Happy Laksa has the unenviable position of sharing the same address as the world-famous Siam Road Char Koay Teow on 82 Siam Road - the hottest address on Penang’s hawker food scene at the moment. Imagine hour-long queues (up to 3 hours for really busy days) for a plate of fried noodles. Happy Laksa actually taps upon this crowd for spillover business: hungry customers will tend to order some laksa to tide over their hunger whilst they wait for their plate of char koay teow.
But that’s really taking some credit away from Happy Laksa which, IMHO, produces the tastiest Penang-Nyonya laksa I’d had so far in Penang (sorry, Mimi Laksa).
I called it Penang-Nyonya laksa as it’s spicier than the usual Penang asam laksa. Its spicy-sour soup has a redder hue from the chilis, but none of the brown tinge from the addition of “hae koh”, the ultra-pungent, dark, sticky fermented shrimp sauce much sought after by Penangites, but which can send most other Malaysians into death throes at one whiff.
Happy Laksa uses the old-fashioned thick bee hoon rice noodles, topped with shredded lettuce, and chopped chilis, torch ginger pineapple, raw onions, fresh mint leaves and finely-chopped cucumber. The result was a tastier rendition of the Nyonya laksa for which Mimi Laksa (ex-Wisma Central, now at Cannon Square) had set the benchmark previously.
Now I gave the urge to go back to 82 Siam Road for the laksa instead of the famous char koay teow! The sign at the stall mentioned its opening hour at 11am, but I think it’s not opened yet if you do go at the time. During my last visit, he was ready to do business only at 11.30am.
Stallowner, Mr Lo Hoe Huat, also does an excellent deep-fried spring roll (“popiah chee”) - very tasty indeed: the filling consisted of minced pork cooked with shredded jicama (yambean), cabbage, carrot, onions & garlic. The spring rolls are served with a spicy chili dip.
82 Siam Road
10400 George Town
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12 noon-6pm. Closed on Sunday.