terrible congee

Gold Leaf congee was a disappointment. The rice is ground up to shorten cooking time, but this sacrifices texture. Congee is a soupy rice porridge, a comfort food equivalent to chicken noodle soup. It’s usually eaten for breakfast, or as a meal when you’re ill.

FRESH TOFU DESSERT WITH GINGER SYRUP/ DOU FU FA (lit. tofu flower)
Score: 8/10
Would I order it again? No.

Eating curds and whey/ you are not lil' miss muffet/ get back to tofu

The tofu is the tofu dessert is different from the firm blocks of tofu. Dessert tofu is much softer and lacks structural rigidity. In a way, it is similar to silken tofu but less homogenous. Unless silken tofu, tofu dessert will separate into whey and tofu (bean curd) over time. (Or if you stir it and break up the slices of tofu into smaller pieces.)
The tofu dessert at Gold Leaf doesn’t have that soy bean flavour and doesn’t have that silky smooth texture that’s prized in tofu dessert. It’s grainy and sticky (two words I never thought I’d use to describe tofu), but only slightly.

PORK DUMPLING
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Siumai alternate/ Not easier to pick up/ But tastes much the same

Pork dumplings should be pork and very little else. The pork filling is juicy, and crunchy? The texture is crisp, which just means the pork mince hasn’t been overminced into a textureless paste.

TARO CAKE/WU TAO GAO
Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

Needs less rice filler/ and more of everything else/ miser's replica

This was even more disappointing than the congee. Taro cake is similar to radish cake. (replace grated white daikon radish with cubes of taro.) It’s panfried well, so it has golden edges and it slightly crunchy on the outside. But the taro cake itself is a let down. There needs to be more taro, and cured meats and more of everything that isn’t filler paste. The filler (rice flour) is important because it holds everything together and absorbs the umami flavours of the cured meats.

SHARK FIN PORK DUMPLING
Score: ?
Would I order it again? ?

Did you say shark fin?/ Hm, where is the attraction?/ It's just cartilige

This disappeared in a snap. Apparently it needs more shark fin. (Don’t they always?)

 

TARO PUFF
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A taro croquette/ Delicate batter netting/ savoury insides

Here’s a more appetising picture of taro puffs. (The first Gold leaf post’s taro puffs were slightly blurry) Taro is a tuber, much like the potato or sweet potato. It is very starchy and is often complemented with star anise. I don’t know how they make the crispy batter netting around the taro puff but it is a delight to look at, as well as eat.

My favourite items this round were the egg tarts and original prawn dumpling (not in the post, but appears in the first post). I was disappointed with their radish cake, congee and tofu dessert.

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