"This must be what it feels like to eat in hell"
"Get the green bowl! Make sure you get the green bowl!!"
Such were the instructions from my hotel clerk, and also a few online blogs beseeching me to not fall trap to the "wrong" curry laksa stall on Madras Lane...
I'm thankful for the advice, because entering the rat infested alleyway where they set up their stalls, you'd be completely confused if you didn't know where you were headed. Multiple tables line both sides with hawkers out trying to thrust menu's in your hand and beckon you into their stall. I fought the approaching touts and steadfast pretended I knew where I was going, secretly scanning the area through my sunglasses.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the green bowls piled high and the old lady dishing out soup. I found it!
As is generally the case in Malaysia, I ordered food and a 100plus. The ice-cold can pressed hard on your neck takes some of the sting out of the heat. That and the illusion that you are gaining important salts and minerals from the drink, is a marketing campaign success because I know it to be laden with sugar. I digress.
My laksa arrived in a small green bowl, with green beans, noodles, soy puffs, cockles and broth. Immediately I sipped the soup, momentarily transported to simulations elsewhere. Rich, creamy but not overly sweet broth, packed full of flavour, howling at you to keep dipping your spoon in and having another go.
Whilst I will say I didn't do a deep dive and try every bowl in the alley, for the sun was beginning to mark my hours on earth, I did hear from many sources that this was the best bowl. For me, i'd struggle to imagine how you could improve on that green bowl, but if one of the other stalls are making a superior version, then more power to them.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"