Kuching, ‘City of Unity’, is home to some of Sarawak’s most iconic eats. We took the liberty to put together a list of must-have foods when you’re in the State capital.
A quintessential breakfast item in Kuching, the typical kolo mee contains slices of char siew pork and minced pork. The Halal version has chicken instead of pork. There is also another version called mee sapi or beef noodles. A must-have foods.
Where to find: Annie Kolo Mee at Fook Seng Café on Jalan Padungan [3rd shop from the Chinese arch near the white cat statue] / Ah Chong Kolo Mee at Hui Sing Hawker Centre / Geylang Café at Sekama / (Halal) Mohammad Lim @ Ting’s Café behind Tune Hotel / Ah Yen Cafe @ Soho, Jalan Wan Alwi.
New York celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain calls it ‘Breakfast of the gods’. He loves it so much that he decided to include the dish in his food market venture in New York. Rice vermicelli is blanched and topped with shredded chicken, prawns, egg and bean sprouts. A heavenly coconut broth is poured over and sambal is served on the side.
Where to find: Dong Guan Café at 3rd Mile Central Park Commercial Centre / Chong Choon Café on Abell Road / Golden Arch Café just right off 3rd Mile roundabout / Sin Choon Choon at Green Heights / (Halal) T-not at Jalan Patinggan / Alfred Laksa at The House Café next to CMS Building.
This one’s an acquired taste, but it doesn’t take long for one to fall in love with it. Tomato Mee is simply crispy deep fried kolo mee noodles smothered in sizzling hot tomato-based sauce. Finding one that is decent may by tricky. But fret not; we have some suggestions for you a must-have Kuching foods.
Where to find: Stall No. 3 at the Kenyalang Hawker Centre / Stall No. 4 & No. 16 at Hui Sing Hawker Centre / (Halal) WOL at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak.
Belacan Bee Hoon
If you’re a belacan (fermented shrimp paste) fan, then belacan bee hoon ought to be right up your alley. Sweet, tangy and savoury with strong belacan taste, it consists bee hoon (rice vermicelli), belacan sauce and cuttlefish, maybe cucumber or bean sprouts as well. If that floats your boat, then by all means give it a go.
Where to find: Song Kheng Hai Food and Recreation Centre in Padungan / Ah Keng Belacan Bee Hoon at Jubilee Ground food court / Old Rex Café at Rubber Road / Swee Kang at Jalan Haji Taha.
Kek Lapis Sarawak
Kek lapis or layered cake isn’t originally from Sarawak. But the locals have managed to reinvent the cake and come up with versions unique to Sarawak, hence Kek Lapis Sarawak and a must-have Kuching foods. Today, the famous Sarawak delicacy comes in a wide range of flavours and some even come in patterns of stunning beauty and intricacy.
Where to find: Rabiah Amit Cakehouse at Plaza Astana / Mira Cake House (Kpg Boyan, Kpg. Gersik, Jln Hj Taha, Desa Ilmu).
3-Layered Teh C Peng
Another Kuching creation, the 3-Layered Teh C Peng consists palm sugar syrup or gula apong, milk and tea. Although now you can also find this drink in West Malaysia, nothing quite compares to the original one in 7th Mile, Kuching.
Where to find: Almost everywhere in Kuching, but the original one can be found at Fresh Food Court in 7th Mile.
One can’t come to Kuching and not try kueh chap. It is basically flat rice flour squares in a fragrant dark coloured herbal mixed pork soup. A spicy tangy chilli sambal completes the dish. Try it and you’ll see why many Kuchingites are kueh chap addicts.
Where to find: 3rd Mile Market hawker centre / Lao Ya Keng at Carpenter Street / Stall No. 45 at Kenyalang Hawker Centre / Woon Lam Cafe at Song Thian Cheok Road / at Seng Yuen Food Centre at Foochow Road No.1.
Where drinks are concerned, it doesn’t get any more Kuching than White Lady. Well-loved for its rich, sweet, tropical flavours with a refreshing hint of citrus, this delicious beverage is perfect for when the weather gets hot. And it doesn’t cost a bomb!
Where to find: Many places in Kuching offer this, but Swee Kang Ais Kacang on Jalan Haji Taha and Satok serves arguably the best one there is.