A lake of laksa

by Joanna on March 30, 2011

Satay Kampong dishes up the salty sour goodness

As it’s getting colder, and we’re getting colds, the minds of the Wellingtonista turn towards hot, spicy satisfaction. For some of us (well, at least me), this means laksa. But where on earth in Wellington can we find Malaysian food???

What’s that you say, on every second block? Okay, fine. But not all laksas are made equal. I’ve never been to Malaysia, so I don’t pretend to be an expert on authenticity, but I know what I like (hence why I always order them without egg). Here are the ones I’ve sampled:

  • Satay Kampong (Allen Street) pictured. $10 at lunch, $15 at dinner: this laksa comes with chicken, crab stick (not pictured, because I asked for it without),  and pork meatballs.  The winning feature of this laksa is the large clump of what I think is tamarind paste dumped on top, so you can control how strong you want your broth to be. I challenge you to get to the bottom of your bowl. I don’t imagine you can do it. It would benefit from some green – coriander and/or spring onions would make this pretty much perfect. Satay Kampong is a good lunch option because the interior is nice and they have lots of magazines if you’re alone.
  • Satay Kajang (Dixon Street): I forget how much the laksa was. It was nice enough, but nothing to write home about. The decor is pretty rundown, and it’s not a very thrilling experience eating here.
  • KK Malaysia (Ghuznee Street): I’ve only had takeaway Laksa from here before, and KK Malaysia is not on my dinner circuit because IT ISN’T LICENSED (the horror!) but it was a large portion, served in a couple of different containers, and was tasty, but again, lacking green garnishes.
  • Rasa (Cuba Street): Rasa ties with Satay Kampong for my favourite. Because they offer both chicken laksa and seafood laska, you don’t have to worry about remembering to ask for no fish balls, and sometimes you even get coriander, which makes me happy. Rasa is really small though, so it’s not a place you’d like to linger.
  • Kopi Tiam (Newtown Mall): if you’re doing your grocery shopping at New World, and you find yourself overwhelmed with the need for noodles, Kopi Tiam is okay. Bonus points for magazines, and for easy parking, but it’s not worth a trip to the suburbs on its own.

EDIT – new places tried:

  • Cinta Malaysia (Manners St): They offer a choice of rice or egg noodles, will happily give you laksa without egg or seafood, and the chicken used is deliciously poached. The curry sauce is a bit gritty with curry powder, but I appreciated the spring onions on the top. At $9, it was a pretty great lunch for a girl with a sore throat.

Where’s YOUR favourite laksa from?

Toby March 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I am partial to a laksa, but I’ve just moved up to Welly, and I gotta know: where all the Ramen at? I haven’t found a single Ramen shop.

vego March 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Aunty Mena’s vege Laksa!

tvdisko March 31, 2011 at 9:06 am

Yup. I’m down with Auntie Mena’s as well. Hearty and no harm done.

jo March 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Third Mena’s!

Adrian April 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Menas X4

Penny March 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

My favourite in Wellington is from what used to be Roti on Wilis Street between Manners and Dixon, and is now Pratha to Go in Kelburn. Many a hungover lunchtime Laksa was had there. That soup is super thick and delicious.

Linda April 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Best Laksa is by far at Satay Kampong. I also like their vegetable roti chani,

minimus April 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I’m a second on the pratha to go in kelburn. Luckily it’s also local for me, but the people there are super nice and it’s great. Yesterday I made my first trip to KK Malaysia based on the reviews, and I found it very underwhelming. I had roti chenai, not laksa, but it was very bland. Based on that experience I am confused why people think it’s so great. I could think of at least 6 better malaysia places right in the cuba street area.

Maximus April 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

For Toby – there is a Wagamama on the waterfront in the Meridian building – and Wagamama say that they are the Way of the Noodle – and I’m told that they do good Ramen. Hope that helps.

Joanna April 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

Wagamama is waaaaaaay overpriced, and pretty inconsistent

Groggy April 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm

The Basin Noodle house do fantastic Laksa (they include an egg though) and cheap. Not the most amenable surroundings and forgettable magazine collection but Yum!

Gina April 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

In my last week living in Wellington, I joined some friends for a Laksa lunch at Cafe 93 on Molesworth street (opposite Thorndon New World). I don’t profess to be an expert, but what I ate was amazing. I regret not knowing about this place earlier or I would have gone there heaps. If you are in that neighbourhood – I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

Joanna April 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

We reviewed Cafe 93 as part of our roundup of Molesworth in 2008, but I never tried their laksa.

richard maclean April 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I agree re Kopi Tiam in Newtown. Fantastically spicy. Best in town.

Seamonkey Madness April 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Is that the official WCC position?


richardmaclean April 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I’d like to say yes but there’d be trouble.

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