Pasar Air Itam Laksa Penang
Air Itam or Ayer Hitam is popular for two reasons; Kek Lok Si Temple and the laksa (or assam laksa). Air Itam means “black water” in Malay is a town in Penang. The laksa is located at the Pasar Air Itam or Air Itam market and that’s why it is called the Pasar Air Itam Laksa.
Penang laksa means “assam laksa” as it is called in other states and that’s why you will get confused with some of the food terms like Hokkien Mee in Penang means prawn noodles.
We went to Penang Hill before visiting the Pasar Air Itam Laksa. It is just 10-15 minutes of driving to the stall. The stall is located directly opposite the wet market of Air Itam. It is located by the roadside and you can see many chairs and tables and a couple of other stalls. Getting a car park is not easy and the road is constantly busy as this is the road to Kek Lok Si Temple. You just have to park by the roadside if you can find one.
The last time I went to this place is in 2009, around six years ago. They are more organized now with their own uniforms but their stall is still messy and the place is still packed. In 2009, a bowl of laksa was RM 2.70, now after inflation and GST, a bowl of laksa is RM 4.50.
The stall is ready for thousands or millions of customers so you get your bowl of assam laksa in minutes. Yes, the servings are fast and the presentation and portion is exactly the same after so many years.
How is the taste?
You still get the bowl of assam laksa with noodles, mackerel, onions, slices of tamarind fruit, shrimp paste and others. However, the taste is not as “strong” as it used to be. I am being very honest here. The broth is not as thick as it used to be but the taste is still there. Maybe I should ask them to add more shrimp paste. It is good but not that great or maybe I have too high expectations for this.
It is still comfort food and how can you not stop here if you are on your way up to Kek Lok Si Temple or Penang Hill. Since it is near the market, you can find many durians during the durian season. Assam Laksa is voted as the Top 7 of World’s 50 best foods by CNNgo.com
Pasar Air Itam Laksa Penang Address and GPS:
1-9, Jalan Pasar
11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Pasar Air Itam Laksa Penang GPS Coordinate: 5.401335, 100.278147