Jan 6, 2013

Laksa Jitra Mai

In KL, a good laksa utara is hard to find. Although this laksa is freely available in pasar malam's, most of them fails in two main parts. One, the laksa broth is too runny and does not have enough fish taste. Two, the laksa comes from a packet and is too hard. And yes, you want your laksa to be al dente. It's not just for spaghetti. But, we found Laksa Jitra Mai that can simply be said as one of the best in KL, on a mobile motorcycle, underneath a big tree in Kota Damansara.

Jitra Mai simply serves it the original way. Laksa noodle, sliced cucumbers, sliced raw onions, cut spring onions, daun kesum, half cut lime and the hallmark of laksa kedah, a half cut boiled egg. That's it.

The laksa broth is simply magical. Thick and chockful of fish. They say that they use sardines but I suspect that they throw in other types of fish as well to give the broth a much richer taste. Laksa Kedah normally uses ikan termenung (a variant of lkan kembung) and I can taste a hint of this in the broth.
The broth is left to simmer in the laksa cauldron from noon to about six pm so if you come just before closing time, you will have a much thicker yummy fishy broth because the broth has gone through a slow reduction process.
The laksa noodle here is al-dente most times. It has slightly irregular shapes as opposed to the perfectly tubular machined shaped noodle. This may mean that their laksa noodle is handmade although they claim otherwise. It's just too irregular to be machine made.
At RM3.50, this is happiness in a bowl. Rice noodle served with a thick fishy broth, with boiled eggs and condiments on the side. However, the whole thing comes in a styrofoam bowl with tinny plasticky spoons which is actually quite disappointing. Stuff this good should at least merit the typical plastic bowl. Pretty good stuff by our standards. 
We've had people who previously only preferred the Chinese assam laksa finishing a bowl or two of Jitra Mai's Malay laksa. Now, Chinese version laksa have a completely different taste profile compared to Malay laksa. Broth is clearer, cooked using sardines with the addition of pineapples. Laksa Kedah has a thick broth, Laksa Perlis uses eels, and Malay Laksa Penang uses a mixture of fish.
Jitra Mai does not sell any water with their laksa. They have something even better. Cendol. This is a special cendol that compliments their laksa extremely well. Ice is thinly shaved, then cendol and kidney beans are added, before gula melaka and coconut milk are poured in. A simple cooling drink that we highly recommend. They also serve a pulut version here.
This is a simple mobile 2 man unit. One serves the food, the other picks up plates and co-assists when it gets busy. This is street food at its best. Eating beside the street and underneath a tree. If it rains, everybody just have to cower and eat under the one umbrella shack.

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