After a spate of good meals we had a bad lunch today.
Walked in the blazing heat and was not sure where to go and ended up at 328 Katong Laksa. Spotted a long queue inside the cramped tiny air-conditioned area (there were seats outside too) and decided to just queue since everywhere else was crowded as well.
When you finally got to the front of the queue you’re met with extremely rude and aggressive service which was a real put off. Seems like I’m not alone as reviewers on Tripadvisor felt the same way both about the service and the quality of the laksa. And you’ll notice that the bad reviews are by locals from Singapore like myself. I figure that the good reviews are from people who are trying laksa for the first time so find the coconut taste appealing. (I would probably be just as generous if I tried a totally new cuisine in another country). I was giggling at the comment from Achomo from Miami Beach who said the service reminded him of the Soup Nasi from that Seinfeld episode. But I also feel ashamed and sorry for travellers/tourists who encountered bad service (often rudeness can ruin an experience or trip).
The laksa was tasteless if not for the added chilli. (the only laksa that will satisfy me is the claypot one at Alexandra Village). Big mistake ordering the large $7 bowl of laksa, when there was a $5 version available. But you tend you order the largest available after queuing for ages in a cramped space (well at least there was air-conditioning)
This place is not known for nasi lemak ($1.80) but I actually enjoyed it, perhaps because I haven’t had it in a long time so any form of it will do and I was tired and hungry. And also it reminded me of the simple version we had at the school tuck-shop when we were in primary school with the pleasantly sweet chilli sauce. There was no way to eat the tiny fried fish though with the flimsy plastic spoon, so I ended up wasting it. Luckily we ordered some otak as well to go with the rice. B didn’t like the nasi lemak at all and said he has had much better versions.
This spot is mostly for tourists but we decided to walk here from Katong i12 looking for a better option than queuing at Din Tai Fung or squeezing into an overcrowded Toast Box. Walked past an advert for a briyani that costs S$19.80, so cost-wise what we had was better, but I don’t think we’ll be coming here again if we have a choice. Should have known, as the place was filled with mostly tourists including people from Hong Kong and Japan. I hope they get to discover more authentic laksa rather than this touristy tasteless, overpriced version. I dare say that even the mediocre version at Wang Cafe is better than this one. This is what happens when a brand name gets too popular.
Only after writing this post and reading other reviews did I discover why this particular shop is so popular. They can thank Gordon Ramsey and the hawker challenge where he lost to this establishment.
After reading this blog post by Russell Wong I realise I didn’t have the real katong laksa today. Also when a food place starts to expand through franchising, quality often falls.