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—Photograph by Aaron Colussi

Best Bites: Makan Malaysian Cafe’s Laksa

Looking for something other than the usual ramen or pho? We've got just the thing for you.

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Few things are as satisfying as a steaming bowl of noodle soup on a chilly day. And if you’re looking for Asian flavors—and want something other than the usual ramen or pho—we’ve got just the thing for you. “Laksa,” a slow-simmered blend of coconut milk, dried shrimp, fish balls, and noodles, is even richer and creamier than its celebrated siblings. There are different renditions throughout Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, but we like the variety served at Platt Park’s cheery Makan Malaysian Cafe. It’s done in the traditional style of Johor, the southern Malaysian state where chef and owner Karen Wee Lin Beckman was born. “This is the version I grew up eating,” Beckman says. “In Malaysia, laksa is considered a street food. Very few people actually cook this at home because it’s an inexpensive meal that can be easily found at hawker centers.” Laksa is believed to have been brought to Malaysia by Chinese immigrants, but locals were quick to inject their own more tropical influence via coconut milk, lemongrass, and turmeric. You can customize your bowl at Makan by choosing the spice level and noodle type. Or go with Beckman’s pick: medium spicy with a tangle of yellow egg noodles.

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