Kuching is divine for delicious, simple cuisine. If you love asian cuisine this is an absolute! They have their own take on Laksa, Ayam dishes and many others. Another treat is the local jungle vegetables (midin) and other local delicacies - YUM!! It is an absolute foodie paradise for real local street food. Our whole trip (besides the wedding we were attending) as usual was based around our meals, and it was an absolute delight! Fooding is also very cheap!
First dinner in Kuching was at the aptly named Bla bla bla Restaurant (sister restaurant to Junk). A pricier dinner option in comparison to the rest of Kuching but compared to eating dinner in Tokyo for two - was very cheap! Especially for all that we ordered.
More of a modern fusion take incorporating local vegetables & wild meat, fish - it was a great way to have our first try of Midin (the local jungle vegetable) and the crispy sweet potato leaf chips was divine!
The rest of the dishes were lovely (wild ostrich, duck) however for me personally there was a bit too much mayonnaise added to dishes (I'm just not a fan of mayonnaise!)
The food at the Ranee was also a delight - the Laksa was a bit disappointing for hubby - however my Nasi Goreng was deliciously spicy! The breakfast menu always had something that changed daily and these little egg muffins was perfect to start the day.
A definite win was their awesome Roti ( I LOVE ROTI!!) and the fresh chilled coconuts - perfect after a day spent exploring in the humidity.
At the back of The Ranee & the waterfront strip is Kuching's Chinatown - if you enter from the strip entrance (Carpenter Street) just after India Street & Chinahouse Courtyard - there is this delightful & absolutely divine local food square (right opposite the Hiang Thian Siang Si Temple).
The food square technically has no official name but it seems everyone refers to it as being named after the temple. It's open and not enclosed with about four - five different vendors serving their delicious meals.
No one will sit you - you just have to wait and hover till another table leaves then swoop in and sit down. Don't be afraid to ask to join a table if they have spare seats - we grabbed a table and saw some other foreigners looking really lost so gestured for them to join us (they spoke only Italian, so we couldn't communicate that well but its always nice to be able to help fellow tourists).
There is a system, when you sit down, one person will come and ask for any drink orders (do not order food from them - that's not how its done) and you can either go then to any of the food vendors and order your dishes or also grab the person who doesn't take drink orders (you pick up on who that person is). You pay the person who brings your dish to the table.
We actually ordered from every vendor... hahaha starting off with some clear fishball and flat noodle soup ( a childhood fave for me and a dish I know won't be spicy) - then some epic satay. Hubby went for the Sarawak Laksa and was not disappointed (he was sweating a bit, it was that spicy!). Then even though we were pleasantly stuffed we went and shared the infamous Kolo Mee and it was FABULOUS!! sooooo good and the Char Siew was so tasty and not at all fatty (massive win!)
All of this delicious fooding came to under 1000JPY! *happy dance - fill our bellies with more*
Even though he was stuffed, Hubby then decided he must have the plantain fritters for dessert - he loves fruit fritters! They were delicious - the coating everything! I'm just not really a fritter lover.
Nightlife in Kuching we didn't discover that much - a lot of people just walk along the waterfront but we did find this great little pub/bar Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar. It was the most happening nightlife place our whole time in Kuching ( though we arrived Friday and went there Friday night for drinks and it was dead! It was much busier on Tuesday evening...random)
However regardless - its a great spot with a lovely outdoor alley way to grab some drinks from their rather extensive menu. Good beer and wine selection and if you're hungry, though they don't cook food on the premises - you can actually order from a bunch of the local restaurants surrounding (just tell Drunk Monkey staff and they place the order) and the restaurant will bring the food to you and you pay their staff. Great example of outsourcing and helping other local businesses!
Noodle Descendants is an infamous restaurant along Jalan Padungan (if you see a queue of people it's probably it!) that is known for all the deliciousness of Kuching cuisine and especially for its "Zheng" (pork innard/offal dish) and its noodles.
The noodles are UH-MAZING! There are a few unspoken rules when dining at Noodle Descendants.
1. Be prepared for a possible 2-3 hour wait/time spent there (including eating). Ours only took about an 1hr - 1.5hr actually - which just seemed to grab a good time
2. Queue until someone gestures you to a clear table. Be prepared to maybe share a table with other customers.
3. When you are seated, please just wait until someone takes your order. DO NOT ask to order. Someone will separately ask you for your drink order first. Just be patient and wait.
Hubby ordered the dry noodle with the traditional mee & the pork innard soup (I'm not a fan of anything innard) so I ordered some delicious Kolo Mee and swapped out the Mee for yummy Kuay Teaw (flat white noodle). It is perhaps my favourite way to eat "Kolo Mee" and if I could I would swap out the Mee for the Kuay Teaw every time!
A lot of the fooding in Kuching is quite casual, however for one night we wanted to have a bit of a date night - so we headed to the Hilton: The Steakhouse. It was a lovely place to enjoy some delicious steak cooked to medium-rare perfection. I chose the mushroom soup (which is my absolute favourite soup) and Hubby swapped his out for the pea soup special.
Everything about it was very nice, the chips nice, fat, crisp and very tasty. The side dish of vegetables was perfect to have as we had been craving vegetables (there isn't so much veggies in Kuching noodle dishes). To top it off they also served us with some sweet chocolate pops to finish the course.
Along Jalan Padungan is Tom's - a sweet little cafe unassuming and you would walk straight past it thinking it just serves the usual generic cafe fare. However although it does serve a myriad of food, what they do exceptionally well (and possibly the best ever) is CAKES!!!
The cheesecakes are absolutely darling but what is a must - is their cake conoctions with praline biscuit base! Totally agree with a few other Kuching foodies - the praline cakes are the absolute bomb! I did not have the praline coffee (as I don't like anything coffee flavoured) but we had the double chocolate praline, and the hazelnut praline and I wish I could have snuck them into my suitcase to bring them back to Tokyo.
We discovered Winnie's through some local foodie searching. Winnie's is a couple doors down from The Ranee and Winnie (featured above with her adorable niece) cooks amazing local Sarawakian cuisine with fresh ingredients. This is delicious home cooking! Be prepared for a few rather unusual elements!
You cannot actually book Winnie's in the traditional manner - I believe you can find her on facebook and you chat to her on facebook/whataspp so she can tell you about her cooking and what you like to eat and then she creates a personal dinner for you. (Hubby discovered Winnie's). It was great to also have a range of the local veggies and well just veggies in general!
Kuching is also home to a delicious myriad of Chinese restaurants; the top photo of the preserved egg & soft tofu was from a fabulous bak kut teh restaurant where we stuffed ourselves a bit too fast to take photos!
The fried wontons, soup wontons & spicy noodles were from Life Cafe (found at the far end of Carpenter Street - the very end of China Town) and were epic!! Was so good to have delicious Chinese Wonton - Japan is a bit hard to find.
ChinaHouse at the Old Courtyard reminds me of places in Australia, England, Japan etc - the restored white Courtyard is now home to some delightful businesses - a delightful coffee cakehouse which serves typical but yummy simple lunch and dinner fare, but with an amazing selection of homemade cakes & ice cream - also a great place to get some very good Kopi Coffee (not my thing) - the Canteen which on certain nights has live performances - a fancier restaurant furnished with amazing vintage furniture and a sweet boutique store which stocks local artists showcasing their artisan pieces.
What I really loved about it was how they allowed you to bring out your inner creative - at the Kopi C (which has the delicious cakes & food) - every table has white paper and crayons to just let you draw away and outside on the terraces of the inner courtyard was hung great widths of white paper with paint nearby and you were free to paint at any time of the day or night!
This would have been a place had it been in Melbourne - I would go every other night to have a drink with my friends and just enjoy low key, laid back evenings.