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Prahran’ Laksa Bar takes its peerless offering out into Melbourne’s suburbs, building on the success of its CBD counterpart. The menu is once again grounded in the famous Asian noodle soup, available in an incredible number of variations that use ingredients sourced according to the seasons. Other Southeast Asian delicacies are also on the cards down Chapel Street but for most it’s the restaurant’s eponymous dish that gets them to their tables. A local favourite and an overspill for the popular city outpost, Laksa Bar is a busy spot that works best with a booking.
If you thought laksa was simply that coconutty soup from, like, Bali or something, you’re dead wrong. Laksa Bar is Melbourne’s authority when it comes to the Peranakan classic, with more types and kinds than you can shake a pandan leaf at. The simplest Laksa Bar laksa down here in Prahran is the house curry laksa or the milder white laksa for those who can’t stand the spice (what are you doing here?). Peranakan cuisine straddles several national borders, so it's entirely possible to head to Thailand with the tom yum laksa, travel up to north India with the Assam-style laksa before descending once again to the Straits for a traditional nyonya laksa. You can stay close to the spiritual home of the soup but go regionally-specific with a laksa of the type enjoyed in eastern Malaysia, or hop across the water for a Johor laksa. You can even flake out and order the skinny kampong laksa – a lite version for the coconut shy.
Already professorial in the field of laksa when it comes to Asian culinary studies, Laksa Bar also lets Prahran diners stretch their limbs with a number of non-soupy and authentic Peranakan, Malaysian, and Indonesian dishes. Two kinds of sambal chilli paste – regular and red – can be combined with either chicken, fried fish, beef rendang, vegetarian or seafood for a spicy or less-spicy plate of nasi lemak. Or opt for one of Laksa Bar’s wok specialties – char kuay teow, char mee, mee goreng mamak, laksa mee goreng and the nasi lemak goreng Pattaya. Can’t cram in all this new culinary info? Head to Laksa Bar down Chapel Street and get yourself an education.