Dang….the Vietnamese place we were going to have dinner was closed on Boxing Day. We drove on down Hastings, going to Vietnamese place number two on the list. Not having gone very far down the road (a few blocks, I reckon), my father pointed out Laksa King on the opposite side of the road – this is his current favourite laksa place and he mentioned that the owners were Burmese. A split second decision was made – we were going to eat there instead and yes, it was open!
The place was empty that evening though from what I gather online, it’s normally very popular (it was Boxing Day – not exactly a normal day). We had our choice of seats and chose to sit by the window, further away from the large screen tv playing a fire that wasn’t actually providing any warmth. Their menu was a great sounding mix of Malaysian and Burmese dishes.
To start, we split a Lahpet Thoke ($8.00), a Burmese salad made with pickled tea leaf, tomato, cabbage, garlic chip, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, broad beans and dry shrimp. A dressing made with lime juice bound it all together. I understand that Burma is one of the few countries where tea is actually eaten and I’ve been keen to try this salad for ages…if I could ever find it in London. Luckily, here it is in Vancouver!
The salad was zingy and very flavourful and full of different textures. And it was spicier than I expected and I ended up with pleasantly numb lips.
My father recommended their laksa ($8.75) – it would be terrible if their namesake dish wasn’t very good but I can report that this was extremely good! The (very) spicy coconut curry broth was filled with rice vermicelli and yellow noodles (you can have either or both) and topped with a prawn, fish balls, tofu puffs, a hard boiled egg, chicken, bean sprouts, onion, coriander and jalapenos. Again, this was spicier than I expected but it was delicious! This is a most excellent creamy, spicy, complex laksa.
We also had to try their Mohingar ($8.50), a rice noodle soup topped with their house blend of fish broth with onions, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and banana stem and there were hard boiled eggs and crunchy split pea fritters on top too. This was entirely new to me – I had had the mohingar in Mandalay back in London but that paled in comparison to this beauty! The flavours were wonderful, all fishy (in a good way) and spicy though not spicy-hot, and with lots of different textures again. The noodles in this dish were cut short and we were able to just mix all this together and spoon it into our mouths.
For spicy-hot, we were also served a toasted chili mixture alongside the mohingar – and this stuff was certainly hot!
I have heard that their curries are oily but tasty and their roti canais are just ok. What I ate – fabulous. Highly recommended!
2546 E. Hastings st
Vancouver, BC, V5K 1Z3
Happy New Year, 2014, everyone!