Bukit Mata, Seafood Centre No. 25

April 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

mrs-ji-bukit-mata

mrs-ji-bukit-mata

This seafood centre No. 25, Bukit Mata Seafood Restaurant is definitely my favourite stall. It is located on the 6th Floor of Open Air Car Park, Top Spot Seafood Restaurant opposite Ting Pek Khiing Building.

Bukit Mata Seafood Centre, no. 25

Bukit Mata Seafood Centre, no. 25

There are several seafood centre all located together. Each centre or stall display an array of fresh seafood. You can pick and choose whichever type of seafood that you want and they will cook it for you.

Fresh prawns for your asking

Fresh prawns for your asking

Wide selection of seafood & vegetables

Wide selection of seafood & vegetables

The food is not only cheap and fresh but the owner is also a lovely person. I love their orh chien, oyster pancake. So far, their Orh Chien was the biggest serving of most restaurants. I love their stir fried black pepper crabs too.

Stir fried Black Pepper Crab

Stir fried Black Pepper Crab

Do check out their stall the next time you are there. Yeah, you can tell them that Sandy recommended you from her website.  Happy Dining 🙂

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Orh Chien, Famous Oyster Pancake

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

Recently a Singaporean friend came to visit Kuching and I had the chance to bring him to Top Spot SeaFood Centre on 6th floor of Taman Kereta. I brought him to my regular  outlet, No. 25, Bukit Mata Seafood Centre.  Just a 10 minutes walk from Riverside Crowne Plaza Hotel or Grand Margherita Hotel, formerly known as Holiday Inn Kuching.

i ordered Orh Chien for him to try as there is no such Orh Chien dish in Singapore. Those that they have there are not crispy pancake like those served here. You can choose either to have oyster toppings or even mussels.

Humongous piece of Orh Chien, Oyster Pancake

Humongous piece of Orh Chien, Oyster Pancake

The pancake sure is big piece.  Actually it was the biggest Orh Chien i have ever seen served. I do not see other restaurants serve such huge portions before. It was very tasty and crispy.

You break it into edible pieces and dipped it in special soya sauce sprinkled with pepper. We had to order a second Orh chien because it was so tasty and my friend really enjoyed it a lot.

Do give it a try if you are in Kuching.

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Let’s go Souvenir Shopping

April 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Shopping

Sarawak in general and Kuching in particular is a confluence of various cultures which gives visitors a chance to enjoy the best of various traditions. Be it dining, accommodation or things to see and buy, Sarawak gives you a wide range of traditional things to buy as souvenir on your way back to your hometown.

During your stay in Kuching you are bound to find pots of varying sizes and shapes everywhere you go. You can find women at work at pottery outlets that line along 4th mile of Penrissen road. Usually two types of pots are made in Kuching- one by the Chinese potters and the other by Kelabit, Murut and Iban potters. Today pots are made not only for decoration items and candle holders. These decorative pots are very popular among locals as gift items during special occasions.

Woodcarvings found in Kuching are some of the best found in this part of the world. You can find various woodcarvings ranging from stylish Kenyah to Kayan wooden spoons. More popular are the decorative wooden bowls, ritual masks, Iban hunting items. Moreover you can also take back decoratively painted figures of hornbill on woodcarvings.

Kuching, famous for its culture and tradition has a long weaving history and the textiles produced here are famous all over the world. Pua Kumbu weaved by the Iban people showcases the outstanding culture of the region. There are exquisite patterns and designs which you find nowhere else in the world. Kain Songket is another wonderful woven textile art found in Kuching. These manually woven textiles are made of silk or cotton yarn and combined with golden and silver threads. It is said that these textiles are a inherited from the days of the Sultanate.

For centuries the local people have been using a variety of gorgeous beads for ceremonial purposes and decorations. The colors, value and material from which beads are made here form an interesting topic of conversation. Today beads have a variety of uses and are even used by government officials as garlends and gifts for various events.

In some ways bamboo can be said to be the mainstay of Sarawak’s economy. From kitchenware to fans, floorings and pipes bamboos are a commodity for daily use. Bamboos are used in so many different ways that only designs and carvings on bamboos can match it. The Bidayuh and Penan people have over the years mastered the art of carving out various figures on bamboos. They design wonderful containers that can hold blowpipe darts.

In Kuching don’t forget to buy rattan mats, made of rattan, a high quality durable product found in the jungles of Sarawak. Various fibers, leaves, stems and creepers are used to make these mats. Moreover baskets are also made out of these products and are used for various purposes like fish traps, gathering vegetables and storing seeds by the local people.

A favorite and unique gift visitor prefer taking back home for family and friends is the Salted Terubok fish. Though full of bones, the Terubok is a delicious fish loved in this part of the world. Choose a larger fish for taking home as you would find taking off the bones easier.

As you enter Kuching through Serian you are bound to see pepper plantations on either side of the road. Years of research on use of pepper sponsored by the government have resulted various pepper products like pepper perfumes and pepper candies. The distinct flavor of Sarsawak’s pepper makes it recognized in the international stage.

Perfect for health conscious visitors, the Bario Rice is manually grown using traditional methods without the use of chemicals or pesticides. It has a unique taste and aroma and is well known for its fine and soft texture.

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Sarawak Laksa, Most Popular Food in Kuching City

April 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

If you love hot and spicy food, then on your next trip to Sarawak, especially to the capital city of Kuching, you must not miss the famous Sarawak Laksa. what food is it actually?

Famous Sarawak Laksa

Famous Sarawak Laksa

Well, it is actually rice vermicelli mixed with prawn or shrimp paste, topped with fried eggs that are cut into thin slices, blanched bean sprouts, steamed soft chicken slices and juicy tender prawns. Once all the ingredients are mixed together with thick Laksa gravy poured over it and ready to be served, you may want to squeeze a little lime over it and garnished with coriander leaves. You may also want to add in some “belachan” (spicy shrimp paste) before you consume it.

Belachan is a popular ingredient in South East Asia. It is commonly used in South East Asia and Southern Chinese cuisines as a shrimp paste or shrimp sauce. In Indonesia, belachan is known as terasi, ngapi in Burma, kapi in Thailand and mam tom in Vietnam.

A bowl of Sarawak laksa depending on whether it is a large bowl or a small bowl costs around rm4 to rm6 . (rm3.6=usd1). This Laksa is so delicious that after eating it, it may even send you licking the bowl too. You may even order a second bowl thereafter. This dish will definitely warms up your stomach for the whole day.

When you are in Kuching, you can easily find Laksa being sold in many coffee shops. However, the well known coffee shops that sent people waiting and queuing up for hours are the coffee shops at Tabuan Laru, another stall at Bormill third mile and in the city centre located beside Grand Continental hotel. My favourite Sarawak Laksa stall is at Foody Goody coffee shop at Tabuan Laru vicinity. I would patiently wait for at least half an hour on Sundays as there were just too many customers waiting for their bowl of Laksa.

The Sarawak Laksa is available only on mornings as they would be sold out by lunch time. The best and most delicious Sarawak Laksa in the whole region of Sarawak is still in Kuching city.

You should go check it out if you are in Kuching for work, business or leisure.

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Popular Local Delights

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

swak-laksa

satay

Some of the best varieties of local cuisine can be found in Kuching. . On your visit to Kuching if you did not try the Sarawak Laksa, you would have lost an opportunity to have some authentic Kuching dish. It is prepared of rice vermicelli and mixed with prawn paste, topped with fried eggs cut into thin slices, bean sprouts, soft chicken slices and juicy prawns.

You will do a great disservice to yourself if you leave Sarawak without tasting the Kolok Mee. Prepared of dried yellow egg noodle with barbequed slices of pork and minced meat, it is mixed with vinegar and meat sauce to give it a salty taste. Moreover it is topped with chicken slices or prawns depending on your choice. This dish is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner as it is a very common dish in Kuching. So simple to prepare and so delicious that you will not want to miss this one.

Next, you are bound to see people savouring Mee Sua Chicken with red wine. This foochow dish originated from Sibu. That’s because it does not let your stomach grumble for a long time. The dish is prepared by wine residue that has already been fermented and then mixed with chicken pieces and ginger stewed to blanced thread-thin rice noodles.

Another popular dish among the Iban people is the Manok Pansoh, a well known Iban dish. Pieces of chicken, mushrooms, tapioca leaves and lemongrass are stuffed into bamboo and then heated over open fire. It is a natural way of preparing chicken which becomes surprisingly tender and the bamboo seals in the natural flavor. Moreover the gravy produced gives a sweet scent of bamboo and lemongrass.

Umai is a traditional delicacy prepared out of raw fish and consumed in the form of salad. Several different types of raw fishes are used for preparing Umai. Umai preparation can be of two types- one where you can have plain sliced fish with spicy chili sauce and the other where small pieces of raw fish are mixed with lime juice, sliced onions, chilies, sugar and salt. This dish is common among Melanau fishermen who tend to eat it in their boat.

There is also another dish called bilin, milin or midin. This dish can only be found in Sarawak. You can eat it stir fried with shrimp paste or with anchovices, wine or garlic.

A locally produced biscuits made of desiccated coconut, sugar and sago is the Tabaloi. There are various flavors of this biscuit which includes vanilla and cocoa. You can buy it in most supermarkets or at departure hall at the airport.

Also try out the bamboo clam dish, a unique Sarawakian dish. It looks like worm hidden in a bamboo shell. It is cooked in curries, black pepper or steamed in Chinese wine.

Another popular dish among the local folks is the salted Terubok fish.
People here are dam crazy about salted Terubok Fish and its craze cannot be compared to any other preparation. Lot of visitors takes these salted fishes for their family and friends to various places of the world. The dish is prepared by roasting Terubok, a kind of fish very popular among the local population and having it with salt.

If you are a buff of Chinese food you must try out the yummy Kueh Chap which means mixed cake. It is prepared out of rice flour and mixed with pork parts. It is cut into rectangular or square parts and is served with herbal soup. Another local favorite is the Tomato Kuey Teow only found in Sarawak. Rice noodles called Kuey Teow here are fried and tomato sauce is mixed with it so as to give the gravy the flavor of tomato. It is served with sliced charsiu, vegetables or prawns.

Belacan Bee Hoon is another popular dish but not as easily found as compared to Sarawak Laksa or Kolok Mee. It is prepared out of Bee Hoon and served with cucumber, cuttlefish and belacan sauce. If you want to taste authentic dish of Sibu try out the Sibu’s king prawn noodles prepared out of noodles, Asam tom yam soup and prawns. The asam tom yam soup is prepared of lemon grass, fish sauce, chili peppers and tamarind.

On your visit you may hear about Mee Jawa, and you may wonder what it is all about. It is an Indonesian dish prepared out of sambal cuttlefish, vegetables, eggs, tofu and crackers.

If you wish to have some barbecue or grilled chicken, pork, beef, mutton, fish or goat why not try out the Satay, popular during celebrations or events.

Kacang Ma, popular among the Chinese population in Kuching is a chicken preparation fried in sesame oil mixed with ginger juice and rice wine.

Other local favorite delicacies include Kuching Orh Chien cooked with pizza and crispy ommelet with toppings of oyster with coriander leaves and served with soy sauce. Roasted Sago Worms made in a spit which tastes like meat or bacon and are cooked along with sago flour is another preferred dish especially among the western tourists. Moreover, you should not miss out the Bubur Pedas, a favorite local meat dish prepared of the paste of bambu burbur, meat/prawns, baby corn, long bean, bean thread vermicelli, coconut milk and bamboo shoot.

Additionally, you can also try out a traditional dessert prepared from shaved ice, palm sugar, food colors, starch noodle, grass jelly, glutinous rice, red beans and coconut milk. Don’t forget to take some Pearl Sago which you can either bake to make some bread or pancake or make delicious plum pudding. If you want to have some bread with your morning tea or coffee, try out the Kom Pia. Its taste is similar to French bread but sesame seeds are added at the top. It is made of wheat and is mixed with water and then baked over charcoal.

On your way back don’t forget to take some Dabai, the native fruit of Sibu and can only be found in Sarawak. Soak the Dabai in hot water for some time till the flesh becomes soft after which you can have it with salt, sugar or soy sauce. Moreover, pineapples in Sarawak are famous due to its high sugar and low acid content.

Thus Sarawak in general and Kuching in particular is a great place to have some excellent food and enjoy your time out. Once you have one of the favorite delicacies of Kuching you are bound to keep asking for more.

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Places To Eat In Kuching

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

Kuching, the melting pot of various cultures is a perfect example of tradition combined with modernity to give it a unique contrasting style. Various cultures- Chinese, Europeans, Indians besides the local people coexist in this land of unending opportunities. This has given Kuching a highly diverse range of delicacies and has resulted in sprouting of numerous eating joints from small hawker stalls to high end restaurants.

One of the best places to have local Malay food at a reasonable price is at The Waterfront where you can find small hand carts selling BBQ stingray and milk tea also called teh tarik. These carts are usually found near the Steakhouse restaurant located within the Hilton Hotel, which is another popular joint among locals and visitors alike. Favorite dishes of the restaurant are the seared tuna and steak. It is necessary to book a seat in advance as it is full for most of the time.

Chef at Home, another favorite joint is situated within a residential structure where the garden is converted into a dining area. A great place for honeymoon couples to have a romantic dinner in this comfortable but affordable restaurant.

If you want to have a taste of authentic Chinese delicacies in Kuching visit the Hong Kong Noodle at Wisma Saberkas shopping centre. You get to have a meal seating within the comforts of an air conditioned room and that too at a reasonable price. Their specialty is the red BBQ pork and the spya sauce chicken. Their home made chilli paste dipped in oil which they left on every dining table is a must try.

If you are in a group you are recommended to try out Hornbill’s Corner at Ban Hock Road. Food is served in steamboat style which means you are served a buffet meal and you can choose your favorite delicacies. Usually they serve four or five different varieties of marinated chicken, beef and shrimps. You can also cook them as per your liking besides making some soup. Food is not the only thing available; there are ice creams and desserts as well. Though it is a bit costly, it is worth a visit.

The Magenta restaurant situated in Jalan Nenas, Kuching gives you a taste of western cuisine in Asian atmosphere. The atmosphere is wonderful and decorations are very relaxing. Even the lightings are perfect for any occasions. Though the menu is varied, great care is taken while preparing its seafood. Duck preparations are also excellent. Moreover they have a decent collection of wine and beers.

Some of the best Thai cuisine is found in Mango Tree in Crookshank Road. The Thai food is great. You must check out their Tomyam soup.

One of the best places to have a nice breakfast before you go out for your sightseeing tour of the city is Choon Hui Café. Situated at the city center besides Grand Continental Hotel, the Hainanese coffee shop is designed in traditional Chinese style. The coffee shop opens quite early in the morning and closes by 11am. You can find toasted bread baked on top of real charcoal to give you the real smell and taste of toasted bread.

If you want to have a range of hawker food, the best place to be is at Jalan Song. The whole area is just amazing with three large food courts with around 100 stalls joined together. It is highly recommended not to visit the place during the day time as most likely you would not find anything there as most stalls are closed during the day except for a few stalls. These days, more and more coffee shops are mushrooming up there so you have more and more choices to choose from.

You can find numerous shop houses behind Ban Hock Road popularly called Law Lee Café and has the best assortment of food available. One of the most favorite is the Kompia and Dain Bien Wu soup prepared from tiger lily, cuttlefish, meat balls, rice flour and black fungus.

Some of the other small but interesting places to have a taste of local delicacies are the Tun Jugah Food Court in the Golden Triangle Shopping Complex, Laksa Sarawak at Bornill in 3rd mile Bazaar, Tabuan Jaya Food Court, Tomato/Ketchup Mee at Pending Seafood Center, Kenyalang Park Food Court and Hui Sing Garden Food Court.

The Sarawak Laksa at Foody Goody Coffee Shop at Tabuan Laru is an all time favourite. It is always packed on weekends. Patrons patiently wait for at least half an hour each time for their bowl of laksa.

Some of the other best delicacies which you must try include BBQ Spring Chicken, Ikan Panggang etc. You are also recommended to go to Rubber Road to this coffee shop that sells fried prawn pancakes to be eaten dipped in chilli sauce, fried fritters, meatballs etc. The owner used to have their stall at the old Rex cinema.

For a taste of seafood, the popular spots among tourists is the many open air seafood stalls called Top Spot Seafood Restaurants located on the 6th floor of Ting Pek Khiing parking lot. Diners get to choose the freshest live seafood wherein they will cook it on the spot for you.

If you want to get out of the city, you are recommended to go to Bako. There, located in a malay fishing village are 2 chinese restaurants which serve equally good seafood dishes. You will also have a chance to visit a Chinese temple nearby on top of a hill. The temple is just 5 minutes walk away from the restaurants. When you reach the top of the hill, you get to see a breath-taking view of South China Sea that stretches as far as the eyes could see.

One specialty dish that can only be found in Kuching is oir-cien. It is flour deep fried with eggs and oysters until crispy and served piping hot in the shape of a curved big round plate. You eat it by breaking it into smaller pieces and dipping it in soya sauce sprinkled with pepper. My highest recommendation for THE place to eat this is at Top Spot Restaurants at Bukit Mata No. 9 stall. Go check it out!

So all in all, your stay in Kuching is bound to be a gastronomical affair that will keep you energized for your long tour there. You also will definitely pack up a few more pounds by the time you want to go home. That I can GUARANTEE You!

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Bird’s Nest

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Shopping

unprocessed-nest-from-birdhouse

If you are thinking that bird’s nest is something to observe and admire, well, you are in for a surprise. It is actually a type of traditional soup popular in this part of Asia especially among the Chinese population in Sarawak. It is prepared from the nest of Swiftlets- a kind of bird found in Sarawak and is said to contain high nutritious value due to its composition of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. The bird’s nests may not seem as attractive as other dishes available, but for those who believe in this exotic delicacies ability to promote long life and good health it’s worth its every cents of value.

There are two types of nests of Swiftlets- the black nest and the white nest. These birds make their nests in caves or on high walls of a bird house. The bird secrets a sticky solution from their salivary glands, which later solidifies to form the nest for their young ones. Once they grow up, the nests are of no use for the birds. To man they are a commodity so valuable that they are known as white gold.

The seaside caves in Sarawak forms the natural habitat of the swiftlets. However, today people have realized the profits of rearing bird’s nest. The nests build in artificial conditions of birdhouses are much cleaner as compared to those found in caves. Most of the cultivation is in the urban area besides the sea. While harvesting, it is important that there are no babies or eggs in the nest.

Unprocessed white bird's nest from birdhouse

Unprocessed white bird's nest from birdhouse

The white nests are more in demand as they are made solely out of the saliva of these birds, while the black nest is mixed with feathers, insects and twigs. As such they require a lot more time and effort to clean. Both these varieties of nests are soaked overnight and then cleaned before consumption.

After harvesting and subsequent cleaning, these nests are bought by restaurants where it is served with chicken broth. Usually the soup is not quite savoury but when mixed with sugar it tastes nice. However, its demand is not due to the flavor but because of its capacity to dissolve phlegm, proper renal functioning, prolong beauty and suppressing cough. The Chinese have been consuming Bird’s Nest soup for four centuries now.

So come and have a taste of Bird’s Nest soup and you would want to have it often. You can have it either sweet or savoury. The preferred one among visitors is the savoury one which is prepared along with mushrooms, chicken breasts at times ham and eggs.

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2 Lovely Maidens

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Kuching Gallery

2-lovely-maidens

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Arm Wrestling

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Kuching Gallery

Malay Beauty

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