1. Expert Food Court, Penrissen Road. This big scale coffee shop has been here for many years and it is still as crowded as before. It is also here that many branches were set up around Kuching to cater for the masses but with different appeal. Many tried to copy their success but failed. The reason, the many food stalls here were selected for their quality and popularity like ‘ta wan kun’ kolo mee, open air rojak and sotong kangkung, ‘suan’ chicken rice, one of the best kueh chap and many more. Be here if you want to sample the best hawker food in Kuching.
2. Top 10 Food Court, Jalan Song. The place is crowded with church goers and none alike. Their common passions here are the famous ‘Teochew’ fish noodle soup. Be prepared to bring out your patience as waiting will be rewarded with good food. The ‘char kueh’ here is also worth mentioning as the fried carrot cake is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The old lady who cooks it takes her time preparing each other at a time unlike the mass cooking by others. She also serves up a chopstick licking good ‘Teochew’ oyster omelet.
3. Causeway Bay, Crown Square Pending. Even though this place is relatively new, it has the reputation of people queuing up for ‘yam cha’ like what you see at a typical Hong Kong dim sum restaurant. Other than dim sum, they do serve typical ‘cha chan teng’ fare like XO fried rice, beef noodle, baked rice, toast and the ever famous ‘ying yong’ tea. One complain bout this place is that they are halal.
1. Food Avenue, Penrissen Road. Just open early this year and has since become a favorite place for people looking for good food under one roof. The place is open 24 hours a day to ensure people don’t go hungry here. They had gathered some of the best hawker food under one roof and they even got an alternative for 3 layered tea which is 3 layered chocolate drink.
2. Hong Kong Noodle House, Padungan and Saberkas. This eatery has been around since I was just a naughty kids running around naked. It used to be the only ultra modern restaurant in Kuching that serves typical Hong Kong fare. Their roasted meat and duck are among the best in Kuching and not forgetting their ever popular salted fish fried rice. A place crowded with office workers as it’s situated at two of the most crowded office area.
3. No.3 Bintawa Hawker Center. Although the place is far and not the usual place that you’ll think of having lunch, it certainly comes highly recommended from people I know. The food is good and it won’t break your piggy bank to have really good meal here. They only open during lunch so tell your boss you gonna take the afternoon off to rest your full stomach.
1. Old Rex Cucur Udang, Nanas Road. Good old place for a good old tea break. They started out at the old Rex Theater selling old fashion prawn cracker, fish balls and all sorts of deep fried stuff. After moving here, they even start selling thirst quenching drinks like ABC, cendol, matterhorn etc. The prawn crackers and fish balls just bring back old memories of my school days.
2. Old temple, Carpenter Street. Another childhood place for many people. The place sells handmade fish ball soup that attracts people as far as UK. The soup is clear loaded with vermicelli, fried and steam stuff tofu, fish balls, prawn balls and meat balls. With a dash of home made chili, you’ll be asking for another bowl. Other favorites here that you can only get from 2 pm til 3.3 pm is their pork satay. They are selling out so fast each day that people call to book a day before they come here. These two combinations make people ignore the heat and stuffy environment inside this place.
3. Song Khen Hai Hawker Centre, Padungan. People come here for their dose of belacan beehoon, sotong kangkung, char kueh, abc and fresh coconut drinks. A unique drink here is the combination of fresh coconut and sugar cane. This potent drink is so refreshing that it can quench any thirst. Beware of where you seat here as the place that you seat determines the boundaries of stall that you can order from.
1. Jalan Song. This place is a congregation of a few coffee shops. From these shops, you’ll be spoilt for choice as there are so many to choose from yet you only have 1 stomach. Along the boulevard, you’ll notice many illegal dvd sellers from China peddling along with the legal ones. It has been nickname China Town here since the place is invaded by the Chinese. A great scene to watch when the illegal run away from the authorities every time they come.
2. Hui Sing Hawker Centre, Hui Sing Garden. With so many stalls to choose from in this small hawker centre, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There’s mix rice, kolo mee, beef noodle, tomato mee/kueh tiaw, kueh chap, char kueh, satay and the list goes on. There’s even interesting drinks like matterhorn, red eye, black widow and apache Indian for you to quench your thirst. There’s only one rule here that you need to know here. Always sit at the section where you can order from other stalls that is not conflicting with where you sit. It’s very territorial here.
3. Top Spot, Taman Kereta. Fancy having your dinner on the roof top and the city lights as your background, then this is the place to be. It’s very popular among the locals and tourists here. The are many stalls to choose from but two of them stand out among the rest. Those two are ABC and Ling Long. Take your pick from their fresh vegetables, see food and poultry and ask them to cook to your likings. Finish your dinner with a fresh coconut and you’ll set for the nite.
1. Open Air Market. Even though this place is called open air market, it is actually enclosed with just a portion giving you the alfresco feel. This place used to be a fire station with only the tall tower serves as a remembrance these days. It’s divided into two sections. One selling traditional Chinese stir fried and porridge that opens in the evening til early in the morning and the other selling snacks such as beef noodle, fried kueh tiaw, seow bee and all sorts of drinks. It opens in the morning til late at nite. The Chinese stir fried serves nice and cheap food and for those who can’t sleep, a bowl of pork porridge will certainly satisfied your sleeping hunger. The snack sections serves favorites such as fried kueh tiaw, sotong kangkong, ice kacang etc. The beef noodles here are so popular that even the IRS comes here purposely to do their evaluation. The seow bee here is another thing that makes people packed the place every night.
2. Pertanak Market. The food stalls are located on the upper floor of this wet market. You can find all sorts of delicacies here ranging from normal fried noodles to the more complicated stuff like steaks. This place is usually frequent by people after clubbing and also those who just can’t sleep. The cool breeze that blows from the river next to it makes this place a nice place to hang out while waiting for the fishermen berth their boats to kick start the wet market.
3. Kuching Waterfront. This place has been a well known tourist destination with its lush green parks and many recreational spots for a nice stroll or jog. By night time, the stretch in front of the Hilton comes alive with the smell of food. The order here are traditional Malay food like satay, nasi lemak and teh tarik. A really nice place to enjoy a meal by the river with the cool breeze and serene scenery along the river.
There are many local snacks in Kuching that many youngsters now have forgotten bout it. For example, the butter bun at Padungan Road. The shop has been selling buns and bread since wasn’t even born yet. Until this day, people will rush to get the fresh hot butter buns around 2 pm in the afternoon. Another place is an old shop selling traditional ‘seow pau’, egg tart, yam puff and curry puff. It’s situated at a small lane next to the police station in town. The smell of the ‘seow pau’ is just too irresistible. Just make sure you get the right shop as there’s two there. The one nearer to India Street is the original stuff. One little secret here, the street is locally know as ‘coffin street’ since the shops there used to sell coffins!