2.5 days of food devouring in Kuching

December is not a good time for a holiday in Kuching. It is the wettest month of the year, and food stall owners go for their holiday during this time! I found out, the sad way, that Poh Lam (Chong Choon cafe) and Sin Lian Shin were closed during my time in Kuching. They are both considered “legendary” for serving Laksa and Kolo Mee respectively. While I haven’t sampled their food, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t disappoint, and I suggest you visit them if you’re in Kuching for food.

Of the places i visited, 3 are must tries:

1. Noodles Descendents – hands down the best noodles. They serve the same curly noodles used for Kolo Mee, but the gravy is totally different and unique. It is vinegarish, something quite unexpected at first bite. It immediately grabs your attention and entices you for the second bite, and before you know it, you will down the entire bowl of noodles. Unlike Kolo Mee, the gravy isn’t oily, which really encourages you to have another bowl (believe me you will). The noodles are cooked to perfection – not soggy nor overly crunchy, with care taken to have it served warm. I think nobody minds the slightly long waiting time for the food when it is this good.

As for the soup (called Zheng), it tastes bland initially, but as you dig deeper, you will get to the preserved vegetable that is mixed with the minced meat, and that basically takes over in the flavour department. The soup becomes tasty, but it gets rather salty as well. It is not bad, but not fantastic either. If I were to come here again, I’ll just order one small bowl of the soup, to be shared, and as many bowls of the noodles as I can stomach (likely 3).

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The very first thing that came in contact with my taste buds after landing in Kuching, Teh C. Kuching is very much like Hong Kong, being milk tea drinkers. No offence, but the coffee in Kuching are weak and milky.
The best noodles in Kuching is not Kolo mee
The best noodles in Kuching is not Kolo mee
Zheng. The noodles is good enough to be had on its own but having a bowl of soup to go along does give a slightly extra kick
Zheng. The noodles is good enough to be had on its own but having a bowl of soup to go along does give a slightly extra kick

2. Top Spot – famous seafood place. You probably already know this place that appears in 3 out of the top 10 entries on TripAdvisor. The seating capacity is huge, the service extremely quick, and the taste doesn’t disappoint either. Specifically, i tried the food stall Ling Loong, which gets the lion’s share of the business here, and cannot fault them for anything.

These bamboo clams are uniquely found in Sarawak and an absolute must-order dish. So soft and tasty!
These bamboo clams are uniquely found in Sarawak and an absolute must-order dish. So soft and tasty!
Midin - another Sarawak specialty. It has a unique fragrance.
Midin – another Sarawak specialty. It has a unique fragrance.
Grilling was suggested for a non-spicy way of cooking fish, and it turned out to be an excellent choice.
Grilling was suggested for a non-spicy way of cooking fish, and it turned out to be an excellent choice.
Huge clams in lemongrass soup, very refreshing
Huge clams in lemongrass soup, very refreshing
Cereal prawns, which you can request to be de-shelled. It's good because it's fresh.
Cereal prawns, which you can request to be de-shelled. It’s good because it’s fresh.
The crabs are fairly large
The crabs are fairly large
Very fresh seafood
Very fresh seafood for your pick
Tables are squeezed into the covered areas on a rainy day
Tables are squeezed into the covered areas on a rainy day

3. The Heritage – top notch traditional Chinese restaurant. This was the best food i had in Kuching. It is actually unfair for me to make a comparison, since this is a restaurant whereas the other places i visited are mostly street food places. The Heritage certainly lives up to its name. I took the advice of the other reviewers who suggested booking in advance, and thankfully i did so, as i noticed a sign that says they were full when i arrived at 7pm. The service was more than adequate by Chinese restaurant standard.

Fish maw soup
Fish maw soup
Butter prawns, with nice but not overly buttery taste
Butter prawns, with nice but not overly buttery taste
Soo Chow pork ribs. The pork was not dry, and has a good mix of fatty portions. The sauce is heavenly.
Soo Chow pork ribs. The pork was firm but not dry and has a good mix of fatty portions. Lightly draped with sauce that was heavenly.
Midin again
Midin again
Steamed Tilapia. This was a huge fish. The gravy is rich and savoury, not just a flat soya sauce taste.
Steamed Tilapia. This was a huge fish. The gravy was rich and savoury, not just a flat soya sauce taste.
After the initial 5 dishes, we decided to order sauced duck and chicken. There are just 3 of us adults and 2 kids under 4. The food here is that good. This duck dish is one of their signature dishes and it was really good.
After the initial 5 dishes, we decided to add the spiced duck and crispy chicken as well. There are just 3 of us adults and 2 kids under 4. The food here is that good. The duck is very well marinated and again, the sauce is extremely good.
The crispy chicken is
The crispy chicken is typical of what you get at Chinese restaurants. Skip this one if you don’t have room.

The other place that i think is worth trying is Song Kheng Hai hawker centre. Don’t be put off by the slightly run down state, nor the slightly deserted feeling of the place. The place is actually quite airy and comfortable for enjoying your food.

The claim to fame here is the Coconut Sugarcane drink
The claim to fame here is the Coconut Sugarcane drink. The stall owner was very chatty and explained to us that they use the local skinny type of Sugarcane which contains less juice but is more flavourful.
Belacan Bee Hoon. Too sweet and watery. Not my cup of tea.
Belacan Bee Hoon. Too sweet and watery. Not my cup of tea.
This was the star dish, for me, from Song Kheng Hai hawker centre - Char Kuey, with a very thin crispy layer which is charred to perfection.
This was the star dish, for me, from Song Kheng Hai hawker centre – Char Kuey, with a very thin crispy layer which is charred to perfection.
Pan fried glutinous rice. Very nicely charred.
Pan fried glutinous rice, also from the Char Kuey stall, is also very nice.
The Gong Pia is really good
The Gong Pia is really good
Sio Bee, another Kuching specialty food, is something one must try when in Kuching. Also from the Gong Pia stall
Sio Bee, another Kuching specialty food, is something one must try when in Kuching. Also from the Gong Pia stall
Banana and Yam fritters are not to be missed
Banana and Yam fritters are not to be missed. The flour coating is very evenly applied, to the point that you feel it is part of the Banana or the Yam itself

Premier 101 food centre is a popular dinner destination, with possibly the most number of food stalls in one location.

Kampua
I basically followed recommendations from online sources and ordered this Kampua, which is quite good.
Fried pork (南乳炸肉)
Fried pork (南乳炸肉) from the Tze Char stall of The Best Corner was very succulent and tasty
Another
Another recommended dish – fried mushrooms
Oyster omelette
Oyster omelette with pancake texture. Have you noticed by now the use of very colourful floral plates? Makes your food photos pretty

The Lau Ya Keng temple food court is worth going to for the pork Satay. Carpenter street, along which the food court is located, is the most atmospheric street i have seen in Kuching and you should definitely check it out.

Pork Satay
Pork Satay done right. I like that it is a flat piece of meat rather than round.

The best Kolo Mee i had was from Chong Choon cafe. This was a nice consolation for missing the Laksa from there. I eventually tried Sarawak Laksa from the food court in The Spring mall. Apparently, the Laksa stall is run by Madam Tang’s and it was not bad!

Kolo Mee
Kolo Mee from Chong Choon cafe
Egg-in-toast
Egg-in-toast, with runny egg yolk in the middle. A pity that margarine is applied instead of butter.
3 layered Teh C Ping to wash it down
3 layered Teh C Ping from Chong Choon cafe
Sarawak Laksa is better in my opinion than the coconut laden ones
Madam Tang’s Sarawak Laksa from The Spring Mall’s food court, reminiscent of but different from Indian curry, is nice to slurp down. It is rich but feels less sinful than the coconut cream based Laksa.

 

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