Sherman's Food Adventures: Bo Laksa King's

Bo Laksa King's

*Location is now closed*

Yah I know. I'm a little late to the party. So many bloggers have already had a taste of Bo Laksa King's already. I guess a lil' late is better than never. It's not like I don't drive past the place. In fact, I drive by it all the time. However, it's usually on my way to eating at another destination or it's late at night. And don't even think of me stopping while my son is in the car. He won't eat this stuff! Normally, he'd be annoyed at a speck of pepper in his soup. Let alone all the ingredients in a bowl of laksa! Although I was not hungry at all since I only finished up lunch less than 3 hours prior, I stopped in at the Joyce-Way Food Market for some grub. Wait a minute... What the heck? A food market? Yah, if you haven't heard already, Bo Laksa is located in a small grocery store. It is indeed a small operation that really doesn't look too impressive. For some, this may look way too sketchy; but for me and a whole lot of other people, it doesn't matter. Food comes in all forms, from fine-dining to grocery store dining.

Viv hadn't eaten lunch yet, so I promised to pick her up a few items. I went overboard with the "few items". Looking over the menu, I think I almost covered the spread. I got 2 Roti Canai, 1 Laksa, 3 Chicken Satay, a Lahpet Thoke (Fermented Tea Leaf Salad) and Curry Chicken. While I was waiting, I got a complimentary Burmese Tea. So, other than the wraps, I think that's about it with the menu (excluding delivery items). I took a seat at the only 4 seats that are available. Yah, not a good idea to bring a large group in here. You'd probably end up eating in the aisles right next to some canned meat. The steaming hot tea was quite sweet while at the tail end, there is a litte bit of tea flavour (aromatic and a bit herbal). With my order ready, I got into my car and high-tailed it home (trying not to spill anything). I got home pretty quickly and decided to plate everything. Somehow it just doesn't look as nice in the takeout containers.

As for the Chicken Satay, they were not bad considering the cooking method (an electric griddle). There was nice caramelization in terms of appearance and taste. I wasn't a big fan of the peanut sauce, it was too peanut-buttery for me. The Roti Canai was okay, with flaky layers abound. Viv thought they were a bit too chewy and quite oily. She much prefers the one from Banana Leaf. We both didn't like the curry chicken dipping sauce. It was watery and bland. One dish I was curious about is their Fermented Tea Leaf Salad. Apparently, it is so potent (the amount of tea leaves), that you should not eat it all by yourself. And if you did, eat it with plain rice. Otherwise, you'll make Shaggy look calm. A combination of pickled tea leaves, garlic, broad beans, peanuts, sesame seeds, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and dried shrimp produced a flavour which is quite unique. It's not in your face strong; but you can taste the tea. Depending on what is on your fork, you can get dried shrimp flavour or just merely tea. But the one thing you'll definitely get is a buzz, which Viv found out a bit later. I found this salad interesting; but nothing I'd rush to eat again personally.

Now for the main event, the Laksa! Unlike other places, I could only get vermicelli or yellow noodles, not a mix. No matter, I picked vermicelli. Despite the fact I'm not expert in Laksa, I found this alright; but nothing incredible. By judging the reaction of many other people, it would imply this was the best Laksa ever. However, I think it has something to do with the type of food, venue and different-ness of it all. Don't get me wrong, I thought the Laksa was decent with a good amount of decent ingredients (egg was woefully overcooked though) and a fragrant broth. I would've liked spicier; but again, I'm sure it's to appeal to the masses. Remember that I mentioned that the curry dipping sauce was bland and watery? Imagine a whole order of it... Well, as you can imagine, the Curry Chicken was not good. Sorely lacking flavour and body, this was merely yellow coloured water. Trust me, I really wanted to like Bo Laksa. After all, the dude is a really nice guy and is making an honest living. How can you not want to support that? However, there was nothing that blew me away here. The food was generally okay except for the curry chicken. I guess I was expecting more. For their larger dishes, it is $2.00+ more than Hawker's Delight. Add to the fact that they don't even have proper kitchen equipment and any seating, it can be seen as a bit expensive. Don't flame me here, I didn't dislike the food, I still think people should try it out and see for themselves. Because we all have our personal preferences.

The Good:
- Owner/Operator is a really engaging fellow who cares about his business
- Weird location and interesting food phenomena
- Some unique items

The Bad:
- Too much hype?
- Not as cheap as you might think

Bo Laksa King on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

i wrote this not long ago and will repeat myself again:

1) Open a restaurant in a weird location/setting
2) Make it ethnic (bonus if Japanese)
3) ???
4) Profit!

I completely agree with your thoughts. Had there was no such "hype" surrouding it. And then having Hawker's Delight to compare against...

Anonymous said...

thank you for an honest opinion.

holly said...

Nice, you got a free tea. That's never happened to me before.

Was it your great personality or your camera?

Sherman Chan said...

Yup Kim, the lack of street food has created a thirst for decent eats in strange places. I didn't dislike the food here, it's just not as good as what I thought it would be.

Well, it sometime sucks to be honest, cuz it can be negative, but it is what it is. Thanks.

Holly, I'm not sure. I got the tea before I pulled out my camera. So it's hard to tell!

EnbM said...

Your presentation actually enhances the dishes. If you turn a restaurateur you may have a knack for it :)

Curry is an acquired taste. My British friends will not eat Japanese, Chinese, HK, SEA curries other than Indian curries :D
Good SEA curries are created not based on freshly grounded curry spices alone but also dependent on freshly pounded ginger, blue ginger, seeded chillies, shallots, red onions, etc., and in some dishes adding candlenuts, lemongrass, or even prawn paste. The hardest part is saute them with just enough oil, when all the ingredients are ready. Don't try that at home, if you're selling your house. :D

I tried the grilled cheese sandwich at Burgoo. Guess what They have on their menu Laksa with BOKCHOI.

EnbM said...

Curry chicken with vermicelli is sold as "Curry Behoon" in food courts throughout Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. 7th Heaven @Aberdeen Center serves something similar but calls it "Laksa". What's in a name as long as it taste good and filling.

The original Penang Laksa uses home-made rice noodle similar in texture as "siu ngap lai fan".

Sherman Chan said...

Actually, EnbM, I have tried making curry from scratch at home. Yes, it stunk up the house and didn't have the desired results either. I need more practice... maybe outside on the side burner of my BBQ.

In terms of the Laksa, I like the combination of both noodles like they have at Cafe D'Lite. Not sure if that is authentic or not, but I like it! Yah, it's true, authenticity ain't really important if the food tastes good. That's what I've been trying to preach all along. However, some people just don't seem to agree...

Sherman Chan said...

EnbM... LOL, you're too kind. My plating is quite random. Sometimes, it depends heavily on the food. It's very hard to make Cream of Potato look nice! Hehe...

Anonymous said...

I got a free tea too. The owners are very nice and friendly people. I thought the food was ok, nothing special. It was good to try it once.

Sherman Chan said...

Yup, I figured they were nice. I got the tea before I even snapped any photos! I wish I could've raved about the food; but it was alright. Nothing to get excited about.

Gary said...

I've tried the laksa, curry chicken, one of the beef wraps, and the Burmese tea.

As for the laksa, it was the most flavoured laksa I've had in town. Laksa from any HK Cafe or Hawker's Stand doesn't even come close. You really can taste all the subtle flavours in the broth. Hawker's Delight is good, but it's cheap and a bit bland.

The curry chicken was good, and I found the price to be a bit expensive for the portion size. The beef wrap was fresh and tasty. The Burmese tea was pretty good, loved the aroma.

As for Bo, he's a hardworking dude that's really nice and personable. As for calling the place hype, that's a tough decision since everyone has different tastes. But his popularity is one thing you can't deny.

I was there at noon one day, and he was already fielding calls for dinner delivery for 6PM later in the evening.

Sherman Chan said...

Hi Gary, despite some of my less than flattering comments, I ultimately liked the food. So I totally see what you mean. I guess I went in with unrealistic expectations which is totally not Bo's fault. BTW, he really is a good guy and I wish for him to do well.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Bo's laksa was by far the tastiest I've had in Vancouver (I don't recall liking the one I had at Hawker's Delight years back nor do I like what passes for "laksa" at some HK-cafe-type places). That being said, we tried Bo's laksa once but haven't been back since. Well, I think I would have enjoyed the laksa experience more if the laksa wasn't served to me inside a convenience store. We got free tea too, and I do think Bo's food is good (on my to-do list is ordering delivery from him one of these days). The setting just didn't do it for me. Maybe if the space inside the convenience store were a bit bigger, with room for a couple more tables, and there were a couple more customers in there while we ate. . .

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