328 Katong Laksa
Lucy “but call me Nancy” Lim, in her 50s, is an accidental hawker who went into selling laksa through her passion for good food and cooking. She started her first stall at the coffee shop at 49 East Coast Road, the epicentre of shops selling the famous Katong laksa. The name “328” was chosen because it sounds auspicious in Cantonese, connoting that the business will prosper.
In 1998, Lim moved the stall across the street to 51 East Coast Road, though her main branch is now at 216 East Coast Road. She now owns five branches, and manages the Katong-based outlets with the help of her son, Ryan Koh, 31.
Her Katong laksa (from $4.50) isn’t made Peranakan style: for starters, Lim is Hokkien, and 328 Laksa’s current offering has been adjusted over the years to accommodate her customers’ tastes. Going by the number of patrons and the long queues, straying from traditional Peranakan recipes do not seem to matter.
The laksa gravy is a seductive concoction of sweet, spicy, and umami flavours. It has a good amount of coconut milk, yet isn’t overly creamy or cloying. If you need it spicier, just stir in additional chilli sambal.
Fresh cockles, prawns, fishcake strips, laksa leaves, and noodles that are snipped for easy eating (scooped up with a soup spoon, if you like) make this non-Peranakan laksa a quick but tasty meal to have. We’re excited that they have plans for further expansion, possibly overseas.
328 Katong Laksa is one of Singapore’s 12 hawker heroes who could be pitted against celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in SingTel’s Hawker Heroes challenge.
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