Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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The Kuching Food Guide-Part 2-Carpenter Street and Old Market

This is part 2 of the Kuching Food Guide series – giving travellers insight on where to eat and what to eat in Kuching – best of all – within walking distance and reasonable travelling. The idea that one must know a local and need a car is not a necessity to enjoy the delicious food in Kuching. This guide will give you locations of the best Kuching food within walking distance from Tune Hotel Waterfront Kuching, Hilton and Pullman Hotel.

If you haven’t read part 1 – I suggest you click on the link below before reading Part 2.

The Kuching Food Guide–Part 1- Pandungan Street Area

 

 

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For this guide – we will target the Carpenter Street, Kuching Water Front and Old Market (next to Electra). For today’s trip you don’t have to wake up too early as the stalls don’t open too early along this guide – most of them operate after 8 and some open only after lunch and some only night time.

 

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As soon as you turn out of Tune Hotel – turn right downhill – and then turn left – (if you turn right – you will be heading to Pandungan Street area). You will get to see the Kuching Heritage trail – good time for picture taking.

 

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You will see this temple right before the entrance of Carpenter Street ~ this is a good landmark for the best deep fried chicken bums I’ve ever tasted – but I’ll get to that later.

 


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Our first destination is Kim Joo – a place that sells similar Cheng Mee to Noodle Descendants

 

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Kim Joo opens from 6.30am and closes at 2pm. Kim Joo has been rated as second best to the famous Noodle Descendants but the good part is that you don’t have to wait too long according to the locals and there’s other good options besides kolo mee here.

 

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Their soup base and kolomee is slightly different from noodle descendants but pretty good as well. Worth a try. Another worthy mention is that they are famous for Fried Rice and Tomato Kway Teow. Be sure to give them a try when you visit!

 


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After that, walk along the road up and you will see the famous Lau Ya Keng Temple – home of the famous pork satays and the most epic banana fritters – but you will notice something if you reach here in the morning ….

 

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There’s a lot of people – but where’s the satay?! WHERE IS THE PORK SATAY?! NOT YET OPEN LA! Luckily for me – they still have Laksa, Kolo Mee and Kueh Chap early in the morning ~~

 

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I ordered a bowl of Kueh Chap to try and it’s not bad – it’s different from Woon Lam in part 1 of my guide – this one has more fatty part and tau hu pok.

 


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The next destination is a 7 – 9 minute walk to the famous Old Market or Lau Pa Sat – or some say Electra food court (because the market is right next to Electra)

 

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The Old Market has quite a few notable stalls – fortunately – most of them open in the morning except for the Beef Noodles which only opens at night ~ another must try stall.

 

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I ordered Tomato Kway Teow – one of the best food or must try food in Kuching from this uncle at stall 39.

 

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As well as Sio Bee from stall 30 – I actually tried two stalls but I felt stall 30 had superior chili and also serves good soya bean milk from the tap – you can see it from that big metal container with tap there – filled with soya bean milk (draft soya bean! hahaha) freshly made daily!

 

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Oh yes ~ tomato kway teow with sio bee and soy bean milk for breakfast ~~ bon appetit!

 

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Now – Ah Mui Beef noodles is located in the same food court – but they open at night – I posted this now so it’s easier for you to remember and find this place.

 

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To me – this is a must try food in Kuching – while most Kolo Mee vendors serve their noodles with pork – this boss serves their delicious kolo mee with Ngau Chap (beef spare parts) – at the same time you can order the sio bee and soy bean milk next door – as well as yummy Char Kueh (they have the salty or sweet versions)

 

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Char Kueh is also popular in Kuching – it’s basically a stir fried radish cake with eggs. Kuching is famous for having a sweet version of this dish ~~

 

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The black sweet version usually has sweet soy sauce or gula anau added to it for that sweetness and a bit of minced chai pok (salted pickled vegetables) for a salty contrast.

 

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Be sure to give both a try! Char Kueh is available in many stalls in Kuching – but the two easier to find ones are from this Old Market food court – and Song Kheng Hai Food Court which I mentioned in Part 1 of this Kuching Best Food series!

 


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After all that – it’s time to go to Plaza Merdeka – which you probably walked past on the way to Old Market – for some air cond and shopping ~~ I can hear you girls rejoicing already! Did someone say shopping?

 

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Ahhhhhh! GLORIOUS AIR CONDITIONING! You must be working up quite a sweat from all that morning walk! There’s plenty of shops here for the girls – and if you’re tired – you can chill at Star Bucks.

 


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Our next place Winnie Café is a very interesting place – I found this place on Facebook highly recommended by my friend. I added the owner and chatted with her about paying a visit. Winnie Café is located just right in front of Kuching Waterfront Management Office~~

 

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I saw pictures of her beautiful creative dishes on Facebook and expected a pretty cool place … I was very surprised by what I saw ~~

 

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I was very surprised that it’s a very normal kopitiam place ~~ not much fancy smancy décor ~~ just in your face straight forward Kopi Tiam. Now I have to admit this is a funny experience because I felt like I’m in the wrong place – must be my fear of people with lot’s of tattoos! Me and John sat down, Winnie greeted us and our food arrived – very nicely plated – it’s like a bento plated – with many beautifully presented healthy food on a plate. We didn’t really know what to do or whether anyone’s going to guide us – Winnie was busy serving other guests ~~

 

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Fortunately, one simply must not judge a book by it’s cover – the people in this café are very friendly and kind hearted. Don’t be worried!! Haha! Beautiful presentation which is very very unmatched with the Kopi Tiam surroundings ~~

 

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The quail eggs are the highlight of this dish – apparently Winnie used a toothpick to push out the yolks and stuffed them with beef! A lot of patience and love goes into the making of such a simple dish – which many would just pop into their mouth without noticing! The grilled chicken wing is boneless and is stuffed with a lemongrass instead – very good technique!

 

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This dish has fish umai (a Sarawak raw marinated fish) and I am very impressed with this steamed and then dry roasted organic black chicken dish ~ stuffed with potatoes and cheese – delicious and healthy – Winnie told us that the food contains no MSG – I’m very pleased with the flavours of her cooking and I must say – she’s an example of those humble talented chefs – hiding her talents!

 

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It’s such a pleasure to meet a very very talented chef who loves food – cooking the healthy way without MSG! My total bill was less than RM50 – SUCH A BARGAIN! A person like her should have her own store with ambience to match the creative food but she’s very humble and only cooks for the fun of it! Now – to try Winnie’s food – you need to know her in advance or give her a call before you dine here – because she will tailor the food to your needs and health – Winnie Café is a special café in that the better she knows you – the more she can custom make food to suit your lifestyle!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winnie-Cafe/101016529981825?fref=ts – Chat with Winnie and get to know her first. She’s a very nice lady and give her time and get to know her better before you reach Kuching if possible! You will be touched by her passion and love for healthy creative cooking!


After Winnie Café, since it’s near the waterfront – it’s a good time to check out Kek Lapis Dayang Salhah ~~~ to get there – you need to take a boat from the waterfront –

 


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Take a boat across – and turn right – until you see a green mosque – Dyg Salhah Kek Lapis is right behind that green mosque ~

 

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See this sign – and you’re in the right place! There are other pretty cake shops around but this one is the most original one!

 

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Welcome to Kek Lapis Dayang Salhah!

 

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What’s unique about this place is that you can try as much cakes as you like – the ones being displayed on the table.

 

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Waaaaa so tempting – so much cakes to try ~~~ to me this feels like a CAKE BUFFET!! EAT ALL THE CAKES!! Om Nom Nom Nom ~~~

 

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I liked the Lady Baltimore for it’s rich chocolaty taste so I bought one of these ~~

 

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Their KEK Belacan looks exactly like belacan (prawn paste) but it’s not ~~ it’s very delicious and I admire the creativity of the boss for naming this!

 

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You can eat all the cakes to your heart’s content ~ with no pressure to buy – but I tell you – Dyg Salhah is so confident that you will buy them so she will not worry if you ate so much without buying! They offer packing services for those who want to check in ~~ you can buy some today or you can come back at a more convenient time! We still got lot’s of food to try!! Take the sampan back to Waterfront – for more nom noms along Carpenter Street~~

 


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After all that cake, it’s a good time to go to Carpenter street at about 2pm onwards for their Pork Satays and epic Banana Fritters!

 

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Be ready to be amazed by one of the iconic street food of Kuching – the delicious succulent PORK SATAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!

 

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They are charcoal grilled with tender loving care to ensure the most tender juicy Pork satays ~~

 

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A secret recipe that’s passed down generations. You’re in for a treat!

 

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They go very well with the secret recipe peanut sauce and sliced cucumbers ~~

 

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They also sell home made fish balls and stuffed tofu with fish paste ~~ do give them a try ~

 

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Now the temple right opposite of the place that sells pork satay – has a banana fritters stall – when my friend asked me if I wanted any – I was skeptical and full from all the eating – and told her – okay la – just order one piece – Jaq ignored my request and bought 6 of them!

 

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Guess how many did I eat? I ATE 5 OF THEM! OMG!! SOOO GOOD!! ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!

 

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Rows and rows of delicious fritters ~~ oooh la la ~~~

 

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Look at the caramelization of the fritter!! Apparently, they use only Pisang Tanduk (Horn Bananas) which are huge bananas, sometimes up to an arm’s length, fully ripened and dipped in thin batter to deep fry – notice their batter is not too thick and pretty thin ~~ ensuring a crispy skin – and lot’s of goooey oozing banana! DIE DIE ALSO MUST TRY THIS STALL IN KUCHING OKAY! Best banana fritter/cucur pisang I’ve tasted!

 

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Along the same street – there’s a restaurant called Life Café which is quite worth it to check out ~~ it’s near Kim Joo – and right opposite Black Bean Café (which I will highlight as well)

 

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I like the interiors and the choice of food they have – catered to a more healthier living concept ~

 

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If you like dumplings, noodles, healthy teas – this is a good place to chill (you can avoid the Plaza Merdeka and come here straight away right after Old Market! But I am sure female readers would be screaming at me – WHAT? NO SHOPPING? DIE THANIS!!!)

 

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Vermicelli (glass noodles) with a ginger dressing ~~ hmm …. a good way to detox after all those street food!

 

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I also tried their mutton curry served with delicious Ma Lak Handmade Noodles ~

 

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Springy bite and spicy ~~ oooh laa laa ~~

 

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Right opposite Life Café – is another must try stall – Black Bean Coffee – this place uses local Sarawak Coffee beans and professional coffee machines to make your coffee!

 

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There’s not much place to sit – usually people have their coffee on the go – but I still managed to find a small area to sit down ~~~

 

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So old school – I really like the look and feel of this café ~~

 

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You gotta love their awesome café late served in this cup! Hmm…. smooth delicious latte ~~ move over Star Bucks – this is way better!

 

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Like Stigun café in my Penang Food Guide they hand pick the good beans and discard the brittle ones. A good practice to ensure only the best quality coffee is produced!

 


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As you can see – along Carpenter street – seriously so much food – Life Café and Black Bean Coffee is opposite one another – while Alladin café is opposite nearby the Pork Satay place. If only they all opened at the same time!

 

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Another must visit place is this Alladin Café which has a reputation for the best chicken rice in Kuching! It’s along the block of shops opposite the pork satay place ~~ they usually open from 6 pm onwards for dinner – they sell out pretty quick and can be pretty packed so come early!

 

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A funny story about this table – My dad would tell me stories about special tables like this in Kopitiams and to avoid sitting here as it usually belong to gangsters of big bosses – so I avoided this table. Apparently – anyone can sit here – and the people here are very friendly ~~

 

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Eventhough he’s full of tattoos – this handsome young man is very friendly and cooks very good fried chicken for the chicken rice!

 

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I ordered all three kinds of chicken they served – roasted, steamed and deep fried – all tender and juicy – the rice was fragrant – no wonder they’re considered the best in Kuching by the locals.

 

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My favourite has to be their crispy fried chicken to match their fragrant rice – a super thumbs up and you simply must not miss Aladdin Chicken Rice in Kuching!

 

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After all that – it’s time to say good bye to Carpenter Street – but it’s not the end yet – I am told just right outside this street – right next to the temple is a famous old couple with a pushcart selling fried street food! Follow the map below ~~

 

 


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They are usually around here from 3pm – earlier or later depending on them one ~~ no fixed time! They are just right next to the traffic light next to the temple (entrance to Carpenter Street)

 

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I was one of the earlier ones – cars would park along the road and come here to takeaway some of their fried goodies ~~

 

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My friend told me his friends from KL would eat 10 of these chicken bums on his own – one feature of their fried chicken bums and wings is that you don’t get tired of eating them – unlike the typical oily greasy chicken bums you find elsewhere. They also sell fishballs on sticks served with yummy chili sauce ~ nom nom ~

 

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Despite an old tender age and their children are already doing very well – they still enjoy selling these yummy snacks – I saw their son helping them here during the weekend – such a good son! Oh look at those crispy looking chicken bums! NOM NOM NOM!!

 


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On The way back to the hotel – there’s this restaurant called John’s place which is quite popular with the locals. They have good Western food and baked rice but my friend John is a big fan of their fish head bee hoon – you have the option of fried or just boiled fish head – but I chose to have mix of both ~~

 

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Feels like a place for chilling and having tea or drinks at night – the locals seemed to fancy this place while trip advisor rated this place as well.

 

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Prices are more expensive than typical Kuching restaurants but for tourists – these are still very cheap ~~

 

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The Fish head Bee Hoon has pretty good fish slices and good soup – it’s good to try but I would prefer the ones in KK. You can walk back to your hotel to rest after this.


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This is the overall walking directions map for the day ~~

Special thanks also to Dine with Jaq, prominent Kuching Food Blogger for driving me around to some of the out of town food hunts – Miao and Wafufafu and Irene Law for taking the time to meet up with me during my stay in Kuching! Special mention also goes to the Sibu God of Food Arthur for recommending many places as well!

Get ready for two fancy places for dinner; Absolute Tribal and Dyak. Now you can choose to go to any place by taxi for a posh dinner – or you can take a taxi to Hui Sing Food Court another famous hawker centre, Jalan Song or Premier 101 Area. You can choose any of the places depending on your preferences. This ends Part II of the Kuching Food Guide – In Part III of this guide, you will need to take a taxi, rent a car or have your friends take you around! Stay tuned for part III!

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