The first thought we all had when we first arrived at Kuching around 8pm was FOOD, FOOD, FOOD.

I did a little bit of research prior to the trip and the most ideal makan place to hop into on our arrival night was Top Spot Food Court.

Top Spot Food Court — Top Spot is basically a hawker centre that sells mostly seafood, tzi char style. Rather bizarrely located on a roof top of a 5 storey car park right in the smack of the city centre, this place really buzzes! Picture below was taken at 9pm and guess what? Locals (mainly Malay community) were still trickling in! Finding a vacant table was tough. We did a few rounds before we could finally pace the growling stomachs, or so we thought.

The most popular stall gotta be stall number 25, which was the stall we went to — was recommended.

The queue was horridly long. So if you plan to go there to eat, be prepared to queue. What we wasn’t prepared for was the wait for our food. 45 minutes passed by, and still no food in sight. Pity my ears — endless complains of ‘we are starving, mommy!‘! Sigh. When i couldn’t take it anymore, i got up and walked over to check for our food and guess what? I was told the normal waiting time is usually an hour or longer, even during such ungodly hour. OMFG!

Seriously, if i had known earlier, i wouldn’t have bothered to go.

Naturally i thought the food would be quite something given the long queue and the long wait. Unfortunately, it was not. The food was really overrated as a few reviewers had pointed out. True, i was dazzled with the array of seafood displayed, the buzz and the colourful neon lights. But, that was it.

As many aptly put it, Top Spot Food Court is just a tourist trap, given its close proximity to the river promenade and star-studded hotels.

Top Spot Food Court
Jalan Padungan,
Kuching, Sarawak,
Malaysia.

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Kueh Chap — Teochew dish of flat, broad rice sheets in a soup made with dark soy sauce, served with pig offal, braised duck meat, various kinds of beancurd, preserved salted vegetables, and braised hard-boiled eggs, surprisingly can be found in Kuching as well!

Pardon the disgusting half-eaten Kueh Chap below because i was too engrossed with the soup when it was first served. :P

Anyway, kueh chap in Kuching and kway chap in Singapore, they may look pretty much the same but they aren’t. The ‘black soy’ gravy or soup in Kuching’s version tasted much better. Almost like KL’s herbal bak kut teh soup if you ask me.

ps : we had our kueh chap in one of the coffee shops along Jalan Padungan

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Song Kheng Hai Food Court — also located at Jalan Padungan. Basically, it has quite a number of local makan-makan that one can try under one roof.

From what i spied, there was belacan beehoon, which i regretted not ordering, you yu ong cai (loosely translated as cuttlefish kangkung) and many more.

What we ordered :

1 – Fried Kong Pia with gooey, sticky bak chor (minced meat) which is similar to char siu. They’ve got other fillings as well, namely cheese and turkey etc. As for the bread, it reminds me of bagel. Rather chewy!

RM0.80 per piece, which is rather pricey for a small piece of bite-size snack like that. But no regret in trying! ;)

2 – Cendol.

When i first saw this bowl of cendol, i was practically transported back to my childhood. This is how my childhood cendol looked like! Nothing fanciful like what we find in the food stalls these days.

What struck me most as i took in spoons of this was the green jelly. It was not matte as you can tell. Almost translucent if you will. Springy and chewy, what a refreshing change!

3 – Rojak.

Rojak here is LOVE! A must order if you like rojak. The tau pok (fried bean curd) was freshly grilled and the rojak sauce was tad awesome! No picture unfortunately but then, rojak looks almost the same everywhere isn’t it? Heh.

Song Kheng Hai Food Court

Lorong 15
off Jln Padungan
Kuching, Sarawak

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Open Air Market — located not too far away from the river promenade. As a helpful local told me, if you care about hygiene, skip this place, which i gotta agree. The smell from the longkang / drain nearby can be quite a turn off.

We ordered 6 dishes but i was bothered to just snap 2 of it.

One of it being the famous Kuching oyster omelet, which cannot be found anywhere!

Check it out ;)

Ignore the puny, over fried oysters. Haha!

I mean, usually, oysters are the highlight right? But apparently, in this case, nope. The spotlight on this egg dish gotta be the keropok-like egg. Not as crunchy and crispy as keropok of course but it’d do. I know i dig it and so does the boys!

As for the oysters, errrmm.. just chuck it aside if you don’t fancy it. :P

Before we left for Kuching, the gf repeatedly reminded me to eat this — Big head prawns. She said it was a must and so we did. True to her words, the prawns were good! We really enjoyed it. So it was a little too salty for our liking. And so parts of the prawns were still raw. But, it was still the best dish amongst the rest that we had.

Succulent and sweet. The ginormous prawns are a must if you are in Kuching. It’s available everywhere at all seafood restaurants and stalls.

Oh, another of my favourite gotta be sambal midin belacan.

This fern belongs in the wild. In fact, we were stopped next to the roadside and got pointed to where this fern was grown. Had we wanted, we could have just pluck a kg or so and lug it home. Heh. Between sambal kangkung belacan and sambal midin belacan, i’d pick midin anytime! Midin is crunchy fantabulous! Fyi, this mirin is uniquely Sarawak for you cannot find it anywhere else.

For more read up, see this site.

pic courtesy of Sarikei

Open Air Market

Near Jalan Gambier,
Kuching, Sarawak

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Green Hill Corner – a coffee shop tucked at the corner of Jalan Green Hill. You can’t miss it for sure. All you need to look out for is a corner shop green in colour!

So what’s so special about this coffee shop?

Let’s just say, i regretted discovering this gem on our last day in Kuching! Grrrr. Do go early, because i heard that by noon, everything will sold out. Green Hill Corner sells : kolo mee, laksa Sarawak, Malay food (which looks absolutely droolicious), fried kway teow, porridge, beef noodle, chicken rice etc!

We ordered

1 – Laksa Sarawak

To be honest, i didn’t expect the laksa to taste so vastly different from the laksa that i’ve been eating.

But then, judging from its colour, i should have expected it. The laksa in Kuching is rather mild, and so not spicy. The first thought that flashed across the mind when i took in my first spoonful was, eeekkkkkkkk.. curry powder! Lotsa it!

But as i ate, the taste slowly grew on me. By the time i finished it, i wanted another bowl! Lol!

If they sell this in Singapore, you can be sure that i’d be there to queue for it. ;)

Green Hill Corner

10 & 11, Jalan Green Hill,
Kuching, Sarawak.

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Other good recommendation that i missed out :

1. See Good Restaurant — renovating.

2. Choon Hui Cafe, Jalan Ban Hock — was closed when i went, so i believe the shop closes every Monday.

** For Kolo Mee, check out this post.

So, there were no leeches. PHEW!

Of course, i was jesting about the lions and tigers too. These wild cats cannot be found in Borneo fyi.

But kucing the cat?

APLENTY!

Kuching isn’t called Kuching for nothing after all. There’s even Cat Museum at the suburb!

Our short 5 days’ itinerary :


Day 1 – Arrived in the late evening.

Day 2 – Bako National Park.

Day 3 : Bako National Park.

Day 4 : Annah Rais Longhouse & Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Day 5 : Departed early in the morning.

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Will i recommend Kuching to anyone?

I’d say, why not?

To be honest, the town is rather boring. Apart from eating, there’s nothing much to do. But hey, what is holiday for? We are supposed to slow down and smell the flowers, aren’t we?

Kuching reminds me of West Malaysia 25 years ago. Today, even if you were to visit Penang or Ipoh, you might not be able to find whatever you’ve found or felt in Kuching. Penang and Ipoh, heck, even Kota Kinabalu in Sabah do not match Kuching in terms of kampong feel. Kuching is a league of her own — raw, uncommercialized and tourists are almost non-existent!

If you are, however, someone who are not enamoured by mother nature and laid-back lifestyle, please.. do skip Kuching.

The main reason why i brought my brood to Sarawak is because living in Singapore, they have taken many things for granted. They have no idea what some lives are like for many other young children and adults too, for that matter. They often whine and complain of the food they eat — yes, they do, especially when they don’t get the food they’ve requested from me, the toys that i refuse to buy, the amount of homework they have to complete and the chores which i sometimes made them do despite the fact that we’ve a live-in helper.

Does it work?

I would like to think so, for now that is.

Because i did threaten them that the next time i hear another complain, i’d fly them there myself and leave them behind. Yes, i’m really quite a meanie mother like that. I have zero tolerance for spoilt brats.

Another reason i brought them to Sarawak is to experience the wonders of mother nature at Bako National Park. Like me, the boys enjoy trekking in jungle quite a bit. With our knowledgeable guide, this trip was exceptionally educational, to boy1 especially. Everything that he had learned during his Science lessons for the past 6 months was put to test — Living things and non living things and their characteristics, plants’ systems, grouping and classifications.

As for the younger 2 boys, it was just fun, fun and more fun especially with the wild boars and macaques. More on Bako National Park and its geli bed bugs + matresses later!

psssttt : but if given a choice, methinks the boys would rather just stay in at the hotel all day and all night long! *sigh* city boys (old and wrinkly boy included!). tsk.

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