Too Much Food and Too Little Time!

Place: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Date visited: 4th-19th February 2012

I went back to my hometown, Kuching for two weeks in February 2012.  Two weeks is a very short time to eat all my favourite comfort food from home that I haven't had in a year.  I even started a personal blog to update MerlinFan on what I'd been doing but it turned out more like a blog on what I've been eating...

1) Kolok mee

Kolok mee just unwrapped

My all time favourite Sarawak 'delicacy' and must-have for dinner on the day I arrive home.  It's dried noodles with minced pork, slices of char siew and sometimes meatballs - the noodles taste amazing in all its oily glory.  Kolok mee is usually sold at hawker stores for brekkie, lunch or dinner - to be honest it's not exactly for the most health conscious of people, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  My favourite kolok mee hawker stall would have to be the one owned by Ah Ping at Tabuan Jaya.

Regular kolok mee
My other favourite would be ang mee, which is basically kolok mee with the addition of the red char siew sauce.  It makes it so moist and delicious!
Ang mee (red noodles)
To me, kolok mee is never complete without a bowl of wonton soup to accompany it.
Kiaw (wonton in soup)
2.  Gubak mee
Gubak mee with soup
Gubak mee is beef noodles.  Our family's favourite is a hawker beside SinHua Travel at Jalan Temple (sorry, I can't remember the name of the stall) - sometimes we have to order beforehand because they get so many customers that they're sold out by lunchtime.  

Gubak mee tastes similar to kolok mee but with an extra beefy flavour, and comes with slices of tender beef.  Here you see it with a bowl of beef soup (which is to die for - I can practically taste it just looking at it) with bean sprouts, beef (and sometimes beef intestines/ tripe).  One of my all time favourite things about Kuching.

Here's a close up for the sake of it LOL

3. Heritage Chinese Restaurant

Our family's favourite restaurant - they have taken MerlinFan and I here since we were babies.  If you are from Kuching, shame on you if you've never been to Heritage.  And a testament to how good the food is?  MerlinFan and I went for dinner with our best friends' family for PrincessBling's pre-wedding dinner celebration.  And how funny, their family had ordered all our family's favourite dishes too!  Here is a list of most of our favourites:

Best dish hands down - the kay si mee.  Crispy noodles drowned in gorgeous egg gravy, chicken, mushrooms and vegetables.  The great thing about the noodles is you can eat it crispy or leave it to soak until it's soggy and soft.  I personally love it soggy - slimy yet satisfying.

Kay si mee
Kay si mee being served
Who can forget the infamous sio-tu?  It's suckling pig, sliced and served with sweet sauce or mustard if you like.  The meat of the young piglet is so, so tender and the skin is cooked till crisp.  A truly mouthwatering and delectable dish.

Heritage easily has the best shark fin soup in Kuching.  Enough said.  There were rumours that they were going to stop making it due to the controversy surrounding shark's fin, but it was still on the menu when I went back home this time.
Shark fin soup
Yam basket!  A ring of deep fried yam sitting atop a nest of fried tanghun (cellophane noodles).  Moist, hot yam on the inside and crispy, crunchy and flaky on the outside.  Heavenly.  The centre filling is butter prawns - it is crispy, buttery and sweet-savoury all at once.  
Yam basket
My favourite dessert of all time - Kauli tausa.  This is a beautifully unique dish - it is bigger than it looks, about the size of a closed fist.  The batter is fried, light and fluffy, I think made from egg white.  In its centre is hot, sweet tau-sa or red bean filling.  Served hot and sprinkled with orange coloured sugar, it is simply divine.

4. Char Taugeh Kueh Tiaw

Our favourite hawker is Hap Hap Hin, on the 2nd floor in Kenyalang Hawker centre.  OMG it is so good!  Stir-fried with egg and taugeh (bean sprouts), this dish brings the true meaning to Less is More.  One plate of kueh tiaw costs only RM2.50 (which is less than AUD $1) and mixed kueh tiaw with mee aka kuehtiaw mee is RM3.00 (AUD $1).  See why I try not to eat Malaysian food while I'm in Melbourne?

Char taugeh kueh tiaw

Kueh tiaw mee
There is nothing I enjoy more than having early morning breakfast of kueh tiaw with a nice, big glass of kopi-C peng (iced coffee with evaporated milk).  Latte and mochas for Melbourne brunch, but good ol' kopi-C peng for me in Kuching, please!

5.  KFC

Yes, KFC!!!
KFC Original and Hot & Spicy
Don't knock it until you've tried it!  Unlike here, Kuching has hot and spicy chicken all year round.  Yay!!!  The Hot & Spicy and the Zinger burger packs more punch into each bite - it is so much spicier (as it caters for the Asian spicy food palate) and really gets sweat pouring out your pores... try it - you'll love it.

6. Elephants

This is a cafe establishment that's been around for some time now.  MerlinFan and I usually catch up with friends here, because they have the most fabulous ice caramel latte.

Ice caramel latte
A large glass of strong latte, topped with a ball of ice cream (encased in ice, if that makes sense!), swirls of sweet whipped cream and drizzled with generous caramel.  Swoon.  I come back here first, for the ice caramel latte and second, for the food :)

My favourites would be the Cajun chicken - tender grilled chicken with brown sauce infused with Cajun spices, chips and smoked vegetables.

 Other favourites would be Chicken Maryland (below).

MerlinFan loves the beef burgers and the turkey ham focaccia sandwich, but she didn't come home with me this time, so no pictures, sorry.

7. Sarawak Club

We're members of the Sarawak Club back home, so we come quite often for dinner and lunch when we're back in Kuching.  My favourite dishes would be the Chinese beef steak.  Usually really tender, served with potato chips (not quite sure how this fits with the Chinese theme LOL) and beautiful gravy.

Sarawak Club does a good Char Hor Fun too - browned rice noodles drowned with a delicious smoky, stir fried flavour in generous egg gravy, with lashings of greens and seafood.  

And then there's the o-chien i.e. oyster pancake.  Not the best oyster pancake in Kuching, I'd have to admit, as the pancake is usually pretty thick around the middle, but the batter is delicious.  I don't eat oysters as I don't find the smell palatable @_@ but I love eating the pancake around the oysters, dipping it in the salt-pepper sauce.  Yum.

My other love is the dessert pancake!  Yes, the chinese pancake with tau-sa (red bean) filling - the pancake skin comes out burning hot and crispy, crunchy, flaking and just delightful.  No other place in Kuching does the tau sa pancake quite like how they do it here.

8.  The BanQuet

Another Kuching love of mine.  Banquet has the best veges cooked in salted egg.  Crispy long beans, eggplant and shoestring potato chips are fried with salted egg which sticks to the vegetables in a salty, rich coating.  OMG it is my absolute favourite.

BanQuet makes a really good roast duck too - very juicy and wonderfully tender - we usually have our duck in Cantonese sauce.

Another must-have is their infamous lamb cutlets in special sauce.  The sauce is sweet, gooey and oh-so-delicious with their succulent lamb.  

The other beautiful dish here is the butter fish!  I'm usually not a fan of fish but I would happily eat these crispy fish slices covered with thick, rich, buttery and slightly spicy butter sauce everyday :)

9.  Junk

I also have a newfound delicious drink... and that would have to be at Junk Restaurant, Kuching.  I haven't been here for eons, since the last time I've been with ChanelFan and PrincessBling when this place first opened, but ChanelFan and I came for dinner one night, and I found a new must-have when I'm back in Kuching!

Since ChanelFan was a regular patron, I just had what she had.  We both had the 555 Sour, which was a mixture of five different kinds of somboi, or sour plums.  It was mouth watering-ly good - the drink came in this huge glass with lots of ice - this is what it looked like before:
And this is what it looked like after mixing things up:

Don't let the murkiness of the drink deceive you - it is sweet, sour and just delicious - as ChanelFan pointed out, if you're hungry, you can even pick out fruit (pineapple) and pieces of sour plum from it!

We both had the steak with mushroom sauce.  It came with mash and veges, but ever the potato fan, I swapped my veges for french fries.  (I love potatoes, so sue me).  My steak was medium done - done perfectly, I might add, and flavoursome and tender.  The mushroom sauce was beautiful, very rich, thick and creamy (reminded me of carbonara sauce) with shreds of mushrooms in it.
Don't let the picture deceive you - the portion is not small like it looks here - it was only because the restaurant used massive plates that were even bigger than the place mats... I really didn't know what the owners were trying to achieve there.

10.  Hartz

Haaaaarttttzzzz!!!  All You Can Eat Chicken Buffet.  Need I say more?

Here is my first helping of crunchy, juicy, tender Crispy chicken, the roast chicken and mash with gravy, and also the Crunchy Dessert, which is basically sweet, sticky stewed fruit, I think, covered with sweet biscuit crumb - I love it!

 This is my second helping... after all, it is all you can eat...

Those are my most favourite places and things to eat when I'm back home in Kuching.  Two weeks is too short a time to revisit favourite places and have other favourite things - I guess I'll just have to wait till the next time I go back home. 

I love Kuching!!!


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