We were in Kuching over the weekend to attend a friend's wedding. It's the first time we've ever been to Kuching, or Sarawak (Kuching is its capital city), or Borneo (Sarawak is one of the 2 states on the island of Borneo). Heck, we've never even been to East Malaysia (consisting the island of Borneo which is split into the 2 states of Sabah and Sarawak, and Labuan).
Like I told my friend, I would never go to Kuching if not for his wedding. Hey, I'm not dissing Kuching okay. It's just that I'm not the kind of person who'd go to a place like that. I just don't like the rainforest. Which is in lush abundance in Sarawak. I'd rather go to the beach. Grab a book, a wide-brimmed hat, slap on copious amounts of sunscreen, and laze beside the pool all day.
Despite all that my friend's told me (he claims that Kuching is just one big kampong), Kuching isn't filled with kampongs. It's doesn't look any different from Johor, or Ipoh. Definitely a slower pace of life than Singapore. But with its own commercial vibe. There seems to be a large Chinese community here, very similar to Penang and Malacca, and most Chinese here predominantly speak Hokkien, as opposed to Cantonese in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.
Despite being a really short weekend trip, this was still a really good trip. It was a whirlwind of events from the time we stepped off the plane to the time we sleepwalked back on board for the 1-hour flight home.
Because our flight was delayed, we had to head straight to the church where the ceremony was already underway, luggage in tow. We didn't miss much. Catholic Church wedding ceremonies are quite long, so we got to see the couple exchange their vows. The thing about churches in Kuching is that they aren't air-conditioned. Luckily, I was in a thin, cool dress. The poor Fiance though, he was in a long-sleeved shirt and sweating like crazy.
We all headed back to the groom's parents' home for the buffet reception. Because the reception area was similarly without air-conditioning, we were just too uncomfortable to eat much. We thought we'd just get some room service at the hotel after we checked in.
Pullman is the newest hotel opened in the "Golden Triangle" of Kuching, near the waterfront where most of the action takes place. My rule of thumb when staying in a hotel in Malaysia, is that it should be relatively new, and belong to a reputable hotel chain. The hotel was clean, spacious (the bathroom was huge, and with an expansive view of the waterfront) modern and very comfortable.
The room service, despite being very limited, had a bunch of good stuff. We had the Wah Tan Hor (RM$21.80), which is basically like our local hor fan. However, this was way better than most of our hor fan. The gravy was the winning factor, deep, rich, thick and with silky egg drops. The Fiance proclaimed this the "best hor fan" he's ever had. Baby bak choy, Chinese black mushrooms, fish, prawns, chicken breast and squid lent texture and flavour.
I had the Pullman Fried Rice (RM$20.80), which is like nasi padang. A sunny-side up egg, chicken and beef satay, fried chicken wing, sambal prawns were plated alongside a spiced fried rice, while pickles and fish crackers served as accompaniments. The fried rice may not look like much, but that was the star of the dish, it was nicely flavoured, a little spice, a little peppery, a little stock. The rest of the meats were just so-so, passable but not memorable.
We shared the Malaysian Satay (RM$32.80), a dozen beef and chicken satays, with traditional condiments of compressed rice, cucumbers, pickles and paysanne cut onions.
Breast meat was used for the chicken, so it was drier than the ones we are used to. Still, it was reasonably moist. The Fiance didn't like this though, he only likes the ones which use thigh meat and usually dripping in oil and fat.
The beef was moist, tasty and fairly tender.
Pullman Kuching Hotel
1A Jalan Mathies