Frigid temperatures call for noodle soup. One of my favorite warmups is a bowl of Malaysian kari laksa, which is how I found myself at PappaRich in Flushing the other day.
With its vast full color menu and decor featuring Edison bulbs and plenty of blonde wood the restaurant on the top floor of the One Fulton Square retail complex calls to mind a Malaysian Cheesecake Factory, with one major exception, the food is actually pretty good.
I was torn between the assam laksa and the kari laksa and then I saw the lobster kari laksa ($23.90), which the menu notes comes “without head and tail.” I decided to try this luxury take on the spicy coconut curry soup.
To my surprise the bowl of fiery coconut broth contained both the crustacean’s head and tail. I exercised the option of having both rice noodles and springy yellow wheat noodles which made for great slurping between sips of the spicy broth. The twin batons of crunchy fried dough were also a nice touch.
Gloves and a nutcracker are provided for wrangling the lobster, but I ate it barehanded like a barbarian that had just come in from the cold tundra. As far I can tell it was cooked separately from the soup. If only scoops of pearly white lobster fat had been infused into the broth, but one can only expect so much of a chain restaurant.
There are no doubt fresher, sweeter lobsters to be had in downtown Flushing, but as I got up to wash my curry stained hands, I couldn’t help but think that this was the best possible lobster laksa I could have eaten on that frigid winter day. One thing’s for sure at about one-third the price of PappaRich’s overly sweet chili crab, it’s well worth the price.
PappaRich, One Fulton Square, 39-16 Prince St, Flushing, 718-888-9307