RAWR! MEOW! 😀
Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, prides itself on good local food. Trust us, ask any Kuching-ite about their food and just observe their reactions. Still not buying it?
Happened to stumble upon this ‘You Know You Are A True Kuchingnite‘ blog post. Just let us gNOMes convince you through the 5 main points below extracted from the blog :
1. Your most important decision in the morning is to decide which coffee shop/food court to have breakfast
2. You eat 3 times a day, 7 days a week
3. You have at least 5 favourite Laksa stalls, 7 Kolo Mee stalls, 2 Kueh Chap stalls and 1 Beef Noodle Stall.
4. You go nuts if you don’t get your Kolo Mee or Laksa fix at least 5 times a week
5. You have at least 150 relatives or friends who operate food courts or coffee shops.
A little bit dramatic it seems, but that is just how much they love their food 😉 As food gNOMes, paying a visit to the land once governed by James Brooke is a pilgrimage of some sorts!
So here’s our very first ‘gNOMes Guide To Pigging Out in Kuching, Sarawak!’. Ta-da!
#1. Sarawak Laksa
One of a kind and recently featured on Masterchef Australia. Unlike the Peninsular laksa, Sarawak Laksa has the base of sambal belachan, tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk, garnished with omelette and chicken strips, coriander, freshly peeled prawns and lime. Typically, the bihun (vermicelli noodles) used is thicker and slightly rougher than the noodles one may find in Peninsular.
A bowl of good Sarawak Laksa at Sin Choong Choon Cafe (RM5) for breakfast is sure to satisfy ones’ cravings. The laksa soup was thick and flavourful, prawns oh so fresh, squeeze a lime or two to guarantee an even flavourful soup base with a tinge of sourness.
Come early, as the place gets uber crowded pass 9am. Locals throng this place for a bowl of laksa goodness. YUMS! Nothing short of awesome!
How to get there : Green Heights Commercial Centre, Jalan Dato Bandar Mustapha, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak
Another place where the locals also throng to is the famous Golden Arch Sarawak Laksa.
Locals are spoilt for choices and whichever suits your taste buds best, wins. A small bowl of Golden Arch Sarawak Laksa is priced at RM 4.
Comparing to the one at Sin Chong Choon, the laksa soup base here is slightly oiler, but the oil is what provides its signature fragrance, adding oh-so-rich flavor to the dish. The down side of this laksa is that it leaves a layer of oil on one’s lips after a mouthful. Nevertheless, still just as good.
How to get there : Golden Arch Shopping Mall, Jalan Tun Ahman Zaidi Adruce, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak.
Do come early! Both gNOMes were there by 8.45am and the shop was filled to the brim.
Located at the entrance of the shop, Poh Lam Sarawak Laksa isn’t all that hard to spot.
At RM5 per bowl, this laksa is truly delicious. Slightly darker in color, yet the soup retains its signature sarawak laksa taste. Prawns are huge and very fresh, though most of its sweetness have been absorbed into the soup, making the prawns taste rather bland. But still SO YUMMY!
How to get there : Lot 121, Section 3, Abell Road, 93100 Kuching
#2. Red Kolo Mee
Another delicacy one can only find in the land of Sarawak. Flash boiled springy noodles drenched in pork lard, served with fried shallots, caramelized pork (char siew) and delightfully minced pork.
A rather simple dish, but enough to get the locals and tourists go ga-ga over it. Quoting a colleague of gNOMe 2 during her internship days “I need Kolo Mee for lunch! No kolo mee, hands will tremble, can’t work!”. Such, is the spell of a bowl of noodles.
But really, the secret of this dish lies in the pork lard. Try substituting it with olive oil or the likes would just make this bowl of noodles lose out on its flavouring. Do try not to consume Kolo Mee daily, lest you want your arteries to narrow faster than they should.
Head over to the 3rd Mile Wet Market to satisfy your cravings.
One of the best ‘red‘ Kolo Mee that the gNOMes have ever laid upon their tongues. Only RM3 per bowl and drenched in pork lard, le stomach and even le arteries are sure to applaud this choice. The ‘redness‘ is thanks to the caramelized pork oil, making ‘red‘ kolo mee slightly sweeter than the usual kolo mee. But this bowl of noodles is indeed a delight.
How to get there : Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak
Another place to go for Red Kolo Mee would be the Kuching Open Air Market. This place opens from lunch till supper, and usually sells out by 11pm.
Locals head to this place at night to keep their tummy from grumbling, and heading home smiling.
Both gNOMes tried the Red Kolo Mee here, but it was just rather so-so and decided the one at 3rd Mile Night Market is the ultimate winner. Slightly on the sweeter side as compared to the one at 3rd Mile Wet Market, but not as oily.
How to get there : Kuching Open Air Market, Jalan Khoo Hun Yeang, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak
#3. Noodle Descendents
Founded in 1957, this noodle shop was once known as Bishop Gate Noodles, now re-branded as the Noodle Descendents. Just 3 tips for you gNOMers.
- If you are in Kuching, please, include this stop in your itinerary
- Kuchingnites are morning people, and they get up VERY EARLY. So you may want to wake up early to secure a table here for breakfast (the early bird catches the worm eh? 😉) Or head over after 2pm.
- Typical waiting time for a table is 30 minutes, typical waiting time for food is 1 hour. So if one wants to try this, prepare 2 hours buffer time in your schedule (kill time by playing chor dai di! :P)
This lady single-handedly cooks all the noodles and the soup for a hearty meal.
Usually patrons will go for the noodles, but one may opt for rice as well. Noodles are home made, cooked al dante prior to serving, garnished with fried onions. Noodles taste slightly salty, that’s to complement the rather sourish soup.
The soup with porky ingredients. Intestines, ears, tongues, liver, belly, minced meat and fish balls are all cooked together and served. All these ingredients are cooked with preserved vegetables and garnished with fried onions. The salty noodles coupled with the sourish soup makes up for a very, hearty and palatable meal. Even though the waiting time is long, when the food comes you will know that it has been worth the wait. 🙂 One of the highlights for the trip for sure.
How to get there : Lot 18, Ground Floor, Padungan Road, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak.
#4. Sio Bee
Sio Bee, or the rather familiar Siu Mai is also another Kuching pride. To be honest, it is not too different from what we know as Siu Mai here. Sio Bee is wrapped pork stuffings whereas Siu Mai on the other hand is wrapped pork and shrimp stuffings. Both are steamed and served with chilli sauce.
One can head over to the Kuching Open Air Market for the famous Sio Bee.
Both gNOMEs think that there’s nothing to shout about, the Sio Bee tastes just as good as the Siu Mais in the peninsular.
How to get there : Kuching Open Air Market, Jalan Khoo Hun Yeang, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak
#5. White Lady
A must eat. Only available in Sarawak, White Lady is typically shaved iced with fruits (pineapple, watermelon, longan) with evaporated milk and a slice of lime for that tangy taste.
So how does one differentiate between good & bad White Lady? It usually boils down to the amount of evaporated milk used, and the texture of the shaved ice.
Both gNOMEs prefers their White Lady to have fine shaved ice with generous amount of evaporated milk. A bowl of White Lady (RM2) at Song Kheng Hai is indeed refreshing on a hot and sunny day! Just the right amount of evaporated milk with that tangy taste and sweetness. Would beg for a bowl now! 😀
How to get there : Lorong 15, Off Jalan Padungan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak (just behind Noodle Descendents)
White Lady can generally be found almost every nook and cranny in Kuching, another favourite local hot spot would be at the Hui Sing Hawker Centre.
Head over to stall 21, Ah Meng Cafe for a bowl of White Lady for your pleasure.
Ah Meng’s White Lady has slightly coarser ice, which may be enticing to some with its stronger tangy tinge but rather not that appealing for the gNOMes. Not a favourite, both gNOMes prefer the one at Song Kheng Hai Market instead.
How to get there : 169-177, Lorong Taman Hui Sing 3, Taman Hui Sing, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak.
#6. Teh C Peng Special (3 Layer Tea)
A thirst quenching concoction of tea, gula melaka and evaporated milk. Some has even gone to the extent of adding pandan leaf extract for the fragrance and sweetness. The Teh C Peng Special no longer needs an introduction. Sure, you may find Teh C Peng Special in Peninsular, but only the best can be found in Sarawak.
All your regular coffee shops sell this, ranging from RM2 to RM3 per cup.
Best Teh C Peng Special in Kuching? Well, it all boils down to one’s taste buds. Heavier on the tea or you prefer it to be more milky? Your say 😉
The gNOMes’ verdict? Both are equally enjoyable!
So this calls for a wrap! *Phew! Part 2 will follow in due course. *hurries away and packs bag bound for Seoul! 😀