The dilemma is: two asam pedas restaurants on the same street. Both shops face each other. The other one (Asam Pedas Pokok Besar) is well known among locals, but this one has the bigger signboards. And more lights. And wifi. And it showed up on Google. Which does not always mean better quality, as we discovered.
I had the asam pedas tenggiri set. Having been raised on asam pedas by my mum, who is from Muar, I was disappointed. Asam pedas should be what its name says it is: sour and spicy, with a hint of daun kesum. Here, it is mostly salty and the gravy is too thick for my liking.
So, we decided to give the other restaurant (Pokok Besar) a try too. Turns out that Pokok Besar is the real deal - it smells right, it looks right, and it also tastes right. Sour, spicy and with a good dose of belacan (shrimp paste). Although our order took some time to arrive, this may be because each serving is cooked individually (or at least, time is needed to cook the fish in a pre-cooked asam pedas).
Although Pokok Besar seems to have fewer customers, we noticed that they tend to be locals, and we saw one buying asam pedas in bulk to take away. Asam Pedas Kota Laksamana appeals to the younger crowd and out-of-towners, but it doesn't deliver on taste.
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