Discovering ‘old Singapore’ – as in what this country was like 40 or so years ago, before the first skyscraper was even a dot on the horizon – is something I love doing at weekends. I can’t manage it without a little help from friends who’ve grown up here, so when we were asked out to breakfast this Saturday to eat a particular type of katong laksak that’s been cooked by the same family of hawkers, and to the same recipe, for the last 40 years…remembered by our host from his childhood no less…I was thrilled.
Sure, some things are a little different from how they were when our friend VL was a boy, some 30 or so years ago. The son, George, now runs things from a stall that has changed locations a few times – it can now be found at 1 Telok Kurau Road, opposite the SPC petrol station. It was his father who began the business and created the recipe and used to hawk his wares from a rickshaw, going door to door, back in the day before there was such a thing as a hawker centre.
What we noticed when we first arrived was the resplendent resident cockerel – very kampong – sitting happily atop an SP Power fusebox, unperturbed as roaring traffic rumbled passed him. He’s apparently fed by one of the stall holders and now doesn’t bother living anywhere else.
George’s laksa makes any other version of this deliciously rich, spicy, coconut noodley soup pale in to insignificance. He is by no means a doddle to get to if you live vaguely centrally (it’s not called katong laksa for nothing – katong being an easterly district here) but it’s so good, a 20 minute car journey in exchange for getting to eat very fine food that only costs $3 seems a reasonable trade and one that I’ll definitely be happy to make again.
George is closed on Mondays.
Katong Laksa by George is at the coffeeshop on 1 Telok Kurau Road, Katong
The shot of four laksa bowls is courtesy of Behind the Basics