Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Laksa with kick in Yishun

The laksa comes with bean sprouts, fish cake, tau pok, cockles and boiled egg, as well as the more unique offering of crab sticks.
The laksa comes with bean sprouts, fish cake, tau pok, cockles and boiled egg, as well as the more unique offering of crab sticks.ST PHOTO: YIP WAI YEE

The neighbourhood of Yishun has gotten a bad reputation in recent years, what with the string of cat abuse and murder cases.

But anyone who lives in the north will have you know that there are a number of hidden food gems in the area that should be making the headlines instead.

One is a two-decade-old laksa stall in Yishun Central, which a friend told me about. She has been a loyal patron there since she was a schoolgirl.

Evidently, her enthusiasm for its noodles is matched by many other Yishun residents, as the stall has a constant queue in front of it, even on a quiet weekday morning.

The stall, with no name and housed in a shop at a Housing Board block, could have been easily missed.

But it was no challenge to locate it as I could smell the heady aroma of the fragrant laksa gravy even from around the corner. It is apparently made from scratch every morning.

I order a bowl (from $2.80) with thick beehoon - you can also opt for thin beehoon or yellow noodles - and am surprised by how generous the serving is.

  • LAKSA

  • 01-155, 928 Yishun Central 1;

    Open: 8.30am to 7pm, Mondays to Saturdays (closed on Sundays)

    Rating: 3.5 Stars

The bowl is bursting with ingredients, from the usual bean sprouts, fish cake, tau pok, cockles and boiled egg, to the more unique offering of crab sticks.

I slurp up the gravy and it is lighter than I expect - with none of that oily richness - despite the milky colour. It goes down so smoothly that I end up polishing off all of it - a rare thing for me since I usually find laksa gravy too rich.

The star of the show, however, is the chilli paste, which is intense with the flavour of dried shrimps.

It also has a real kick - just a small dollop is enough to get the sweat glands working. My tongue still tingles at the memory of how spicy it was.

Given how satisfying the laksa is, I am finally convinced to venture more often into Yishun and uncover other hidden food gems, even if strange things do happen in the neighbourhood.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'Laksa with kick'. Print Edition | Subscribe