Russel Wong should be presented with a “Most Faithful Customer” award. After all, the lensman has been patronising Roxy Laksa since he was five. Today, 50 years later, he still gets his laksa fix from this popular stall.
Fortunately, the only thing that has changed is its location. Originally situated at Roxy Theatre in Katong (now Roxy Square), the stall moved to East Coast Lagoon Food Village in East Coast Park in 1979. “This is the original Nonya laksa from Katong, a neighbourhood where I grew up. Everyone in Katong knew it,” Wong says, when asked why he keeps going back.
“Everything is made from scratch. The owner also uses sea prawns, which are tastier than farmed ones. The rempah or spice mix is fragrant, and he doesn’t add so much coconut milk as that would overwhelm the taste,” he explains.
Wong tries to visit at least once a month, particularly when he is on his way home from the airport. Unsurprisingly, he has become friends with Roxy Laksa’s chef-owner Michael Lim, who is the grandson of the original hawker. They chat and catch up on each other’s lives when Wong drops in for a bowl of laksa.
His favourite time to go is lunchtime, when the place is less packed, as compared to the dinner crowd. He usually brings his friends along to “introduce them to the real Katong laksa”. Perhaps he should also be considered for the “Best Proponent of Roxy Laksa” award.
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In truth, Russel Wong does not require any introduction. The “celebrity photographer who also photographs celebrities” has shot personalities the likes of Richard Gere, The Black Eyed Peas and Isabella Rossellini. Some portraits have even gone on to be sold at auction house Christie’s. His impressive portfolio also includes photography for the cover of Time magazine.