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