Sungei Road Laksa has been around for many years, serving hoards of customers each day. Many locals flock to this stall along Jalan Berseh because of its crazily affordable laksa bowls.
It is also a stall that locals tell tourists to check out when recommendations for local food is brought up.
We made our way down to try the laksa for ourselves and find out if this affordable local favourite deserves the hype. We arrived at 12pm, and there was already a very long queue ahead of us.
Unlike the ice cream uncles with push carts that never seem to be affected by inflation, the price of the laksa here has now increased to $3 (it used to cost only $2).
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Sungei Road Laksa remains the only laksa stall in Singapore that still insists on using charcoal to cook the soup. They insist on doing this because it creates another depth of flavour and fragrance that you do not get from gas stoves.
Despite the queue, service was brisk and we quickly got our bowls of laksa. Of course, for $3, you cannot expect a huge bowl – the portion size was more like what you’d get for a bowl of soup.
The very first thing that caught my attention was the generous amount of cockles. I counted seven in that small bowl! The cockles were very fresh and had absolutely no fishy taste. The cockles were also not mushy and had a nice bite to them.
A number of fishcakes given were also pretty generous and that was a huge plus point for me because I love fishcakes. The fishcakes were fresh and QQ, and were definitely a delight to have.
The heibi bits also added extra umami flavour to the entire bowl.
The soup in the bowl of laksa was not like the usual ones and was a lot lighter and mild tasting. I am someone who likes strong flavours, so this light tasting soup did not appeal to me that much.
I do understand why some people would like this soup though, as it won’t leave you feeling jelak even after two bowls.
After mixing the sambal chilli in, the soup’s flavour still did not change much. The sambal chilli provided was more sweet than spicy, so pile it on without too much worry!
As with most bowls of laksa, the noodles were cut to shorter lengths, so a spoon is all you need (and all you’ll get)! The thick bee hoon was cooked perfectly al dente and complemented the soup well.
The laksa served at Sungei Road Laksa did not have any prawns, egg or taupok, which we felt was a pity because these components are essential and tend to make for a really good bowl of laksa.
Although the laksa was affordably priced at $3, we felt that the standards fell a little short. I would still probably choose to have 328 Katong Laksa and pay a little more to get my laksa fix.
While we were eating, an old man told us that the standards have dropped over the years. Perhaps the secret recipe that has been passed down through generations has been slowly losing perfect execution.
Still, if you’re a fan of cheap food, cockles and fishcake, this will probably do it for you.
Expected damage: $3 per bowl