Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kuching Makanathon

3 - 5 May 2013

I stopped by in Kuching on my way home to Sibu during my last semi-annual leave, arriving at Woodpecker Lodge at Jalan Chan Chin Ann slightly past mid-night. For the next two and a half days, I went around Kuching, wherever my foot could take me.

Hong Hing Cafe, Jalan Abell (N1 33.428 E110 21.296)

Early morning on 3rd May, I strolled along Jalan Abell close to where I stayed. I stumbled upon Hong Hing Cafe and saw quite a number of patrons there. Where there were many patrons, there would be good food. I decided to take the logical step of entering the cafe and ordered Kolok Mee (noodle).

I visited Hong Hing again on 5th May to see whether I could find something else for breakfast.

Open Air Market in front of Electra House, Power Road (N1 33.549 E110 20.547)
The Open Air Market was where we used to go almost every time when we went to town from our school at Petra Jaya back in the early 1980s. We always ordered Da Mee (dry noodle), which I only learnt many years later was actually called Kolok Mee. I could still feel the after-taste of Kolok Mee now. At that time, it was always colourless. Nobody heard of red-tossed Kolok Mee at that time.

The Open Air Market was the place for hawker's food back then and it was always crowded with patrons. Now, the place is so quiet. Its decline started when the Chin Lian Long Bus Station adjacent to it was moved to Saberkas. In fact, businesses around the whole area declined due to this. By that time, I had left school already. Later the Sarawak Transport Company Bus Terminal at Lebuh Java was moved too, further contributing to the decline of this area.

The first stall near the Electra House entrance was the fried Kway Teow (flat rice noodle) stall. I could still remember the owner holding bundles of bean sprout and throwing them into the wok while stir frying the Kway Teow in soya sauce. I never ordered it then because he used so much oil and the colour of the Kway Teow was not appetising. His son has now inherited the business, i.e. the guy in the following picture. This would only be the second time I ordered fried Kway Teow from this stall. The first time was during our Food Trip to Kuching in October 2009.

At the other entrance, I saw the Sio Bee stall. Sio Bee is Siew Mai in the Chinese Hockkien dialect. I have always loved it but unfortunately the quality had deteriorated so much. There was not much pork used in the Sio Bee, probably because of the increasing price of meat.

Hong Garden, Lebuh Temple (near N1 33.394 E110 20.909)
Originally, I went to look for Laksa for breakfast at Chong Choon Cafe. It had not opened for business even at 9:00 a.m., and so I went in search of this Laksa shop. The first time I came here was in 2009. I found the Laksa very good with big fresh prawn. It was prepared by an old lady then. Now, the business has been taken over by a young couple. The Laksa was okay.

Chong Choon Cafe, Jalan Abell (N1 33.403 E110 21.323)
I read many times on blogs that the Laksa here was very good. From my Garmin gps unit, I knew it was close to where I was staying. After searching for it around the area, I finally found it. I was there early but the stall owner had not arrived, although his worker was there already. I came back later but by that time, the shop was crowded with patrons, and of course not all of them were his customers. I ordered Laksa but it was no better than the Laksa at Hong Garden.

On my second visit on 5th May for my last taste of Laksa before flying back to Sibu, I had hoped that the Laksa would turn out better. I was disappointed.

A Malay stall was selling kuih and also cooked stuff. The fried carrot cake looked appetising and I decided to order a plate. I was quite happy with it.

Chinese Barbecue Specialist, corner of Jalan Padungan/ Jalan Song Thian Cheok (N1 33.381 E110 21.237)

On the second day, I decided to have lunch here. The roasted pork and chicken hanging on the display shelf looked really tempting. It was quite good.

Sin Kwang Cafe, Jalan Padungan (N1 33.352 E110 21.341)
I was walking along Jalan Padungan towards the cat statue when I saw Sio Bee. I had to stop and gave it a try. It was so-so only.

Hong Kong Pau Cafe, Jalan Padungan (N1 33.226 E110 21.475)
As I continued strolling along Jalan Padungan towards the cat statue, I saw Hong Kong Pau Cafe. I was here with friends on our Food Trip to Kuching in 2009. At that time, we bought bags of buns to be brought back to Sibu. This time, I went for the Dim Sum. It was average only.

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