All Malaysians are foodies. Ask a local where to get the best rojak or Sarawak Laksa and they will tell you. Ask what is the best dish in this resaturant or food stall? Once again they will immediately answer you, or have an animated conversation with others at the table as they try to reach a consensus about ‘the best’.
Sarawak makes if very clear as to the grade each café or restaurant has with large A. B. or C letters on green, orange or red! A bus driver taking a group of media people ( here for the annual Rainforest World Music Festival )around the city suggested we visitors would be better to eat at places with A and B’s – however, I ate at all and had no tummy problems in my 8 weeks in the region.
Returning to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, after staying at an Iban longhouse (on the beautiful Batang Ai lake) on the my driver tells me ‘Go to stall number 25 at Topspot. That’s the one I always go to and I always have the wonderful omelette with oysters.”
A local radio station reporter introduces me to ‘the best laksa in China Street.’ We walk under Harmony Arch on Jalan Carpenter where, directly opposite the Sang Ti Miao temple, is an unpretentious but very busy Chinese hawker food hall. She is right! The laksa served there was wonderful and for the rest of my 8 weeks in East Malaysia it became the standard I used to compare various dishes of Sarawak Laksa.
For recipes about the great dish see these web pages – both here and again here. I will be interested to see what the Facebook group, Kuching food critics, and Malaysian friends, have to say about the recipes.
I have heard Sarawak Laksa being referred to as the “great Borneo breakfast” as that’s when this noddle dish with it’s spicy and sour shrimp paste and coconut gravy, is served – unlike in Singapore or peninsula Malaysia ( or New Zealand!) where it’s usually a lunch or evening meal!
On my last days in Kuching its time for the annual, 3-week, Kuching Festival Fair, where many concerts and exhibitions are held, it seems the food fair -with some 220 food and or drink stalls – is the main attraction. There for the first night, it was good to watch the fireworks as they exploded nosily, and colourfully above us.
With a city of foodies, the Sunday market, Medan Niaga Satok, is a must-visit for locals and travelers alike. Many of the stalls are open every day, so just hop into a taxi and say “Sunday market’ on any day of the week and your driver will take you straight there!