Kuching Restaurants and Dining

(Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia)

According to the World Health Organisation, Kuching is an exemplary example of a healthy city. No doubt, the variety of fresh vegetables and fruit and the traditional Sarawak cuisine is partly responsible, as is the melting pot of diverse dining available in city eateries.

From the top-class restaurants in the upscale hotels through the pricey specialist haunts for those with deep pockets, to the street and market stalls, food courts and ethnic dining venues, visitors to the city of Kuching need never go hungry, whatever their budget. Eating out at restaurants in Kuching is a way of life for local people, and the many unique Malaysian specialties are a delicious new experience for visitors.

What to Eat, and Where

Sarawak has just under 30 ethnic groups, each with their own culinary traditions and dining preferences. Major cuisines in Kuching include Malay, Indonesian, Korean, Chinese and Indian, all enhanced with regional nuances which make the city a gourmet's paradise.

A unique feature of local cuisine is the use of forest ferns as vegetables and aromatic leaves for flavoring. 'Sarawak laksa' is available everywhere and is a hot-sour soup with prawns, coriander, lime, bean sprouts and omelette strips. Another favourite is 'kolok mee' - egg noodles tossed in black vinegar and 'char sieu' sauce, with barbecued pork slices. Here, noodle dishes are eaten for breakfast.

Due to its large Hokkien Foochow and Teochew community, Chinese food in Kuching is excellent, with Foochow dishes using red rice wine for its inimitable flavour. In the downtown and riverbank areas, visitors will find a good selection of international dining available, including both Italian and Japanese restaurants.

A few eateries serve Iban dishes, with a favourite being 'pansoh manok' - chicken with lemongrass cooked in a bamboo section over a fire, resulting in beautifully tender meat perfumed with bamboo and lemongrass. Seafood dishes in Kuching restaurants are especially delicious, with the Melanau dish 'umai' - a simple salad of raw fish, shallots, lime juice and chillies, being one of the city's best loved treats.