Friday, September 19, 2008

Depot Road Zen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa, Singapore

Laksa is a food of, rich, tasty, enriching. To eat a bowl of steaming hot laksa on a hot day takes great passion. And today, a team of 8 colleagues decended on the busy Alexandra Village to sample this very famous laksa vendor. Formerly from Depot Road, hence the name, is served with super thick coconut milk in a claypot. The old couple who used to run the store in Dover, keeping the crowd waiting and scolding you like an old grandaunt if you come to remind her that perhaps she might have forgotten your order. I understand they sold the name to the current owner at Alexandra Village.

The soul of laksa is in the gravy, and comparing gravies to famous Katong laksa, the Dopot variety is thicker, more creamy, and way richer. The superior mouth feel is probably due to the cholesterol laden thick coconut cream used. The gravy may not be the healthiest, but the taste is excellent, firing the umami sensors and gives great, great satisfaction. I do seem to remember, though, that the old store in Depot Road was even richer, but sans any hint of coconut...there were rumours that they used evaporated milk.

A spot of the spicy chilli provides a sharp counterpoint to the richness of the gravy. And additional cockles are available for an extra dollar, makes the bowl even more tasty, just enough to edge this as my favourite in Singapore...note the cockles in the picture below is not fully cooked, but the heat of the claypot soon cooks the cockles to perfection.

Strips of taupok completes the taste.

Thick beehoon is used. But regular yellow noodles is also available. We did not order the yellow noodles as I feel the kee of the yellow noodles makes the taste even richer, and overkill on the creaminess scale.

Definitely one of the best laksa in my books in Singapore. Curiously the other laksa I really like is the one served in SIA's First Class Lounge in Changi Airport when the chef is in session. Almost as rich, creamy, and balanced with spiciness.

Wash this down with an avocado shake from the other side of the hawker center...and one is in near-foodie haven. Also rich tasting, it is very refreshing, and cooling.

Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa
Alexandra Village Food Centre
Blk 120, Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-75

Photo note: shot without flash on the 17-40 f/4L, at ISO400. Shutter speeds range from 1/25s to 1/40s. Raw processed with Adobe Camera Raw, pushing exposure, recovery, fill light and black levels.
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