Assam laksa is really a local delicacy. But like spaghetti in squid ink (I know there is a better name to this, but might as well make it clear), it is really an acquired taste. I recall the expression of an Australian friend who tried the dish. His face practically looked like a prune - all wrinkled up. He said it was too fishy for him. Anyway, assam laksa is a Northern/Nyonya delicacy. Its soups main ingredients are tamarind juice, fish meat, daun kesum (local herb), and other spices. The noodles are made of mung beans. And you mixed all these with a lot of veges - lettuce, cucumber, onion, chili and bunga kantan (ginger flower).
The all time famous Penang assam laksa is the one in Air Hitam, near Kek Lok Si Temple. But many people find this shop better.
Location: Opposite Penang Chinese Girl School, Gottlieb Road, Penang
One thing I love about this place is the plentiful vege they included in a bowl. The usual laksa you find abundant in Penang are rather stingy with vege, causing less depth in the texture of food. Moreover, if you look at the soup, they are very thick with fish meat. The taste is generally sweet due to the hefty amount of fish meat.I personally don't prefer the clear and cylinder shaped laksa noodles that are kind of chewy. Some people tend to overcook and the noodles became too limp and soft. But I would say this shop is ok. The mixture of ingredients to make the noodles is quite right, so that it is easy to chew and yet not too soft. What is better about this place is that you can order some other snacks. My favourite is the fried popiah (spring rolls) and chai kueh (vegetable dumpling in clear skin). The popiah is crunchy and some people like to dip it into the laksa soup (just to soak in the flavours of laksa).I love the chai kueh. The skin is thin and soft. And the filling is simple and fragrant. I have tasted some that mixed is dried prawns and what nots in the filling, but the taste just got too mixed up. I like the simple sweet taste of vege and the soft feeling in my mouth. Yummy!If you would like to try out this place, please remember to go somewhere between 1-3.30pm. Not too late or you get nothing.