Laksa is a Malaysian soup that is jam-packed full of tender meats, tofu, vegetables and noodles, all swimming around in a red curry-flavoured, coconut base. Sound delicious? That's because it is! It is the ideal food to eat in winter, as it warms you up from the inside and makes you feel cosy and full, while the wind howls outside. For those of us who love this food all year around, it can be a challenge to eat on a hot day as the sweat starts to dive out of your forehead in quick succession. If you find an air-conditioned restaurant however, you can pretend its winter and enjoy it all year round.
Most Laksas cost around the $14 -$16 mark, depending on whether you just want vegetables and tofu or a combination of BBQ meat and seafood. Most venues offer half size for around $12, as well as Jumbo sizes for $18. So where is the best Laksa in Canberra? A Canberra Weekendnotes reader left a comment a long time ago on my article for Asian Noodle House, to say the best Laksa in Canberra was at the Dickson Asian Noodle House, which is a different business. It has taken a while to get there, but when I did - WOW! - she was right!
Combination Laksa - A spicy, full flavoured curry and coconut broth served with wheat noodles and rice vermicelli, chicken, pork and duck combination garnished with bean curd and vegetables ($14.50).
The Dickson Asian Noodle House can be found on the main street of Dickson shops, less than 10 minutes north of the city. This stretch of shops is renowned around Canberra for its wide range of traditional Asian restaurants and the Dickson Asian Noodle House sits right in the middle. When you first walk in you are given a warm welcome, water and a bowl of prawn chips to nibble on while you look through the menu.
We ordered the Combination Laksa and were particularly enamoured with the delicious curry and coconut base, which was the creamiest and flavoursome on this list. All the flavours came together perfectly, with the right amount of heat so that your bottom lip tingled - without it being too uncomfortable. It has been described as the "Best in Canberra" and it is easy to see why - particularly for the out-of-this world creamy broth! See here for details.
Asian Noodle House has four restaurants in Canberra - located in the Civic, Tuggeranong, Woden and Belconnen. They each have the same delicious menu which incorporates dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Laos. If you have children, their children's menu is particularly popular, with all dishes less than $10.
Our family often visit the Asian Noodle House in Tuggeranong and we order a Laksa every time - we just go past it! The bowl has an abundance of ingredients, the flavour is perfect for those who enjoy their laksa spicy but not too hot and the full-size bowl will keep you full all afternoon. For those who have smaller appetites, they offer a half size bowl which is more manageable to get through. See here for details. For a full article on Asian Noodle House, see here.
Combination Laksa at Asian Noodle House - full of ingredients and the perfect blend of flavours ($14.50)
Street of Asia is another restaurant that makes a tasty Laksa, located down the road from Asian Noodle House in Tuggeranong, above. This large restaurant is popular for both lunch and dinner with families and local workers. Their Laksa is another one to rave about, with a creamy tasty flavour that is on the warm side, without being too over-hot. They also deliver the Laksa with bean shoots on the side, so you can add as many or little as you like. Although this is further down the list from the above two options, it is still an exceptional Laksa to be enjoyed anytime. See here for details. For a full article on Street of Asia, see here.
Combination Laksa at Street of Asia ($16.50)
Special Mention - For Those Who Like It Hot!
Hokka Hokka is a takeaway franchise, located in the Canberra Centre, Majura Park Shopping Centre and the Brindabella Business Park at Canberra Airport. If you like it hot and full of flavour, then give Hokka Hokka a try - but make sure you buy a bottle of water at the same time! This Laksa is too hot for my taste, however I have sat and eaten it with friends and they have slurped up every spoonful - while I have had steam coming out of my ears. They admit it is hot, but refuse to stop - they love it that much!
Where is your favourite place to enjoy a Laksa in Canberra? If your local isn't mentioned here, please leave a comment at the top of this article and add your own tips...even if they're sweat-popping hot!
Combination Laksa at Hokka Hokka, Canberra Centre ($14.90)