Kuching, the famous cat city is the capital city of Sarawak. Kuching is only 90 minutes flight away from Kota Kinabalu and the Kuching International Airport is only 15 minutes away from Kuching City Center. Kuching city center is compact and can be easily explored on foot or Sampan. Travelers can explore the charming old streets in Kuching or enjoy the beautiful Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building across the river while enjoying the many street foods around the city center.
On our first ever trip to Kuching, we enjoy lots of foods and shopping on a short 3d2n trip.
Our Discover Kuching Map
We stay at Grand Margherita which is located beside Sarawak river
Day 1: Check in at Grand Margherita
We reach the hotel at check-in our room at Grand Margherita The room is clean and the hotel is conveniently located. The cat statues is located at the road about right in front of the hotel. The exterior of the hotel looks old and dated but the interior is good.
The Cat Statue is located right in front of Grand Margherita. Lunch at Chong Choon Cafe
After refresh ourselves, we decide to try the famous food in Kuching: Sarawak laksa. The famous Poh Lam laksa is located at Chong choon cafe which is 10 minutes walk away from Grand Margherita.
The laksa almost sold out at 11am. There are also other food stalls at Chong Choon Cafe serving toasts, kolo mee and Pan Mee. it look like any typical KL Kopitiam with many food stalls but Poh Lam Laksa is the main attraction at Chong Choon Cafe.
Poh Lam Laksa, our first Sarawak Laksa at Kuching. Sarawak Laksa consists of rice vermicelli, omelet strips, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, prawns, fresh coriander and lime.
Stroll Around Jalan Pandungan
After having our Sarawak Laksa, we decided to walk to Pandungan Street. Pandungan street is built around the facinated1920s – the 1930s we are fascinated by the architectural details from the era. We find pastries, sundries, restaurant, coffee shop and souvenir shop along Pandungan Street.
One of the best place to buy Sarawak pepper is at Padungan street. White and black pepper in various packing and grade are available.
Eateries at Padungan street
If you looking to try some local Coffee Shop food, these are the Coffee shop along Padungan Street you must not miss. Ming Hong Kee – Famous for the porridge, Kolo Mee, Laksa and Char Siu Rice (Morning) Sin Poh Poh 新宝宝茶室 – Kampua Mee, Pork Leg Rice, Din Bian Hu (Fuzhou Rice Flour Stew) Noodles Descendent – Pork noodles Kuching style Abee Traditional Buns – Traditional pao and buns.
Sin Poh Poh Pork Leg Rice at Sin Poh Poh. Din Bian Hu at Sin Poh Poh. My first time trying this Fuzhou delicacy. Buns and pastries at Abee Traditional Buns
Noodle Descendent’s Pork Noodle
Cat Statue at Padungan Roundabout
Take a walk at Kuching Waterfront
After all the foods and walking, we take a rest at our hotel. We walk around the Kuching Waterfront which is just next to Grand Margherita and enjoy the scenery around the waterfront. Locals are using the sampan as their main transportation to cross the river. The ride across the Sarawak River costs only RM0.50
Jetty located near Grand Magherita. locals take turrns to board the sampan orderly. Life is so simple and peaceful at Kuching.
There are a various option of river cruise available if you decide to explore the river. More on the Sarawak River cruise on our 2nd day.
Dinner Day 1: Seafood at UTC Kuching
on our first-night dinner, we decide to have seafood for dinner. The most popular place for seafood in Kuching is located at UTC Building just across the road of Grand Margherita.
Top Spot Seafood Food Court is located on the 6th floor of UTC Kuching.
There are many Restaurants at Top Spot Seafood Food Court. Top Spot Seafood Food Court occupied a large space at UTC Kuching and crowded with lots of locals and tourists. Choose the food stall you want to order, make your order at the stall and the staff will guide you to their designated table.
Fresh seafood on display. No live seafood are available at Top Spot Seafood Food Court.
Kuching O Chien (Crispy Kuching Oyster Pancake). A good fried-o-chien is a must for O Chien lover and it’s very different from O Chien served in West Malaysia. A good Kuching O Chien should be golden and crispy, crunchy when u bite, like keropok, and not oily.
2nd-day Breakfast at Choon Hui Cafe 春园茶室
We woke up early and skip our breakfast at the Hotel to have our breakfast at the Choon Hui Cafe 春园茶室. Choon Hui Cafe serves one of the best Sarawak Laksa in Kuching. Choon Hui Laksa is made famous by Anthony Bourdain when he visited Choon Hui Cafe on both his trips to Sarawak.
Choon Hui laksa. I prefer Choon Hui Laksa over Poh Lam Laksa as the broth is thicker and flavorful.
We like the kolo mee and popiah at Choon Hui Cafe. One thing we don’t like about Coffee shop in Kuching is their coffee and tea is diluted and tasteless compare to KK style.
Explore Main Bazaar area and Carpenter street
Adjacent to the Waterfront, the Main Bazaar is the oldest street in the city and the heart of old Kuching. It has some superb examples of Chinese shophouse architecture, many of which have been occupied by the same family for generations.
We shops and bought our souvenirs at Main Bazaar.
Entrance to Carpenter street. Carpenter Street is like Kuching’s Chinatown and it’s part of Kuching’s Heritage Trail.
Old Buildings at the alley overlooking Sarawak State legistrative Assembly Building.
Black Bean Coffee serves many choices of roasted coffee. The gourmet coffee at Black Bean Coffee Coffee is good and cheap. You can smell the roasted coffee beans from few shops away.
Lunch/coffee at Old Court House
After walking around Carpenter street under the hot weather for few hours, we have our late lunch at the Old Court House. The Old Court House was built in 1871 and used to be the administrative center of Sarawak, but now been converted into F&B, entertainment, arts & culture hub. The Old Court House housed 3 restaurants: Commons, Mr Jiu Jiu and The Den
We had our lunch at Commons. Commons is a beautiful, spacious cafe with wide selection of cakes. Great place to chill and hang out for coffee and cakes. We highly recommend Commons as we love the ambiance and the cakes. Commons is directly facing the Square Tower at the Kuching Waterfront.
Darul Hana Bridge
After our lunch, we walk to Kuching Waterfront and explore the Darul Hana Bridge. Darul Hana Bridge is the latest landmark in Kuching connecting connect the Kuching Waterfront to the Astana and Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building. The structure of the 335m-long S-shaped bridge also contains elements of the Bidayuh community’s bamboo bridges with a futuristic design, supported by steel cables linked to two juxtaposed hornbill-topped towers.
View of Sarawak River and Kuching Waterfront fron Darul Hana Bridge
Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building view from Darul Hana Bridge
Kuching River Cruise
After a long and tiring walk, we decide to see Kuching from the boat (less walking)
There are few types of Kuching River Cruise available at the different jetty, each at different price and size. We choose this little wooden boat whick cost only RM17 per person (Minimum 2 persons to go)
There is also a bigger boat which has sails during the late evening offering buffet on board.
Brooke Dockyard along Sarawak River
The bigger Sarawak River Cruise offering sightseeing river cruise at 3pm and Sunset Cruise at 5.30pm. Sightseeing cruise cost RM50 per adult inclusive of tradition Sarawakian layered cakes (kuih lapis), free flow orange drinks and live commentary. Sunset Cruise cost RM65 inclusive of tradition Sarawakian layered cakes (kuih lapis), free flow orange drinks, live commentary and cultural performance.
Relaxing boat ride along Sarawak River overlooking Kuching City. A good moment to relax and enjoy the breeze.
Carpenter Street: Lau Ya Keng food court
After the river cruise, we walk back to Carpenter Street for more foods. One of the most popular spot for local food is at Lau Ya Keng Food Court. Lau Ya Keng Food Court is located opposite Sang Ti temple. The food court is owned and managed by Kuching Teochew Association.
Most food stalls here are run by second/third generation. The must-have food at Lau Ya Keng food court is Kueh Chap, pork satay and laksa. The famous Kueh Chap Stalls open at 2.30pm. There is another Kueh Chap open from morning to lunchtime.
The best Kueh Chap can be found at Lau Ya Keng Food Court.
Lau Ya Keng Food court opens from morning till night. The satay, kueh chap and the fishball soup is famous in the afternoon while in the morning Kolo mee
Sunset at Kuching Waterfront
After exploring Main Bazaar and Carpenter street, we walk back to our Hotel along the Kuching Waterfront and enjoy the breeze from Sarawak River.
Dinner at The Granary Kitchen + Bar
Kuching has a good selection of restaurants and cafes and we decide to have our dinner at The Granary Kitchen + Bar. This hidden restaurant is located at Wayang St, in an old warehouse that has been restored with industrial elements into a bustling restaurant and bar.
The place was quite empty when we arrived but became busier as we had our meal. We had Granary Guinness Burger and pork chop. Price is more pricy compared to Restaurant in Kota Kinabalu.
Daily live performances start from 8pm. The staff is attentive and ask for the comment of our foods. We have some issue with the pork chop and the staff come back and let us know that the dessert is on the house. 3rd Day: local breakfast
After having light breakfast at the hotel, we walk around Kuching city to explore some local food before leaving back to KK. We drop by Oriental Park at Gertak Lane which is famous for their Kolo Mee. There are 3 colors of Kolo mee depending on the customer’s preference, Red, Black and white sauce Kolo Mee. Red sauce is made using sauce from roasted bbq pork (Cha siu oil), black using the dark sauce and white sauce using only Light soy sauce; Pork lard ( rendered from pork skin above) and Shallot oil.
dark sauce ho fun
Since our flight is at 3pm, we drop by CityOne Megamall Kuching for some coffee. We were surprised to find Thaali, a Punjabi Restaurant in Kuching and even more surprised to know that it is the brainchild of “the spice queen” Jasbir Kaur, the finalist of Masterchef Asia S1.
Manage to meet Jasbir and her husband at Thaali, my lucky day!
the Thaali set which comprises of a meat dish with 2 types of veg and pickled veggies and comes with chapati. After the Punjabi food, we had our coffee and Earthlings Coffee workshop. They serve good quality gourmet coffee and I love their Iced Coffee. A glass of iced coffee before we leave Kuching. Kuching International Airport is only 10 minutes away from CityOne Megamall.
A 3 days 2 nights trip is enough to discover Kuching City. While we miss out more good foods Kuching got to offer, we will surely be back to Kuching again for short holiday and foods.
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