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Monday, 9 April 2018

Ah Cheng Laksa @ Sunway Velocity

Ah Cheng Laksa, with its origins from a small town (Simpang Empat) in Alor Setar, Kedah, has been in Klang Valley for a while now (since 2003) with many outlets opened in various shopping malls.  They even won the Star People's Food Awards for Best Assam Laksa in 2014.

Even though they've been around for so long, I've never bothered to try until recently when I was looking for a place to eat one late evening.  We drifted into Ah Cheng Laksa @ Sunway Velocity as we wanted something quick...and where we could find seats easily.

Almost everything is self-service here.  You order and pay at the counter...and grab your own condiments. You also have to carry your own drinks.  The only thing they'll deliver to your table is your food.

Of course, having their signature dish of Assam Laksa @ RM12.90 would be the obvious choice here.  This came in a set with a free drink (longan, lemon tea or home soy).  When my bowl of noodles arrived, I wasn't loving what I saw...and that's because of the load of raw vegetables on top.  You see, I prefer they put the vegetables in first and then ladle the hot soup over.

Even though the vegetables of shredded cucumber, onions, lettuce and pineapple can obviously be eaten raw, I don't like raw vegetables with noodles.  I need a hot broth to warm through the vegetables, especially the onions (to take away the sharp taste).

After I mixed the vegetables in and took my first bite, to my horror, the broth was barely lukewarm! >_< Yikes....epic fail!!  Don't they know that the key to a good bowl of assam laksa (or any soup-based noodles) is piping hot broth!  If they can't even get that right, they have no business to be in the noodles business! :P Even if they were winding down for the day (I think it was just before 9 pm), I still deserved to be served a steaming hot bowl of assam laksa.  If not for the reason I just wanted to eat and get home, I would have complained (and demanded) they make me a new bowl...with piping hot broth! >:(

Since their assam laksa paste is made in the central kitchen and sent to all the outlets, that would mean the quality and taste will be controlled.  Flavour-wise, I think it was a decent broth, fairly thick with a justifiable amount of minced fish in it.  Not too sour and mildly spicy, it may not have the punchy flavours some seek.

The texture of the rice noodles (inhouse made, I'm assuming) was good (different from the "lai fun" offered elsewhere).  I don't know why the noodles were cut up for some reason (as in broken into short strands) which I didn't favour as much.

Well, they can't survive on assam laksa alone since some people (men and children especially) don't really like to eat assam laksa, so they offer a few rice dishes like nasi lemak, herbal chicken soup with rice, assam fish rice and curry chicken rice (even butter or black pepper chicken chop rice) to diversify the menu.  This is the Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Set @ RM13.90.

Average tasting nasi lemak is a dime a dozen...and this one was no exception, just like any offered by chain restaurants.  The ayam rendang certainly fared better than the sambal...but the skin wasn't crispy....lol! :P (sorry, I couldn't resist joining in to poke fun at the recent 'Rendangate' controversy). #RendangIsNeverCrispy

They also offer a couple of snacks like chicken lobak, cucur udang, keropok lekor, chai kuih and toast & eggs. Let's see...Penang lobak, I like, but made with chicken, not so much.  Cucur udang, I like, but read that their cucur udang should be called cucur bawang instead! O_o  Keropok lekor, I don't like, so that left chai kuih which I do like.  When I ordered the Chai Kuih (can't remember the price), the picture in the menu showed a sengkuang (jicama)-filled chai kuih, so that was what I thought I'd be getting.

Imagine my surprise when I was given a Chinese chives-filled chai kuih.  I queried the server who said that only the chives ones were left, something the cashier (person who took the order) conveniently forgot to mention.  I do prefer the sweet turnip filling but also don't mind a chives-filled one.  This chai kuih skin was nicely done, thin enough, and filled with lots of chopped chives (and some dried prawns).  I do love garlic chives and have eaten many a tasty chive dumpling or chai kuih but this one tasted so bitter that I only managed to take two bites before giving up! >_<

The free drinks of homemade soya bean that came with the sets.

My Personal Opinion

I don't know how they could get such a fundamental thing wrong...and that is a bowl of laksa should be served hot!  Maybe the workers at this outlet weren't trained properly.  Maybe I was just unlucky.  Maybe my bowl of laksa was left sitting in the pass for too long before being served.  Maybe the worker didn't follow the SOP.  I guess I will never know what exactly happened that day.  P/S: Just the other day, I was having D'Laksa in Aeon (which I think is way better) and the server accidentally added 'har ko' (shrimp paste) into a customer's bowl (when she didn't want it).  The server proceeded to assemble a new one and just threw out the other (I applaud their SOP, not allowing the bowl of laksa to sit at the counter and be compromised in the hope of serving it to another customer).

I'm not sure if had they served me a piping hot bowl of assam laksa, my experience would had been any different as the flavours seemed too mild...or was it because the broth wasn't hot enough?  I expected my taste buds to be 'tortured' (in a good way) when eating assam laksa...both by its spiciness and sourness....and I didn't get either. >_<

I reckon that's pretty much the problem with franchised outlets, some are bound to be better than others. Choose your outlet wisely...kekeke! :P  For me, they blew it with their fundamental mistake and I'm afraid there won't be a revisit for me.

Ah Cheng Laksa
4-42 Sunway Velocity Mall
Lingkaran SV
55100 Kuala Lumpur

14 comments:

  1. I have eaten their laksa several times even though they didn't taste exactly like Penang styled. I agree with you that they placed the raw vegetables on top of their bowls in all the outlets I have visited which seems not right. I would also prefer to eat them piping hot too! My wife disliked their stall and could not understand the reasons I could continue eating.. Ha ha! It is like the Hokkien sayings of "If there is no prawns, then eat fish"....

    So last Saturday we finally sat down at Aeon's food court where there is a highly rated Laksa stall where I often saw customers tapao from 5-10 bowls to eat elsewhere! Blogger Merryn had blogged about how fantastic it was and now we fully agree. My wife has rated it as the BEST in KL!!!

    Again, I really don't trust medias like TV, newspapers, magazines and even viral Facebook! I only trust certain bloggers to this day.

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    1. You must be referring to D'Laksa (which I see your wife loves). I won't go so far as to rate it the best in KL though...hehe! ;) But I certainly think it's much better than Ah Cheng Laksa...at least, the broth is served piping hot! Since you said you like piping hot broth too, does that mean they're not served that way in the other outlets that you tried? P/S: I did put out a post on D'Laksa a few months back...you must have missed it.

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    2. Oh dear...my apologies that I really missed that post and those around that early January. Where was I?????

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    3. Oh, please...no apologies necessary. You must have had a very busy schedule then.

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  2. OMG! How could they serve barely lukewarn asam laksa? That's terrible. I have tried the one at Starling and it was quite decent. In fact I thought their lobak was quite nice in spite of it being chicken. I also liked the chives chai kueh. Like you said, some outlets are better managed than others. One bad experience like this would give the customer the impression that they are all like that >.<

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    Replies
    1. I like chives chai kuih too but this one is terrible compared to the good ones I've eaten. TM & wife seem to like D'Laksa too. Perhaps you can try it to see how it compares to Ah Cheng's the next time you're grocery shopping in Aeon (they have one in 1Utama).

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  3. i'm not sure i've visited ah cheng laksa ... probably not in the last eight or nine years, so maybe before that, but i can't remember. i studied in penang for three years, and one of my minor culinary regrets is that i didn't have asam laksa for the first two years because i knew it was sourish and i don't like sourish stuff - but when i finally had it, i liked it! there's so much dynamics going on in a good bowl of asam laksa beyond the asam-ness :D

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    1. Can't blame you for not wanting to try assam laksa in the first place as most men don't like sourish things (my family included). Glad you finally tried it...and liked it! Well, it's not too late...you still have many more years to enjoy a good bowl of assam laksa...kekeke! ;D

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  4. I think the problem with these places are that they are set up solely as money makers. There's no passion that goes into the food such as that by those who are owner-run kitchens.

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    1. I agree with you 100%....owner/chef restaurants are more passionate about the food they put out. Many franchises are set up with the sole purpose of making money...and the food usually suffers in the end.

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  5. Me too, never visit Ah Cheng Laksa although they have been around for years. But after reading your review, I don't think I will dine in here =.="

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    1. Maybe the outlet you choose might do it better than this one. But then again, you can find better assam laksas at hawker stalls :)

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  6. The rice serve is hard & not fresh. When complain staff don't bother. Never to eat there again

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear, sorry to hear of your unpleasant dining experience.

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