Laksa @ 1005 Guererro (SF)

Near Aster and Tuba, there’s a sign up for Laksa, which will presumably be a Malaysian restaurant. Any intel on this place? I drove by too quickly to get more details.

Their website disappeared sometime after June 13, but Google has a cache of the menu page: http://bit.ly/29mIeFz

Nothing resembling laksa on the menu. Sigh,

That menu looks like it belongs to this concept:

The Fictitious Business Statement for “Laksa” was filed around the same time with the owner of record a corporation headed by Zhenyi Tan (of Tan, Mai and He?).

Perhaps they were waffling between two concepts, and let’s hope “Laksa” won out.

Their online menu is up again:

http://www.laksasf.com/#!menu/c1i8r

According to a sign posted on the door, their grand opening is July 8, and there were people working hard inside to make that happen

They identify as a Vietnamese restaurant and that is confirmed by the latest menu. So, why the name Laksa? Bizarre. Like naming a Chinese restaurant “Sushi”.

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Laksa might refer not to the Malysian dish, but to the leaf that’s in the Malaysian dish–Laksa leaf aka rau răm aka Vietnamese cilantro / coriander. Laksa is the sexier name of the alternatives.

I suspect you are correct as those could well be the green leaves in the photo under their website nameplate, though those could also be some kind of basil. I guess this is one of the SE Asian herbs I have been unable to identify at local Asian markets. Apparently it can be offered with pho, but I usually see basil, mint, cilantro.

Nonetheless, it is a strange choice of names and rather a tease for those of us who have been searching for good (curry) Laksa in the area. I have had Asam Laksa probably more than once (at Banana Island and maybe elsewhere). That’s the version without curry, just fish no shrimp, lots of tamarind making it sour. Not to my taste. Great comparison of different version at the Wikipedia article.

As for Laksa being “sexier”, interesting choice of words as the leaf is apparently used by Buddhist monks aiming to be celibate…

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Did the Asam Laksa at Banana Island have mackerel in it? I’ve been looking for a good version. The one at Penang Garden uses sardines.

Azalina (Twitter Building) makes a good Curry Laksa. I’ve heard good reports on the CL at that newish Malaysian restaurant in Oakland Chinatown, but haven’t tried it myself.

I agree that a Vietnamese restaurant calling itself “Laksa” is a cruel head fake.

With no great certainty, I think the Asam laksa at BL had sardines, but my memory is fuzzy as I am not sure I would have liked it more with mackerel. The other place I had it was at Penang Garden (with Hyper and others at a chowdown, I think).

I am also being fuzzy about Azalina’s Laksa. I distinctly remember it being vegetarian so I either didn’t order it or was unhappily missing the shrimp. She has no restaurant menu on her website, but does have a recipe for Laksa, which does include shrimp. So, I am confused.

Best curry laksa I have had in the Bay Area was on a breakfast buffet in the Singapore Airlines lounge in SFO…

Azalina does both veg and non-veg Laksa. I’ve at a variety of her creations, from when she was doing Off the Grid as well as at the Market St. venue. She does a very small menu and rotates from time to time, and I’m not sure which Laksa she is currently offering.

I tried laksa from Azalina’s one night at the twitter building and found it enjoyable but a bit odd. The oddness came from being served with both glass and wheat based noodles.

The broth was enjoyable, with some fish funk coming from fish paste and a chili jam condiment, and not as coconut milk sweet as other curry laksa I’ve had in the Bay Area.

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I’ve only had Asam laksa at Banana Island and Penang Garden, and neither version appealed to me. However, those restaurants have plenty of other weaknesses in terms of Malaysian specialties, so I have no reason to assume they were competent versions. Other than their stellar roti canai, which is made by specialists, I’ve only had mediocre to bad food at Banana Island (bak kut teh, thom yum in 2015; overcooked kangkung belachan and tough, underflavored, rendang lamb last month, both of which should have been better quality for the price).

A few pan-Asian restaurants now have Laksa, and they tend to be unremarkable coconut curry soups. Azalina’s is good. None I’ve tried have approached, or maybe aren’t the style of, the one I tried in Kuala Lumpur, a full bodied curry broth with pork skin, yuba, roast pork, and cockles with a hint of coconut.

You won’t find pork in Azalina’s laksa, as she is Muslim.

I agree that Penang Garden’s roti is excellent. I believe Penang Garden was better overall when the Chinatown branch first opened; I thought the gado gado then was excellent, and the sarang dishes done well. Haven’t been there in ages except for the asam laksa, which was disappointing (and I do like sour fish soups, the fishier the better).

Use of bean thread noodles in Laksa is not uncommon, apparently, though I don’t know if it’s common to use them in combination with Laksa noodles. Azalina is from Penang, from five generations of street food vendors, however; she is no Danny Bowien, so I don’t think we are talking dorm hacks here.

I didn’t mind it taste-wise, though I preferred the wheat noodles. I couldn’t tell if it was a near the end of day substitution, or deliberate. I guess I forgot to elaborate that most of what I found a bit odd was the Twitter building set-up. The guy at the cash register didn’t seem to have too deep a knowledge of the dishes/ingredients, it comes in a paper cup, even for eating in, and the bartenders were more interested in talking to their friends than serving drinks. That said, I’d stop back again, as the flavors were good.

Had a bowl of pho with brisket and rare steak at Laksa because Hoffmann’s Grill & Rotisserie across the street was closed due to a kitchen emergency. As noted above it’s a Vietnamese restaurant. No laksa on the menu here. I don’t recommend the pho here. Broth tasted mostly of salt, and the topping to noodle ratio was a bit low. The herb plate also had mint instead of the usual basil which was weird. They don’t use MSG but this broth may have needed some.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold