The recipe came from his grand-uncle and his mother and aunt perfected the flavours. Adam Phua tells TAN BEE HONG about a family recipe for noodles that has been handed down three generations.
THE outlet is so new you can still smell the paintwork on the bright green walls. Sisters Curry Laksa may be just two months old, but owner Adam Phua and his cousin Wilson Yap are definitely not new to the business.
“We used to help out at our mothers´ shop in SEA Park (Petaling Jaya) when we were young, especially during the school holidays,” says Phua, 28.
Sisters Curry Laksa is named after the cousins´ mothers — sisters Wong Ah Moy, 50, and Wong Kam Chi, 46 — who have been operating a popular curry laksa shop behind Maybank in SEA Park for the last 20 years.
“Mother will be retiring one day, and I feel it would be a shame if our brand of curry laksa is left to die out,” says Phua. So the former advertising salesman with Sin Chew Jit Poh handed in his briefcase for an apron to learn the family recipe from Ah Moy.
“Our family´s has always been in the food business. My father also runs a curry laksa stall in a kopitiam in SS3,” says Phua. But what makes Sisters Curry Laksa different from the outlet in SEA Park is that it´s air-conditioned and the food is pork-free.
“We use only chicken and beef as well as seafood,” says Phua. “What makes our laksa gravy special is our own combination of spices.”
Ah Moy chips in: “My late maternal uncle ran a very successful food business in the 1980s. His restaurant, Chan Kee, in Taman Megah, was well known for its curry dishes. He was the one who taught me to cook curry laksa.
“We use more than 10 types of spices for the rempah and everything is made from scratch. We don´t use pre-ground spices, not even chili boh. Doing it ourselves ensures quality control.”
Apart from the spices, Ah Moy also goes to the Selayang wholesale market every morning at 5am to pick out fresh ingredients like chicken, prawns and beef.
“In this business, we´re used waking up so early,” she says with a chuckle. “Suppliers can be unreliable and we cannot afford to run out of any single ingredient.”
Naturally, most customers come for curry laksa. There is a choice of bihun (rice vermicelli), fresh yellow noodles, kway teow or loh shi fun to go with chicken curry gravy or seafood gravy.
The chicken laksa (RM5.80) has shredded chicken breast, cockles, tofu pok (deepfried tofu) and longbeans. You can also ask for laksa with chicken parts like wings, drumstick and thigh. Portions are substantial and the noodles come doused in thick and creamy gravy scented spices and santan (coconut milk).
“For seafood laksa (RM11.80) we cook prawns and squid in the gravy to give it added flavour,” says Phua.
It´s value for money as the noodles come with two huge prawns, lots of fresh squid, cockles, long beans and tofu pok.
Apart from curry laksa, the outlet also sells chicken rice, beef noodles and clear soup noodles which are popular with children yet to be weaned on hot spices.
I fail to get a taste of the chicken rice (RM6.50). Though it is only 1pm, the kitchen has run out of rice. “Our rice is popular as it´s quite different from that offered in chicken rice shops. Ours is not oily as we don´t add margarine to the rice. We use only chicken stock to give it flavour,” explains Ah Moy.
Kway teow is a good choice for beef noodles. Beef balls, slices of tenderloin and softly-stewed tripe sit on top of the noodles and go well with the home-made fruity-flavoured chili sauce. “The soup´s delicious,” says Phua. “We add spices and dried orange peel when simmering the stock to draw out the flavour.”
Sisters Curry Laksa, in the newer part of Bandar Puteri Puchong, is open daily from 9am to 9pm. The signboard is in Mandarin only, so look out for the Easy Car Saloon workshop next door.
[New Sunday Times]