Places to Eat in Kuching
There are many new dishes that you can try in Kuching that you probably haven’t sampled elsewhere in Asia, or even in Malaysia. As well as these traditional dishes, many other cuisines are popular in the area, including Thai classics, Singaporean, Indonesian and Chinese meals and flavours. There is also plenty of Western food available for those who aren’t feeling so adventurous, whether that’s staples like pizza and pasta on restaurant menus or fast food options like KFC and McDonalds amongst others.
What to try
When it comes to local specialities that you should try while in Kuching, the first and foremost is sarawak laksa – a laksa dish that’s very particular to this area. It features flavours including sambal, tamarind, galangal, garlic and lemongrass, with coconut milk used as the base whilst omelette, chicken and prawns make up the main bulk of the meal. There are various versions, normally all based on this traditional combination of ingredients and it has a distinctive and tasty flavour.
Kolok mee is another specialty, an egg noodle dish served with various meats (usually pork or chicken). Manok pansoh is a popular chicken with rice dish cooked over an open fire, whilst manok kacangma is a Chinese variant.
If you’re looking for budget friendly dining, there are some good spots to check out during your time in Kuching. The Open Air Market, located near to the police station, sells Malay and Chinese street food, with dumpling and noodle stalls the most popular - and therefore the busiest and safest choice.
There is also a food court that sells cheap priced food near the Harmony Arch, with popular budget dishes here including the fish ball soup and pork satay.
Other spots selling low priced local cuisine are Hock King Cafeteria, Bishopsgate Coffee Shop and Tumis – generally the most wallet friendly food will be local Malay or Chinese.
For a slightly more upmarket sit down meal, there are plenty of good mid range restaurants to choose from in Kuching. Good local food in this price range can be found at Tribal Stove, Khatulistiwa, and Oriental Kitchen.
Western and International Food
For Filipino food, there is the Pinoy Grill Cafe, whilst Thai meals can be had for decent prices at Mango Tree.
Sidewalk Cafe is slightly outside of the city but has a good menu with plenty of Western options, whilst there is also the Hong Kong Noodle House for Hong Kong traditional dishes. As you can see, there are plenty of international restaurants to pick from!
There are also several high end options if you want to splurge on a really good meal during your time in Kuching. Bla Bla Bla is interestingly named but well known for great Chinese food, especially the soft shell crab, whilst the Li Garden also has an excellent Chinese menu.
For quality Western food, try Ristorante Beccori for Italian or The Junk for a wider international menu. Neither will break the bank, but both offer good food and a pleasant dining experience.
The seafood at See Good Food Centre and Top Spot Food Court is excellent, and both places are worth trying - although do be careful to check prices on the menu as sometimes tourists can find themselves paying more than expected.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
Kuching is also home to many cafes and bars as well as its restaurants. Sarawak coffee must be tried and is served at many local coffee shops, whilst White Lady is another traditional non alcoholic drink that is made with condensed milk.
For casual drinks try Kilkenny’s, Junk Bar or the more upmarket Link - which offers some beautiful views over the city, or if you’re looking for a bigger night out then perhaps give Soho or MOJO@Denise a go. The nightlife can be fairly rowdy so do exercise a bit of caution if you’re out late drinking.