For the love of laksa (Evening Standard)

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Trends & Features

The founder of Malaysian street food enterprise Sambal Shiok, Mandy Yin, talks to Victoria Stewart about growing up on this soul-nourishing dish (Pic: Clerkenwell Boy)

After being introduced to laksa in Singapore by a friend who grew up eating it there, I’ve since realised that there is something inherently satisfying about a bowl of it, with its coconut creaminess, richness, and a spicy punch that makes one reach for the nearest tissue. It clears my head and lifts my sprits. It’s good for the soul – or at least what’s left of my Christmas hangover.

If you’ve never had laksa, it’s a smashing dish often involving a spicy broth, rice noodles, coconut, lots of lemongrass, and some fish or meat. Last week I ate it twice, and it left me wanting more. But just what is it that makes laksa so good?

Mandy Yin is a Londoner who spent her childhood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before moving here with her family and becoming a corporate lawyer. After quitting law, Yin set up her Malsysian street food business Sambal Shiok, and it is under this banner that she recently signed up to a two-week-long takeover of the Finsbury Park branch of the restaurant Salvation In Noodles. There is one more week to go, and laksa occupies one third of the menu there, the other parts being Nasi lemak and snacking dishes – other Malaysian specialities that Yin has put her own spin on.

Full article appeared in The Evening Standard in January 2016.