Kuching may not be known as a gourmet's paradise, but there are some must-try eats unique to Kuching. There's the famous export that's kolo mee. And there's Sarawak laksa, which, despite its name, isn't really laksa at all.
As we only had one afternoon to try all that Kuching had to offer, we asked the hotel concierge for suggestions as to where he thought was the best Sarawak laksa. After a lengthy discussion with the bell porter and taxi driver, we were sent to this old-school coffee shop, just minutes away from the hotel. The coffee shop was filled with local Kuchingites having lunch, a sure sign of authenticity.
The Sarawak Laksa (RM$5.50 for large) is really more like our local mee siam, but totally unique and unlike anything we've ever had. The prawn stock base was spiced up by sambal belachan base and cut with sour tamarind and lemongrass, which gives it its sourish spicy flavours, reminiscent of mee siam, but with a nutty, smoky accent. Strips of omelette, fresh prawns and crunchy beansprouts were added for texture to the rice vermicelli.
The stall front, this is possibly the only place that one can actually get a full meal for under S$2.50.
The Kolo Mee (RM$2.80) was totally unlike the kolo mee available in Singapore, which I've personally thought was such a poor imitation of wanton mee. This was actually delicious from the first mouthful. Egg noodles were flash boiled, then tossed in peanut oil, garlic, shallots and white vinegar, and served with pork slices, pork balls, minced pork, barbecued pork and prawns. This was so yummy in its simplicity. It had such clean, clear and mild flavours.
I liked the Fresh Meat Kway Teow (RM$3.50) even more, due to its very delicate and light flavours.
The stall front, please remember to come early to avoid disappointment. We were told that they sometimes sell out by 11am!
There was also a stall selling popiah so we thought we'd try one. This Popiah (RM$2.20) was really very well done.
Ingredients were, by and large, the same as the ones in Singapore, save for the addition of red beans for that nutty flavour.
The coffeeshop facade, it's apparently quite famous. When I told my friend that we had laksa, kolo mee and popiah at some coffee shop, he immediately referred to this exact coffee shop!
Choon Hui Cafe
Choon Hui Coffee Shop
Jalan Ban Hock