Min Ji Laksa, Bendemeer: Affordable $3.50 laksa with fragrant house-made rempah for a nostalgic taste

Laksa is one of those dishes that either make it or break it. It might look deceptively simple, but there’s a ton of work that goes into ensuring that the rempah (spice paste) is fragrant, while the laksa broth itself has a good balance between creaminess and richness.

That’s why when I heard of Min Ji Laksa, a humble laksa stall in Bendeemer Market & Food Centre, I knew I had to make the trip down to Boon Keng to give it a try. Online reviews raved about this generous bowl of laksa, which wasn’t overly lemak, but still retained a good depth of flavour due to its house-made rempah.

Photo of storefront

This was my first time going to Bendeemer Market & Food Centre, but I located the hawker centre pretty easily— it was a mere two to three minute walk from Boon Keng MRT.

I made it a point to arrive at around 11am to deliberately avoid the lunch crowd, but to my surprise, the hawker centre was already packed with people! Streams of customers were lining up to queue for several popular stalls in the hawker centre, including Hwa Heng Beef Noodle and Yong Xiang Carrot Cake.

As I squeezed past the dense crowd and eventually located Min Ji Laksa, I was mildly taken aback to find that it too, had a growing queue in front of its storefront despite only selling two items on its menu: Laksa (S$3.50/S$4.50/S$5.50) and Mee Rebus (S$3).

Welp, time to start queuing.

What I tried

Photo of laksa

I decided to order Min Ji Laksa’s namesake dish, Laksa (S$3.50), and was pleasantly surprised to receive an incredibly decent portion considering its affordable price tag.

I spotted a good amount of thick bee hoon, an egg that was sliced in half, several pieces of tau pok, slices of fish cake, multiple cockles, and of course, a generous amount of laksa gravy. 

For just S$3.50, this dish was a complete steal. Based on the amount of ingredients given and the rich orange hue of the laksa gravy, I was already impressed— and I hadn’t even started eating!

Photo of laksa broth

I eagerly took a sip of the laksa gravy. There was an immediate taste of coconut milk, followed by a creamy and fragrant savouriness from the house-made rempah, which added a nice spicy kick towards the end of each sip. The impressive part came from its texture— it wasn’t overly rich and in fact remained quite light and drinkable. 

I personally prefer strong flavours, so part of me wished there had been more rempah or chilli paste so that the gravy was more gao and rich. Despite that, I couldn’t stop myself from drinking the laksa gravy, which had a homely taste that reminded me of comforting home-cooked laksa.

Later, I learnt that Min Ji Laksa’s rempah is prepared from scratch and that a lot of work goes into the fine details— such as peeling the shallots and garlic paste, and frying the paste to ensure it’s fragrant. It even took the store owner a good two years of refining her recipe before she finally got the results she wanted!

Close up of tau pok

Arguably, the tau pok was the best ingredient in this simple bowl of laksa because it soaked up all that glorious broth, such that each bite was bursting with flavourful goodness. There was also a faint roasted taste to every bite, which could’ve been achieved from toasting the tau pok prior to serving. 

I was glad that Min Ji Laksa had sliced the tau pok into bite-sized pieces, because I popped each piece into my mouth as if it was candy.

Close up of cockles

As if the portion wasn’t generous enough, S$3.50 got me plenty of cockles as well. I counted about five to six pieces of small cockles, which were fresh and retained a briny taste.

Photo of noodles

While the white bee hoon was nothing special, it soaked up the laksa gravy pretty fast, so my advice to you would be to ask for either less noodles or more gravy, depending on your appetite and preference.

Photo of mee rebus

Even though Min Ji Laksa’s name might suggest that they only sell laksa, you’d be surprised to know that they sell Mee Rebus (S$3) as well.

Photo of noodles

Don’t belittle this simple plate of Mee Rebus, because the house-made gravy was absolutely fantastic. 

Thick and rich, the gravy was savoury with strong hints of nutty peanut and dried shrimp. It was full-bodied, aromatic and filled with umami notes. The gravy was so thick that it stuck to the yellow noodles— not that I’m complaining, mind you, as I ended up slurping the glorious noodles.

There’s only one word to describe the gravy: shiok.

Close up of toppings

The Mee Rebus had plenty of your usual toppings and garnishes as well— fried tofu bits, sliced green chilli, a touch of lime, and fried shallots, which added a nice contrast in terms of texture to the dish. 

Each bite had just a bit of everything: crispiness from the fried shallots, freshness from the green herbs, sourness from the lime juice, and a nice heat from the chilli and gravy.

Final thoughts

Photo of Min Ji Laksa's dishes

This stall has perpetual queues, even during non-peak hours, and it’s certainly clear why. Not only are its dishes really affordable, you’re getting decent portions and great flavour. I could taste the amount of hard work that went into both of these dishes, and it’s stalls like these that make me grateful for our local hawker culture. 

While I was drawn to Min Ji Laksa because of its Laksa— which didn’t disappoint at all— I was impressed by its Mee Rebus and would certainly make the long trip down to Bendeemer Market & Food Centre again if I’m ever craving an authentic and hearty bowl of mee rebus.

Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5.50 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Min Ji Laksa

29 Bendemeer Road, Bendemeer Market & Food Centre, #01-31, Singapore 330029

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Min Ji Laksa

29 Bendemeer Road, Bendemeer Market & Food Centre, #01-31, Singapore 330029

Operating Hours: 8am - 3pm (Thu to Mon), Closed on Tue & Wed

Operating Hours: 8am - 3pm (Thu to Mon), Closed on Tue & Wed

The delicious joy of Singapore food culture: Enjoy Eating House And Bar

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