Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BEST OF part 2

Second part of my trilogy. In a far far away land called Kuching, there’s abundance of gastronomic places to satisfy the hungry souls of the feline residence there. From the many watery and food holes in this land, a few stands out from the rest as they are unique and interesting. Although they are different from the rest, they are not outcast like the others. In fact, they are among the best out there that the feline residents here loved. Presenting here are those chosen according to their respective time of the day.


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.

Tea Break:

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!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BEST OF part 1

At last my masterpiece is OUT! I’ve been doing research and even put my health at risks in order to come up with this masterpiece. My masterpiece is entitled “Best Of”. Since starting doing my research for this culinary adventure, I had gained so many pounds until I can’t recognize the person looking at me in the mirror. These all for the sake of bringing out the best of Kuching’s delights. Here are my findings based on trials and lots of sweating.

Best Sarawak Laksa (The King of Breakfast)

1. Chong Choon Cafe, Abell Road. How can I describe the taste, one word, delicious! That’s how people will tell you when you ask them why they come here early in the morning and have to endure the staring eyes of people standing next to your table hoping you’ll finished soon so they can take you seat. They even got a branch now at Green Heights coffee shop but nothing can compare to the stuffy and crowded feeling of an old ‘kopitiam’.

2. Choon Yen, Bank Hock Road. Used to be the ultimate Laksa place in Kuching but losing out its steam lately. People still crowd this place in the early morning and the Laksa usually sold out by 10 am. Still known as the birthplace of Laksa eating in Kuching.

3. Madam Tang, Pertanak. The new and hip place for Laksa in Kuching. If you want comfortable and smiling services, this is the place to have your Laksa. Their soup is thicker than the usual fare and if you fancy prawns the size of your palm in your Laksa, this is the place. If you can’t get your fix of Laksa from the two places above, don’t fret cos Madam Tang opens til late. A new branch has opened up at Stutong to cater for people around that area.

Best Kolo Mee (The Queen of Breakfast)

1. Ta Wan Kung. Come here in the morning and you’ll know why people come from as far as Hong Kong to get their taste of Kuching. The smell of lard and fried onions will make your mouth salivates even before you sit down. This family business has been passed down by their father since he first started at the old Rex Theater. The younger brother got his own stall at Expert Food Court at Penrissen Road. Never trust halal version of Kolo Mee as they don’t come even close to those with heavy dose of the fragrant lards!

2. Oriental Park, behind the old Capitol Cinema. Family business since my grandparents time and they are the very few that roast their BBQ pork using the same old method. Just sit back and enjoy your bowl of Kolo Mee while watching the BBQ pork being roasted by the side over hot charcoal.

3. Batu Kawa old town, next to the roundabout. Even though Batu Kawa old town is 30 minutes drive from Kuching, people still come here as early as 7 am for their famous ‘Bak Ong Mee’. It’s an alternative version of ‘Kolo Mee’ with the additional fish balls, fish meats, pork strips, pork rolls and other meaty stuff. Make sure to bring your patience here since the waiting time is from 30 minutes to 1 hour for your food to be served. Be here early too since everything will be sold out by 10 in the morning.

Best Chicken Rice

1. Hock King, Bank Hock Road. The art towards a good plate of chicken rice lies on three principle. First one is tender and juicy chicken meat that literally melts in your mouth. Secondly, fragrant rice that is soft and yet full of rich texture of the chicken stock, butter and ginger combination. Lastly, the ever fragrant and spicy chili with garlic not forgetting the belacan combination. All these three are mastered by the people behind Hock King and the crowd during lunch time is the evidence of how good they are. If you can’t find a seat here, fret not. They just opened up a branch inside the Food Bazaar at tHe Spring.

2. Good Thumb Food Centre, Dogan Road, Batu Kawa. This place used to be called Big Mouth. But then the popular chicken rice stall there had a dispute with the landlord, so they moved next door and calls themselves Good Thumb. There’s rumor that the lady owner has a very good chopping skills not only on chicken meat but…… Regardless of what they're called, the chicken rice there is still hands down the best of the best in Kuching.

3. Fang Yuan, behind Hock Lee Centre. This place is known as ‘chow kei pern’ (smelly chicken rice) because of their origins. They used to be selling chicken rice at the shop near to the wet market at Main Bazaar and the smell of the rotten meat and vegetables there made their chicken rice smells even better! After they move to their current place, they even started serving at lunch time opposed to their nite only chicken rice last time. They are the only few chicken rice seller that serves up a good nutritious soup.

Best Belacan Beehoon

1. Padungan Belacan Beehoon at Song Kheng Hai Food Court, Jalan Padungan. This stall at Song Kheng Hai serves pretty mean Sotong Kangkung as well. Belacan Beehoon is one of Sarawak’s most legendary delicacies, although it can't reach Sarawak Laksa in terms of popularity. The process of making the gravy is very tedious hence it is not so easy to find Belacan Beehoon in Kuching and also because not a lot of people can stand its pungent smell.

2. Summer Pavilion, Museum garden. This place still serves Belacan Beehoon like in the olden days. My parents used to come here a lot when they were courting. Sitting there sipping a bowl of ‘Ice Kacang’ with Belacan Beehoon while watching the greeneries just calms down a stressed day.

Best Tomato Mee/Kueh Tiaw

1. ‘Se Xio’ at Hui Sing Garden hawker centre. Tomato Kueh Teow or Mee are distinctively Kuching. You can’t find it anywhere else other than Kuching. Some people mistaken it for fried noodles with tomato sauce hence the many failures in West Malaysian imitation. It is actually fried crispy noodle or stir fried kueh tiaw with tomato gravy just like what Italians spaghetti to them. The gravy must be cooked to perfection with many condiments and poured over the noodles. It would taste better if the kueh tiaw is slightly burnt to gives it a kick. Other than the usual style, this stall also serves normal fried kueh tiaw with tomato gravy poured on top.

2. Hap Hap Hin at Kenyalang Market. You can get Tomato Kueh Teow almost everywhere in Kuching, but only this stall does it to perfection. Come early, because they are so popular, they sometimes sold out before noon time.

Best Kueh Chap

1. Expert Food Court, Penrissen Road. We call it Kueh Chap. Other people call it "The Pig's Spare Parts Soup". Kueh Chap means pieces of flour dough that has the same texture as kue tiaw in herbal soup served with every imaginable internal organs of the pig. For people who can’t stand sights of pig’s organs floating around in your soup, you opted for lean pork meat and eggs instead.

2. Pertanak Market, 1st Floor. The stall located at the corner of the food section is frequent with ladies with basket after their morning shopping and also the many vendors around that area. Some people claim that the taste is still the same after so many years.

Those are some of the well known local delicacies that are unique and a must for all food lovers who wanted a taste of the locals. Some people might have different preferences and you are most welcome to give any comments and suggestions. There’ll be another 2 parts following this masterpiece as I intend to do it as a trilogy. Part 2 coming soon…….

Monday, January 07, 2008


New Year's Eve for me in Kuching was a Very Wet....... event. Even though it was raining cats and dogs, that doesn't stop us from enjoying ourselves over a good dinner and wine. We went to a Indonesian restaurant called Pondok Laguna located at Crown Square at Pending. It was operated by the same people that brings us Causeway Bay, Shanghai Nite and Lok Thian. The decor was simple but the food was really good! We had so much food that we barely can walk out of the restaurant after the meal. Some of the waitresses are from Indonesia so they are the best person to ask for good recommendations. As usual, the place was packed since it was New Year's Eve. After the dinner, we went back to one of our friend's house for some after dinner drinks. That night, we had 3 bottles of red wine with assortments of cakes from Hilton and a box of chocolate truffles. What a new year it has been and i'm looking forward to the next one with much anticipation!

Pondok Laguna located on the ground floor of Crown Square at Pending

seats reserved for the royal!

Bali is where we spent our New Year's Eve (exotic!)

their menu consits of a wide range of Indonesian delicacies

the keropok with chili sauce serves as a very appertising apperriser (we had 3 baskets!)

the pandan leaf rice (soft and fragrant)

chicken satay Indonesian style

roasted chicken in sweet sauce

prawn satay which is over done (too bad...)

beef rendang sone to perfection! (more rice please!)

mee goreng Indonesian style (two plates of this was clean and lick)

tauhu sumbat with mix vegetables stuffed inside the tofu and deep fried

ayam assek (lots of tumeric and spices)

with those nice food, we must have some hot chillies and belacan to go with it

ice blended cempedak

iced green bean

mixed fruits drink with lots of local fruits

start the New Year with a Gong!!!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Another year had pass and another year had come. Time really passes by like the change of weather. New Year resolution you might ask.... Like last year and many years before, my resolution is not have made any New Year resolution. By doing so, i'm free to do what i want and i don't have to be despair if i can't achieved any of the resolution that i made.

The year 2008 seems to be a promising year for Kuching. A lot of changes are going on as we speak. We can look forward to a real shopping mall here finally! After the very disappointing debut of Boulevard, i hope the Spring will put the people behind Boulevard to shame!

Speaking of another shame, the egg faced Ting Pek King still keep on doing his fast track and yet ugly and lousy projects. Have anyone seen his vision of the new hotel? It's a bloody BOX! Well, can't blame an egg face to come up with a Picasso rite. Well, enough bout him and lets move on with the year 2008 with a blast and which everyone a fun filled year!