[Penang, Malaysia] Air Itam Market Asam Laksa ***CLOSED***

68 years old and counting - this Air Itam dining icon still pulls in the crowd every day. Singaporeans take away packs to bring home on 1.5 hour flights, whilst KL-lites drive more than 350km for their asam laksa fix here.
Currently run by Ang Kar Seong, 67, who’s almost as old as the stall started by his late mother. The elder Ang is helped by his son, Ang Kar Foo, and other family members - in fact, the stall was run by an all-women kitchen crew when I was there this afternoon.

  1. Penang asam laksa has a spicy-sour soup base, characterised by its chilli-assam (tamarind)-lemongrass flavour, replete with minced fish-meat.
    The laksa noodles are garnished with generous amounts of finely-julienned raw herbs & vegetables: cucumber, lettuce, onions, torch-ginger (‘bunga kantan’), red chillies and fresh mint. An indispensable dollop of “hae koh” (fermented shrimp paste) drizzled on top before serving adds a pungent spike of flavour.

  1. The stall is located by the roadside, outside the Air Itam wet market, and only opens about after 10.30am, when the wet market’s morning stalls start closing down.

Ayer Itam Market Assam Laksa
Jalan Pasar, Paya Terubong
11500 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Operating hours: 11.30am-8pm daily


That looks damn good laksa. You do realise that with all these posts of great food in Penang I now need to find a way to persuade the missus to stay for a month when we visit Penang next year!


Do let me know if/when you come, Chris - I can show you guys around :slight_smile:

CNN Travel’s 2020 list of World’s Best 50 Foods placed Penang asam laksa at Number 7.

Prompted us here to make a return visit to Penang’s top asam laksa spot, Ayer Itam Market Asam Laksa for our laksa fix today. 71-year-old owner-chef, Ang Kar Seong, busy as usual, dispensing hot, steaming bowls of spicy, sourish noodles.

Anthony Bourdain was also here in his Penang episode of No Reservations:


The loss of business caused by the COVID pandemic lockdowns, plus some serious financial issues faced by the third-generation of the Ang family, put paid to a 73-year-old legacy. Air Itam Market Asam Laksa threw in the towel in May 2021.

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

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2