The thing with Penang is that it's such a tiny island, foodies usually know eating places by the location and not the actual name, like Esplanade mee sotong, beef noodles opposite the fire station ... so when I heard about Phaik Laksa at Air Itam and popular with high school kids, my immediate thought was that it'd be around the vicinity of Chung Ling High School. So Hubs and I drove up and down that road, peering around for Phaik Laksa. After a couple of rounds, Hubs gave up and just turned on Waze.
It turned out that Phaik Laksa is nowhere close to Chung Ling and Jalan Air Itam extends allllll the way down to the Methodist Boys School *blushes* Parking is tricky because traffic is heavy on both sides of the road and only 2 small cars are able to park inside. Don't let you deter this, Phaik Laksa is truly a gem.
The cafe is sparkling clean plus smoking is banned. A wide range (and also kid-friendly if your little ones are not into spicy food) of dishes are available, ranging from assam laksa to chicken and garlic rice.
I tried the assam laksa, it was pleasant with just the right amount of tang and sweet fish broth. Spring rolls and interestingly enough, prawn crackers (now that's a new one to me) are available if you'd like something crunchy to dip into the spicy soup.
Hub's choice was the hokkien mee which was a hit with the both of us. The soup was fragrant with a balanced blend of pork and prawn.
It went very nicely with the star dish: ai yu bing, a refreshing and mouth watering concoction of jelly strips, lychee, longan topped off with a mound of shaved ice and a twist of fresh lemon. We've been returning a couple of times in the afternoon just for the ai yu bing.
Hubs and Bubs both enjoy the toasted bread that comes in a few toppings: pictured here are peanut butter (left) and kaya butter (right). Hubs also enjoyed the soft boiled eggs.
Although the assam laksa and hokkien mee aren't particular stellar compared to famous stalls (think Balik Pulau and 888 Hokkien Mee), we love the convenience of Phaik Laksa that offers all of Penang's favourites under one roof ... and can I tell you again how rare it is to find a cafe in Penang offering kopitiam prices but bans smoking?
Address: Jalan Air Hitam, 11400, Air Hitam, Penang
Business Hours: 8 am to 6 pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: 6012- 482 3354