Balik Pulau is famous for two things: durian and laksa. Here, two types of laksa are widely available: assam laksa and lemak laksa, where the latter is also known as Thai/Siam laksa. I seldom venture into Balik Pulau because the drive is quite strenous due to the long, windy road. But for personal satisfaction sake to explore Penang entirely, I took a trip to visit the small, quiet town that is currently experiencing much deserved developments. You will find Balik Pulau still as laid back but at least not that ‘ulu’ as being peddled around in the past.
Assam laksa is a love or hate it to death thing. If you happen to loathe it then you might want to give the lemak version a try. The gravy is prepared with coconut milk giving it the creamy and slightly sweet taste instead of being sourish. Ingredients wise it is similar to assam laksa, still the same ikan kembung, cucumber, pineapple, cili padi etc and still topped with prawn paste (optional) I actually prefer the lemak version, am not a fan of sourish food.
One thing about lemak laksa is its less than appealing presentation. Try to look past that and you might enjoy it more, priced at only RM2.50 a bowl. Nutmeg juice is a local specialty with health benefits available in almost every coffee shop so make sure you have try a cup too before leaving. However, I am not going to say it’s a delicious drink just because it’s a local specialty. In fact nutmeg juice is actually quite an acquired taste, though tangy and sweet nonetheless.
Despite being a popular food in Balik Pulau, tourists make up most of the eating customers and not the locals. Well, I am somewhat not surprised. Competition is always present when it comes to hawker food in Penang so you would find two famous stalls along the road near to the old defunct wet market. Whichever you choose, honestly I could say there is not much difference in the taste. So if you are undecided, my advice is to pick the one with less customers to eat more comfortably.
Laksa Balik Pulau
Chuan Heong Café (opposite old market)
118 B.P.V.A Main Road
11000, Balik Pulau
GPS Coordinates: N 5 21.09204 E 100 14.13564
Clsoed on Mondays (except if it falls on public holiday)