Original article published at TasteAtlas.
Assam laksa is a traditional Malaysian fish-based sour noodle soup. It is the one of the numerous varieties of laksa, popular noodle soups widespread throughout Southeast Asia. The dish consists of rice noodles, shredded fish, and sliced vegetables, most commonly cucumber, onion, and lettuce.
It has a distinctively tangy taste, which is attributed to tamarind, the sour ingredient generously used to spice the dish. The exact origin of the dish is unknown, but it is believed that it has originated in the coastal areas of Malaysia among the local fishermen who assembled the dish out of available ingredients.
Through history, the dish evolved into assam laksa that we know today. Regardless of its origin, nowadays it is a signature dish of the Malaysian region of Penang. It is one of the most famous street dishes found in the area, and a favorite with both locals and tourists.
In Penang, street vendors prepare assam laksa from the early morning until late in the evening. Traditionally, the dish should be served with hae ko, a dark and rich Malaysian-style shrimp paste.