Singapore Laksa and Kway Teow – Chop Chop Noodle Bar, Kings Cross

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Oh no! Not laksa again I hear you say? Yes, Junk is almost addicted to the stuff and this post and next will be about one of my all time fav dishes.

So one day last week towards the end of the working day, I found myself a tad hungry and could not get the ideal of having a big steaming bowl of laksa out of my head. Started looking around on Google maps for any potential to appease my craving. Lo and behold! Found both Chop Chop and Hare and Tortoise outlets within walking distance from the office.

chopchopshopfrontChop Chop is a budget place serving a range of Asian/Chinese dishes. By budget, I really mean budget. One can have a starter, a drink and a main course easily under £10. Quality is not fantastic but portions are always generous.What the Boom might call, a reliable “Chew and Spew” joint. Apart from the outlet in Kings Cross, I know of one in Shepherd’s Bush and another near Fulham Broadway. There are many reviews complaining of rude or bad service which I have never encountered and I have visited all 3 outlets.

chopchopmenuOnce you are seated, you will be given a pen and a marking sheet with numbers representing dishes on the menu. Simply indicate the number of portion of the selected dish on the marking sheet.

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Of the umpteenth times I have eaten at Chop Chop, I have always told myself to try out some of their other dishes. But I could never tear myself away from their Singapore Laksa, it’s simply one of my comfort dishes.

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A bowl of Singapore Laksa at £4.90 (this have increased their prices over the years. I still remember when a bowl was only £3.90) will contain 3 good size prawns, maybe 5 thick slices of fish cake and a handful of fried tofu. The small plate of chilli oil in the first picture cost 50p more.

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They use thin rice vermicelli here and believe me, the portion is huge! The rice noodles are accompanied by crunchy bean sprouts all drench in a spicy, rich coconut milk based sauce.

Slurp, slurp, chew, slurp, there, all done!

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Also got a takeaway portion of Boom’s fav dish, the Kway Teow. This also cost £4.90 and I was intending to have it for lunch the next day as it was my WFH (work from home) day. Came the next morning, thought better of it and gave it to Boom for his dinner instead. What a nice person I am huh?

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So the Kway Teow is quite rightly made with thick rice noodles, prawns, char siew, fish cake, bean sprouts all stir fried with dark soya sauce. Boom told me the next day that the Kway Teow was a perfect cure to his after drinks cravings and boy was the portion big he said. The Boom don’t lie.

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Chop Chop Noodle Bar
1 Euston Road
London NW1 2SA
0207 833 1773

Singapore Laksa – Mudmee, Artillery Passage Bishopsgate

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Managed to find some free time today so decided to have an eat-in lunch rather than takeaway. Passed by this small Thai restaurant Mudmee if I snake my way from Liverpool Street Station to Brick Lane via the small passageways and decided to give it a try.

As I was pretty early, managed to get seated as soon as I walked in. Dare not take too much photos of the restaurant and food as I was given a couple of dirty looks by one of the waiters while I was taking pictures of the restaurant’s facade. Looks like apart from the regular menu, they also have an Express Takeaway lunch menu.

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Unfortunately, nothing on the Express Takeaway lunch menu took my fancy so I went with my numero uno comfort food, Singapore Laksa! Sacrilegious to order Singaporean food in a Thai restaurant but I need some TLC today. To make it a 2 course lunch, I also ordered Peek Gad Yud Sai which is deep fried stuffed boneless chicken wings. The laksa was £7.90 while the chook wings was £4.90 which takes the total to £12.80. Not exactly cheap, let’s see whether it can live up to my fav from Keke’s.

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Both my orders came within 5 minutes and I’m glad the laksa looked the part. Gave it a stir and was pleasantly surprised that they used both rice vermicelli as well as thick egg noodles. There was generous slices of fish cake, squid and prawns all in a coconut milk and spiced based soup. Taste wise, pretty good, 2 thumbs up! Well, it’s not exactly Singapore Laksa, more like a Thai rendition with strong hints of lemon grass and slightly on the sweet side like a Thai Red Curry. There was quite a few curry leaves scattered throughout I guess to replace laksa leaves and my only complain would be it’s missing some crunch, some bean sprouts would be nice.

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What about the stuffed chicken wings? Looks wise, it fits the bill but was sorely lacking taste wise. Both the wings and stuffing lacked seasoning and requires furious dunking in the plum sauce provided. They have also been over fried, though crispy is tough and dry. Really disappointed.

If you intend to lunch here, be early. It was jammed packed with queues snaking out the door by the time I’m halfway through my lunch.

Mudmee
12a Artillery Passage
Bishopsgate
London E1 7LJ
0207 247 0772

Laksa Off! Keke vs Momo’wich

Having tried Momo’wich’s laksa, I’m now finally able to complete the Laksa Off! which I have mentioned many times in my previous posts. On with the fight!

Our first contestant, occupying a takeaway stall in the corner of Spitalfields Market, meals cooked to order but with no website of their own, we have Keke!

Our second contestant, located along Commercial Street, tagging themselves with the “Pan-Asian Bites” moniker and all social media up, we have Momo’wich!

Round One – If looks could kill…

In my post about the laksa from Momo’wich, I waxed lyrical about the concept of the rempah and how vital the film of oil is to the appearance of a laksa’s gravy. Comparing the gravy of both Momo’wich and Keke’s laksa, I would say Momo’wich’s version looks more appealing, the film of red oil will stir all laksa addict’s appetite. Keke’s version looks anemic in comparison.

Momo’wich’s Laksa

Keke’s Laksa

Round Two – Only when the price is right…

There is not much of a price difference between Momo’wich and Keke. Momo’wich’s laksa was £6 while Keke’s was £5.80. I think I can afford a 20p difference anytime. Unfortunately, at £6, I was expecting more prawns in the Momo’wich laska. Felt a tad cheated by the few small shrimps.

Round Three – The proof is in the pudding…

Taste wise, how do they compare? I would say Momo’wich’s version is a more accurate rendition of a typical laksa. The colour, the taste fits the bill. Perhaps I my expectation was too high but after eating it, I was still felt somewhat lacking.

Momo’wich’s Laksa

I think I’m a tad biased when it comes to Keke’s Laksa. It’s my go to laksa afterall! Though it’s not entirely authentic, it’s more along the lines of a curry noodle but it always manage to more than satisfy my laksa craving. Keke’s still get my vote.

Keke’s Laksa

Verdict

Afraid to say, the slightly cheaper, less authentic but definitely fulfills my craving laksa from Keke gets my vote!

Keke
Old Spitalfields Market
10 Horner Square
London E1 6EW
0207 375 2002

Momo’wich
75 Commerical Street
London E1 6BD
0207 377 6409

Malaysian Curry Laksa – Momo’wich, Commercial Street

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Finally pulled my finger out today and took the walk to Momo’wich to get their version of laksa. I have blogged about Momo’wich’s Beef Rendang baguette before and have always wanted to try their laksa. On their menu, they mentioned 2 versions, a chicken and a prawn version with the chicken version at 50p cheaper. But when I walked to their fridge area holding the noodle tubs, there was only one type labelled “laksa” with no mention whether it is chicken or prawn. Feels a bit like a lucky dip!

As you can see from the picture of the laksa above, the soup base certainly looks the part. The colour of the laksa broth varies from a light yellow to a bright orange and except for Asam Laksa, all have a milky consistency from the coconut milk used. But the most important thing for me is the oil floating on top of the broth. The oil is from frying the rempah, the spice paste which forms the base of most Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. Frying the rempah releases the fragrant oils from the spices and takes away some of its rawness. The rempah is ready when the oil used for frying separates from the paste. That’s the source of the oil in a laksa broth.

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Got back to the office, opened the tub and found a couple of prawns swimming in the tub. So I got the prawn version today thus the server charged me £6 which was the correct price according to the menu. Other ingredients includes a quarter of a hard boiled egg, a few slices of fish cake, rice noodles, bean sprouts and julienned carrots, cabbage and daikon. The soup base taste pretty much like a curry laksa should be, cream and spicy. Perhaps too spicy for those of you who can’t handle the chilli kick. The rice noodles were abundant and the crunch of the veggies was a nice touch. My main complain would be the prawns. Only 2 were included and they were not huge ones. For £6, I expected more prawns, even more hard boiled egg in its place would be appreciated.

Verdict: Taste wise, it’s pretty ok but don’t think it’s value for money. Keke is safe as my go-to laksa joint for the moment.

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Managed to take a picture of their wall with beef rendang recipe. If you look carefully, you can also see a laksa recipe after.

Momo’wich
75 Commerical Street
London E1 6BD
0207 377 6409