The Kuching Food Guide–Part 1- Pandungan Street Area
People have always compared Kuching to Penang when it comes to the food capital of Malaysia. Which state has the best food in Malaysia? I personally went to Kuching just to savour the best Kuching food – 9 days later – 123 stalls/restaurants – 214 dishes/specialty drinks later – I can declare I must had gained 5kgs and gained very useful insight into what are the must eat food in Kuching – which has the reputation to rival Penang as the food capital or gem of Malaysia.
Some say that it’s difficult to travel around for food in Kuching because all the good stalls are scattered around – so you will need a local Kuching friend or you need to rent a car to go around and hunt for good Kuching food. What if I were to tell you – that after tasting all the Kuching kolo mee, Kuching laksa, belacan bee hoons and Kuching pork satays during my stay in Kuching – I can give you a KUCHING FOOD GUIDE that is tourist friendly – mostly within close proximity of city centre and walking distance! Say hello to my Kuching Good Food guide – with detailed maps of MUST TRY FOOD IN KUCHING – the CAT CITY!
During my visit – I stayed at Tune Hotel Waterfront in Kuching, which is an affordable quality hotel which suits my needs. It is located just right opposite Hilton and very near Pullman Hotel. You can stay in either of these hotels depending on your budget – Tune Hotel being the most affordable and basic while Pullman is the pricey option but very classy and comfortable.
If you arrived during the afternoon and checked into Tune hotel – you’ll be glad that just two blocks behind Tune Hotel is this halal noodle place called Mohammad Lim – go for his Hand made Mushroom Chicken Noodles – this area is suitable for those who want to find halal food.
Gotta love the texture of the noodles – this is not the typical Sarawak Kolok Mee but it’s pretty good – best is that it’s halal and suitable for Muslim diners.
The Map above shows that you need to take one big round – but you don’t need to – just walk straight across from behind Tune Hotel – there’s a small alley so you don’t have to make a big turn like in this map. The famous Teresa Laksa is in between Tune Hotel and Mohammad Lim Noodles – which opens night time till late.
Teresa’s Laksa and Kolo Mee are halal – suitable for Muslims as well. A good place for supper after a late night chilling session in Kuching – best of all – just right behind Tune Hotel – less than 1 minute walk!
The Kuching Kolo Mee without the pork lard – Muslim friendly Kuching Delicacy!
You gotta love Auntie Teresa’s laksa – featured in newspapers as well – tastes especially good during supper! Now both Mohd Lim and Teresa Laksa are close by – that’s why I mentioned these two first. I will now start my walking food guide to good Kuching food. Best HALAL Laksa! You can wake up at 7 and start walking from your hotel by 7:30 am.
We will begin our first day of Kuching Food Hunt by waking up early to visit the historic Chong Choon Café – come a bit late and you would need to wait and queue for their delicious Kuching Laksa! So try to be here before 7:30 am. It should be about 9 minutes walk from Tune Hotel.
Good morning uncle! Give me a bowl of your delicious Kuching laksa – and make it a big bowl please! *note – they are closed every Tuesday*
Oh my Laksa! Notived that the gravy is slightly darker than your curry mees and Singapore laksas – it doesn’t use so much santan but has strong flavour from the spices used in this Laksa paste! The most authentic Kuching Laksa to many locals - that is why Chong Choon’s laksa is regarded as one of the BEST Kuching Laksa in Sarawak.
They also have various Kuching Chinese Kuih available as well as Ko Lo Mee ~ but I will reserve that for other shops ~
Pan roasted Nasi Pulut ~~
Deep fried Popiah is only available on Sundays.
After Chong Choon, walk a few minutes to Min Hong Kee – a great place for delicious porridge! They finish pretty quick in the morning!
This handsome man is famous for his delicious porridge!
Simplicity at its best! Healthy porridge – notice how ‘smooth’ the porridge look ~~ oh yes ~~
The Sibu Gong Pia here is pretty good too! Do give them a try and eat with the porridge!
Above is the map from Tune Hotel to Chong Choon (Abel Road) and then to Min Hong Kee (Pandungan street)
If you have a craving for Indian food or halal breakfast – Maharajah’s is on the same street -
They have good roti prata and other good spicy Indian curries to enjoy them with.
View Larger Map
Try to look out for Secret Recipe along the road and Woon Lam Café is right behind Secret Recipe.
Another nearby place to fill up your tummy for breakfast is Woon Lam Café 1999 – I have no idea what the numbers meant – maybe established in 1999? Not too sure ~~ it’s about 9 minutes walk from Min Hong Kee ~~
Order your kueh chap from Lau San Kueh Chap
Took quite a while for my Kueh Chap (slices of various part of the pork) as they are pretty busy early in the morning!
You can also have their Sarawak Popiah (Spring Rolls – which is pretty good!)
View Larger Map
Walk across Secret Recipe – less than 1 minute walk for John’s Pie ~~
For snacks – you have to try John’s Pie in Kuching – they have quite a lot of variety to choose from but I got to try a very interesting pie! About nine minutes walk away from Noodle Descendants!
Say hello to the Kuching Laksa pie! You can taste the Kuching Laksa within this yummy pie!
Om nom nom nom nom!
I had the pleasure of meeting the boss in another branch of John’s Pie in Jalan Song!
View Larger Map
After the pie – it’s time to pay a visit to a legendary restaurant in Kuching – Noodle Descendants – follow the easy map for a 8 minute walk ~~~
Now it’s time to introduce the legendary Noodle Descendant – Legendary because if you came during peak hours – you would need to wait at least one hour to 90 minutes for your meal here – when you finally found a table – do not attempt to disturb the boss or call for order – the waitress will come and ask for what you want and you wait patiently for your food – or risk being scolded by the owners (from the rumours I heard!) The best time to come here is during weekdays/non public holidays from 2-3 pm – my noodles arrived in less than 25 minutes. (Just walk across the road from Min Hong Kee or Maharajah’s – you will see it along Pandungan Street)
You will see photo frames of newspaper articles – Chinese and English language – being written about this legendary Uncle serving ‘Cheng’ Noodles ~~ Some people even joked – Noodle Descendants ? It’s because you need to wait till next descendant then your food will arrive! HAHAHAH!
‘Cheng’ noodles basically refers to pork innards like liver, intestines, kidney in a clear consommé pork broth ~ served usually with noodles dipped with black vinegar.
Delicious indeed! Well worth the wait! If you’ve read over the net about a famous noodle place called Min Joo – this is their new name – Noodle Descendants!
Despite being rumoured to be a hot tempered boss – I managed to ask him to take a picture with me – he was all smiles! Really happy to try his cooking. Perhaps due to popular demand and him being the only one or with the help of his wife, he needed to focus on his cooking and get’s grumpy when disturbed. A must try food in Kuching – Noodle Descendants Cheng Noodles!
Now let’s pop over to Song Kheng Hai Food Court – a good place for afternoon tea the Kuching style! Less than 3 minutes walk!
This is the famous Song Kheng Hai Food Court – which can be pretty packed during working days from 3pm onwards~~
You can enjoy Belacan Bee Hoon here but this isn’t the best one I’ve tasted – there’s a better one but it requires a longer walk – I will post this later for those who are willing to travel further!
This is a good place for some nice ice kacang or some famous Sarawak drinks ~~
The famous CocoCane – which is a combo of freshly squeezed sugar cane with coconut juice and flesh ~ hmmm
Or you can have a refreshing honey lime sea coconut drink ~~ yum yum ~~
They also serve pretty decent tomato Kway teow here – which is a wok fried rice noodles with a tomato sauce. It’s not the best in Kuching but I will highlight another place for better Tomato Kway Teow or Kio Cap Mi ~~
They also have SioBee and Gong Pia here ~~
The Gong Pia’s here are pretty popular – it’s a mini Sibu style bagel that’s crispy on the outside and chewy to the bite inside – usually served with minced pork in a sweet gravy – this stall also serves Gong Pia with ham, cheese or garlic – I personally prefer the original minced pork version ~ I can say this stall in Song Kheng Hai food court is my favourite for Kuching.
Alternatively, a good place for tea is Tom’s just nearby as well – follow the map for a short walk to Tom’s for the best cakes and desserts in Kuching!
I admit – from outside – I was skeptical that I would find great desserts and cakes in here – but according to my research – Tom’s cakes are simply the best in Kuching – so I die die also must try ~
The interior décor is pretty comfortable and they provide free wifi ~ a good place to meet up your Kuching friend or romantic dates – desserts are girl’s best friend they say ~ *cough*
Grand Lourve Chocolate ~~
Fancy a slice of Rainbow Cake?
OMG BLUEBERRY PIE OF THE HEAVENS!! ATTACKK!!!!!!! SO BEAUTIFUL!!
Triple chocolate cheesecake ~~~
So cute ~~ so delicious ~~
Oh hello Red Velvet ~~ we meet again ~~~
My favourite is their double chocolate hazelnut praline – for me – this hit’s all the right spots in terms of chocolate – richness and crunch! Thumbs up – must try this one when you visit Tom’s!
If you like giant foo chow style buns – pop by Sin Kwang Café – which is along the same block as Tom’s
I’ve seen many people buying these buns in big quantities ~~
View Larger Map
Walk along Pandungan Street to a good place for Kolo Mee – I would say one of the best Kolo Mee in Kuching and the best part is that it’s within walking distance – look out for Miss Annie at Fook Seng Café
When you order your kolo mee – be sure to let them know if you want the red colour or normal ones – the red colour ones are slightly sweeter ~~ I personally prefer the red ones but my other Kuching friends prefer the plain ones. Annie Kolo Mee is even featured on Trip Advisor ooo! Note: Opens only after 5:00pm.
The braised pork leg here is pretty good – so you can enjoy braised pork while eating the delicious Annie Kolo Mee.
w000t!! Hello delicious Kuching Kolo Mee!! ITADAKIMASU!
Pair it with this tender loving care braised pork leg ~~ chopped into pieces – bite sizes ~~ om nom nom nom ~~
Now Pandungan street is a good place to buy souvenirs back for your loved ones – just opposite this Annie Kolomee is this stall – where you can ask them to pack frozen Sio Bees and Buns for you to take home and steam. They will pack them into boxes and then seal them for you to check in. Great service!
Another good place for souvenirs is Chin Hian Chia – a place for good home made Chinese Pastries!
Kuching friends tell me this is the most original one that has been around for generations.
They sold out their pastries pretty fast – like the popular Bee Pang (Rice Puff Treats), Da Bing, Hong Cher Pia, Pong Pia – so come in the afternoon to buy them and the boss will kindly seal them for you in a box for easy check in as well!
Yummy Da Bing – made with flour and sweet potatoes ~~
I also like their Black Sesame and Peanut Candy! You can buy them in bigger packs too!
Grab some Sarawak Black Pepper Sweets here as souvenirs – one of it’s kind peppery sweets unique only to Sarawak~
Look out for these prawn crackers from Kiasar Trading – they also have the vegetarian sweet potato crackers which gain state wide recognition in newspapers – very popular and usually sold out – buy a couple and deep fry at home if you see these in stores or anywhere in Kuching! Selling like hot cakes!
View Larger Map
After all that – you can go back to your hotel (Tune, Hilton or Pullman) to rest and freshen up for a good place for dinner. I recommend either the Junk or Bla Bla Bla – they are situated on the same block with Havana (a good place for drinks and chilling) right between them. These are more posh areas and I would dress up a little bit for dinner and then drinks afterwards here ~~
I will start with the setup for Bla Bla Bla – a fusion restaurant with good ambience.
The ambience is pretty good and it’s a pretty big restaurant with many different sections – you will take some time to find a favourite spot to sit – I chose a brighter spot so I can take my food photos naturally ~~ food bloggers unite!
This is their marinated midin (a native sarawak fern dish which is crunchy and slightly slimy but extremely delicious). Normally midin is stir fried with sambal belacan, garlic or red wine but Bla Bla Bla made their version with sliced chilies, lime and onions and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese – a very creative dish and one of my favourites in this Kuching food hunt!
This soft shell crab dish – served with mayo and chicken floss is one of their signatures – it is good but it’s no match for Brunei’s Thiam Hock version ~~
Pandan Chicken ~~
Mango Duck ~~~ Notice that their salads are similar to the Pandan Chicken and the Soft Shell Crabs – one thing I would complain about ~~
The winning dish of the night is the Grilled Salmon – now – the funny thing is – the Salmon is not the reason for this being the best dish – neither are the mashed potatoes – the reason this dish won us over is the crispy fried Cangkok Manis (sweet potato leaves or Mani Chai) in this dish ~
Deep fried Mani Chai? GENIUS! We were all raving about this all night!
Of course – everyone had fun instagramming and facebooking the food before eating ~~ Thanks’s John and Karen, who has been an excellent host to me in Kuching! Will return the favour next time in Brunei! Confirm will let them eat till faint with my Brunei Food Guide!
The Junk restaurant is an alternative – for another night – since both Bla Bla Bla and The Junk are walking distance to the hotel ~
The Junk, similar to Bla Bla Bla is pretty big with separated sections for you to choose – take some time and you will find lot’s of retro pieces within the restaurant! Click on the pictures to get a better view! Taking food photos can be difficult here btw ~~ dim and uneven lightings with some blinking decorations – you will need special skills and equipment for your food ~
The Junk is more of a Western restaurant and they are famous for the 555 Sour – usually we order San Xuan – which is triple sour – but the Junk combines five different sour and sweet items to make this drink ~~
Give them a good crush and enjoy your drink – I would advise the waiter/waitresses to not make it so sweet next time though – mine was too sweet to enjoy the sourness!
Their seafood risotto is pretty decent for only RM35 – a good accompaniment to what we ordered ~
The famous lamb shank from the Junk – only RM35 – huge tender goodness – a good dish ~~ and recommended.
After this – you can pop over next door to Havana for drinks – or go back to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow’s food hunt around Carpenter street area!
Foodie meets Miao and Wafufafu ~ hu hu hu ~~ don’t worry ~~ I won’t eat you one ~~
This ends part 1 of my Kuching Food Guide! For Part II of my guide which guides you to walking around Carpenter street for the best pork satays, chicken rice and cucur pisang please check out part II of the Kuching Food Guide!
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!
Hope to see more of the other Kuching bloggers in future!
The full map of this trip’s journey – you can use Google Maps and see the directions I took and also the GPS coordinates.