It’s your choice…

On their first night in Sibu, my West Malaysian friends from KL came here

Hai Bing Seafood

…for dinner.

I was told that they walked for around an hour from the vicinity of the Tua Pek Kong Temple looking for the place when it is just around 100 metres from the hotel where they were staying and if they were walking back from the temple, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. That is the problem when you depend on those modern-day appliances, Waze or whatever you call it – they should have looked at the map(s) that I had printed for them and they would be able to see it there. As a matter of fact, I did suggest this place to them in the itinerary that I prepared for them.

They loved the crabs…

Hai Bing crabs

…of course, so very cheap they said, compared to prices in KL and they had TWO plates – one in their signature recipe, fried with egg and leek and what not, one style that they can’t find back home, they said and the other with black pepper.

They had see ham (cockles) and siput sedut (balitongs)…

Hai Bing siput sudut

…too and they loved them to bits!

For the vegetable dishes, they had their cangkok manis fried with egg and they actually liked the one here more than the one we had on their last day in town. Other than that, they had their midin, of course…

Hai Bingidin with belacan

According to them, they can’t get these two over in KL.

I did suggest to them that should they happen to come here, they must order the drunken prawns…

Hai Bing drunken prawns

…with those giant freshwater big-head prawns/udang galah but it looked like it fell on deaf ears. I had that once and I enjoyed it a lot but of course, that dish would not come cheap, not with those killer prawns!

Well, even without the latter, dinner did not come cheap – over RM400 for the 7 of them but they felt it was absolutely worth it and I am pretty sure that if they had a chance, they sure would want to come back here agian.

HAI BING SEAFOOD RESTAURANT is located right beside Eden Inn (2.285223, 111.831256), to the left, along Jalan Maju, right across the road from the Rejang Esplanade.

What did you do…

Back to my West Malaysian friends from KL who were in town the other day, they were left to their own devices most of the time so I did not really know what mischief they were up to while they were gallivanting all over town.

From the posts that they shared on Facebook, it seemed that they were extremely fascinated by everything at the Sibu Central Market and they enjoyed some of the stuff that they tried at the hawker centre on the 1st floor and they seemed to have fallen head over heels in love with our Sibu Foochow dianpianngu, there at the hawker centre and also at the celebrated place of origin here and also here.

They had lunch here and dinner here and though they felt that some of the dishes were nice, they were not exactly overwhelmed by them. That was why I was wondering if I had made the right decision in insisting on bringing them here for lunch on their final day in town.

Nobody said anything about the pandan chicken…

Ruby pandan chicken

…so I guess it was all right and I did not see anybody getting excited about the butter scotch prawn balls…

Ruby butter scotch prawn balls

…the favourite of many here, either. It appeared to me that they were not all that fond of dishes that were sweet and I could jolly well guess that that was the reason.

We also had the grilled lamb with the very nice lime and mayo sauce…

Ruby grilled lamb with lime & mayo sauce

– one dish that I do enjoy very much around here.

Somebody commented that the cangkuk manis fried with egg…

Ruby cangkok manis with egg

…was not as nice as one place that they went to on their first night in town (coming right up in my next post) but the rest were fine with it. I would agree to some extent that it was not as nice as before – the leaves, for one, were kind of old and I was somewhat put off by that and the eggs looked rather dull, like they had added some kind of sauce or whatever, not nice and yellow. Even my missus felt that same way the last time we were here.

They loved the midin, ching chao (fried plain with garlic)…

Ruby midin ching chao

…though and personally, I did not think the fried mee sua

Ruby fried mee sua

…was all that great that day. One of the ladies does not eat pork so I had asked for the meat to be left out and perhaps, they did not use lard to cook either and probably, that made all the difference. I certainly had very much nicer fried mee sua here on some of my earlier visits.

They all loved the tauhu tear, the Foochow-style tofu soup cooked with canned oysters…

Ruby tofu soup

…and their own-made tofu…

Ruby own-made tofu

…was a hit. They said it tasted so good, with its light hint of hay bee (dried prawns) and it was nice enough on its own, no need for any mayo or sauce.

Well, at least, there were hits and misses so on the whole, it wasn’t too bad, after all. The total for the food for the 8 0f us came up to RM195.00, including one dish of Foochow fried noodles that I did not order and I asked for it to be packed for me to take home and no, if it is Foochow fried noodles that you want, I would suggest that you go some place else – theirs isn’t the best around, that much I would say.

On their final night here, they went here for the super expensive prawn noodles (The last I heard, it was already RM45.00 a bowl – word had it that they had to fork out a whooping RM80 for that!!!) and their chao chai hung ngang (noodles in preserved vegetable fish soup which they actually liked more than the prawn mee) and here for the super super expensive empurau aka wang poo liao (unforgettable), steamed, before flying back the very next morning.

They came to Sibu with individual suitcases, all quite empty and after 4 days/3 nights, they went back to KL with all of them packed to the brim plus at least three extra styrofoam boxes filled with frozen fish and prawns and what not and their hand-carried luggage! They had to buy extra baggage for all that! And of course, they ate A LOT too while they were here but they did not manage to eat everything – too many things, too little time! Now, who says there is nothing in Sibu?

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

They came from the city…

They came from the city, Kuala Lumpur, to our humble little town of Sibu, seven of them altogether…

My KL friends and I

One of them, Jenn, my blogger friend, contacted me to let me know and of course, I was delighted and offered to be their food and tour guide but she told me there would be seven of them. In the end, I prepared an elaborate itinerary for the 3 days when they would be here – where to go, what to eat, what to see but they would have to walk around on their own or call Grab since they can’t jolly well fit into my old jalopy, all of them.

On the day they arrived, I waited for them at the hotel and after they had checked in, we walked round the corner to the back to where else, if not here!

They brought along these goodies…

Goodies from KL 1

…for me…

Goodies from KL 2

…thank you so much. I must say that the heong peah in the first photograph (extreme left) was really good, a whole lot nicer than all that I had bought before from the bak kua shops in KL and elsewhere. The pastry was so very nice and flaky and the filling was moist and sticky, just the way I like it – the rest were all hard and dry! I’ve not tried the other things though – will probably save them all for Chinese New Year.

For our lunch, we had the pomelo salad…

Payung Cafe pomelo salad

…and the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…to start off and they enjoyed them both. They were particularly intrigued by the bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) petals and the buah kedondong leaves in the rojak.

I ordered the kacang ma chicken…

Payung kacang ma chicken

…for them to try, knowing that this Kuching Hakka specialty would be something they had never tried before. I was not in the least surprised that some of them did not like it and the rest weren’t exactly excited by it either. I guess this is an acquired taste and many will not like it the first time. As the Campari slogan goes, “The first time is never the best!” – if you can catch the drift. LOL!!! I did not eat it that day, of course, as they came on a Friday, my no-meat day, and that was why I did not order all the other very nice meat dishes.

On the other hand, they loved the Payung otak-otak

Payung otak-otak

…so much – in fact, they were so impressed by it that they immediately placed orders for some to take home and they were head over heels in love with the belimbing prawns…

Payung Cafe belimbing prawns

…too so much so that they kept going for the soup even after they had eaten all the crustaceans and they were full of praises for the mushroom roll…

Mushroom roll

…as well!

For dessert, I ordered their dreamy nite…

Dreamy nite

…and what a coincidence it was when it was served and this song came on right at that very moment! Talk about making a grand entrance. LOL!!!

We also had the favourite of many going back to my teenage years in the 70’s, the jelly pisang

Payung jelly pisang

Well, as expected, they enjoyed the lunch so much that even after they had left and gone elsewhere they were still talking about these Payung specialties that they had – obviously, they had left a lasting impression on their minds.

I asked them why they decided to come here, of all the places, especially when I have been asking everyone to come and visit but no, they are more keen on going elsewhere. Well, they said that one of them found out that the air fares were very cheap and asked the rest and on the spur of the moment, they decided to make the trip. Well, thank you so much to everybody for coming – it was great having you all here…and do come again sometime!

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Last one left…

This is the last post, just this one left, on my trip to Kuching in mid-December last year.

We walked past this Indian place…

Restoran Mahashafi, shop sign

…that morning before we went for our lovely brunch here.

The vadai looked really good and we bought 10 of them, 50 sen each…

Vadai

We rarely have this in Sibu, not so many Indians around, but we do get a good one sometimes. However, I think these days, ours is machine-blended so it is way too fine, so much so that we can’t see any of the dhal in it.

We tried one each and we loved it! Since we had planned ahead to go for brunch,  we did not eat anymore and in the end, we took them to our family reunion high tea at my aunt’s house – they were all snapped up in no time at all and anyone who had the chance to sample one said it was really good.

We went into the shop…

Restoran Mahashafi Kuching

…to look at the food and it did appear really good too. We were hoping we would be able to come back another day to eat there but we just simply did not have the time. I guess that would have to wait till our next trip to Kuching.

I did go back to the shop though before we came back to Sibu and I bought a whole lot of the vadai to bring back. Coincidentally, when I reached home, I got word from my friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, asking me to go and get some coconut mango…

Mangoes from Peter & Lim

…that they had plucked from the tree at his house so I gave him and our Indian friends some of the vadai to enjoy, saving only a few for ourselves. I don’t think I got to eat any, other than the one I had in Kuching – my girl ate them all, she loves them so much.

In the meantime, my good friend, Lim, dropped by to give me his mangoes – he also has a tree at his house, the long/oval ones. My missus took the red pulut hitam that I bought in Miri that day and cooked her version of the Thai mango sticky rice…

Mango pulut hitam

It was nice but I do prefer it with the regular pulut or glutinous rice. The red pulut hitam was not that sticky, best used to cook in its own way, not that suitable for this.

Thank you so much, Peter & Lim, for the lovely mangoes and I must thank Lim too for the goodies he brought back from his family trip to Sabah…and also for the serimuka that his mum made. He said that she was in town and his kids love serimuka but we can’t get any good ones here in Sibu so he was learning how to make it from her. Hmmm….when can I place my order, Lim? How much per tray? LOL!!!

RESTORAN MAHA SHAFI (1.559559, 110.344461) is located at 9.21, Jalan Barrack in Kuching to theleft from its junction with India Street, facing the left hand side of The Old Court House located right across the road.

One step away…

We were there a few times during our stay in Kuching for the simple reason that it was just one step away, so to speak, around 100 metres or so.

On our first morning there, I went for the kueh chap that I quite enjoyed but someone was telling me that the one at night with its stronger broth would be nicer.

I was there again another time with the ladies and my sis who had arrived in Kuching by then for the wedding and she and my missus had the kolo mee pok (flat noodles)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kolo mee pok

…while my girl had the kiaw, dry…

Lau Ya Keng kiaw, dry

…and yes, she loved it! They also ordered the kueh chap to share and we did finish it but nobody said anything about it though my missus did comment sometime later that it was not really to her liking – she did not elaborate as to the reason why. Personally, I thought it was quite good – to each his/her own, I guess!

The morning before we left Kuching, I went there again because I wanted to try the kolo mee (RM5.00)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kolo mee

…first hand for myself. It was o.k. but I did not think it was anything to shout about. Long long ago, way back in the 70’s, I used to drop by here for the kolo mee – the stall was where the Sarawak laksa stall is today and it was so very nice that everytime I was in the vicinity, I would stop for a bowl.

I had their kiaw, soup (RM8.00)…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kiaw, soup

…too and was somewhat shocked when told the price – I think it would work out to 80 sen A dumpling!.

This meat dumpling dish is something like our pian sip in Sibu but it has a lot more meat inside…

Lau Ya Keng, Kuching kiaw, close up

…not something that I would fancy especially when it was all lean minced meat so it was a little coarse.

I think there is more fat in the meat here in Sibu and they just smear a bit onto the skin like applying butter onto bread so when eating it, we are actually enjoying eating the smooth and slippery no-chewing-needed skin, not so much the meat. Even the taste of the soup base was not the same and all in all, I do prefer our good ol’ Sibu Foochow pian sip to the Kuching kiaw.

My girl went there later that same morning with the mum, my sis with some of my Kuching cousins and all the rest – she had the very popular meat porridge but she did not like it simply because it was what they told me, the Teochew style – the rice grains while softened from cooking, are still whole and not in an overly starchy state so it was not what she is accustomed to.

Earlier, I went back there again too – I think that was on Saturday, the day before – in the afternoon because I wanted to try the pork satay. The stall…

Lau Ya Keng pork satay and fish ball stalls

…only opens in the afternoon and boy, the place was packed!

There was not a single table available so I asked two sweet young things if I could sit with them and they did not mind it one bit. It turned out that one of them was from Kuching and both were working in Kuala Lumpur. The Indian girl was having the Sarawak laksa and no, I did not want to order that as someone, I can’t remember who it was now, told me to give it a miss. I asked the girl for her opinion and she confirmed that it would be better that I went for that elsewhere.

I ordered this bowl of fish balls, stuffed tofu and tang hoon (glass noodles) soup…

Lau Ya Keng fish ball tofu & tang hoon soup

…from the stall next to the pork satay one and YES!!! At least there is something that I wouldn’t mind going back there for – it was really very nice! I loved the dip and I really enjoyed it. Ah well! I always have this soft spot for clear soups so you may beg to differ, if thus inclined.

I can’t recall how much that was but I do remember that the satay was 80 sen per stick and you will have to order in multiples of 5…

Lau Ya Keng pork satay with ketupat

…and I would not want 10, that for sure. I asked for a bit of the ketupat too – I always love that with my satay, if and when available.

Unfortunately, despite all the fave reviews, I did not think the satay was all that nice. I felt the peanut sauce tasted different from the usual ones we would get here, there and everywhere or maybe it so happened that they burnt it a bit that day so even the colour was a bit different from photos of it that I had seen elsewhere.  It was all right, edible but not something that would get  me all that excited about, thank you very much.

LAO YA KENG (1.558573, 110.345601) is located at No. 19, Carpenter Street, Kuching.

Mooo…

I heard of this place on my last trip to Kuching – they said the beef noodles were nice but I did not have the chance to go and try as it was a little out of the way from where I was staying and even more so where I was staying on my recent trip to the city. Why! I read somewhere that it even has a branch in Uptown PJ, Selangor.

Much to my delight, I spotted this stall…

MOOnCUP BY NUROMEN, Plaza Merdeka, Kuching

…on the lower ground floor of the mall adjoining the hotel so of course, I just had to stop by to give it a try.

For the uninitiated, nuro (牛肉/niúròu) means beef and men (面/miàn) means noodles so nuromen (牛肉面/niúròu miàn) actually means beef noodles.

I asked for the beef noodles special (RM10.50)…

MOOnCUP by Nuromen, Kuching beef noodles special

…and got the very nice kolo mee-like noodles, kosong (empty/without meat)…

Mee kosong

…and this lovely beef soup…

Beef soup

…which had quite  a lot of beef, beef tripe and tendons in it…

Beef, tripe and tendons

The chili dip was great and on the whole, I sure did like it a lot more than the Ah Mui beef noodles that I had at one of their current outlets – we so loved the old man’s beef noodles at the Open Air Market in Kuching a long long time ago, way back in the 70’s!

As I was leaving, I noticed this sign…

Sign

My missus did buy some hay peah (prawn fritters) from a stall in the food court on the 3rd floor and took some back to the room and yes, we thought it was really good, as nice as Peterson’s which some say is not so nice these days, not like before.

Of course I bought some…

Hay peah

…for my girl and the mum to try and yes, the hay peah was just as good and cheaper too plus there was a lot of crushed peanut in the chili dip – there wasn’t any in the one they bought earlier.

I sure would not mind stopping by for the beef noodles and/or hay peah should I happen to be passing by this way again.

MOOnCUP BY NUROMEN is located on the Lower Ground Floor of the Plaza (1.558279, 110.344049) at No. 88, Jalan Pearl in Kuching.

Love it here…

After the somewhat disappointing brunch the day before, I told my girl that I would take her to some place really nice when she woke up the next morning. Since we were on some kind of holiday, we would want to go for the best around, not some mediocre stuff that would come nowhere near the things we would be able to get back home.

I was here before but only for the cakes and even though the tea ceremony would be held there the very next day, I did not expect anything too elaborate served for the buffet brunch or lunch.

I dropped by a day earlier to find out what they would have on their breakfast menu but they said they did not have one. Nonetheless, all that they had on their regular menu would be available from 10.00 a.m. onwards – that’s when they open for business.

So there we were that morning, past 10.00, almost eleven and yes, my girl was so fascinated with the place and had her photographs taken here, there and everywhere and once she was done, we settled down at a table…

Commons, Kuching

…and placed our orders.

She had their pineapple ginger iced tea (RM10.00)…

Commons, Kuching pineapple ginger iced tea

…and not only did it look great, it tasted really great too and she loved it! I was quite happy with my iced Americano (RM10.00) that you can see in the background in the photograph.

The mum had their apple ginger mojito (RM12.00)…

Commons, Kuching apple ginger mojito

…and never the adventurous type, she went for what she would usually go for at such places if they have that on their menu, the mee mamak (RM22.00)…

Commons, Kuching mee mamak

…and she was surprised that the yellow noodles were quite different from our bigger alkaline-free ones in Sibu. Well, there was no complaint from her after that so I guess it was all right.

My girl enjoyed her patty melt (RM30.00)…

Commons, Kuching patty melt

…very much while I went for the fish & chips, sea bass (RM38.00)…

Commons, Kuching fish and chips

…the instant I saw in the menu that it wasn’t dory and yes, it was really good.

We were already very full by the time we finished so we only ordered a slice of their carrot cake (RM14.00)…

Commons, Kuching carrot cake

…to share and yes, that was good too!

At the tea ceremony the next day, the buffet spread included one Indonesian-style chicken with its very nice sambal to go with it, chicken bolognese spaghetti, sweet & sour fish fillet and pineapple fried rice and for dessert, we had carrot cake, a somewhat simpler one than the one we had the day before with a finer texture, no cream but it was nice too, plus a free flow of iced drinks and tea and coffee.

I could not resist ordering their basque burnt cheesecake (RM14.00) which was sold out and not available the day before and their lemon meringue pie (RM14.00)…

Commons, Kuching burnt cheesecake and lemon meringue pie

The latter was very nice but the former was like the usual no-bake cheesecake minus the crust at the bottom plus the burnt layer on top, not something that I would enjoy. My girl said that she had that at a coffee place in Sibu and that was what it should be like – nothing like the one I had where the cake was something like the Japanese baked cotton cheese cake but that would be something right down my alley.

Well, we sure enjoyed our brunch that morning and that afternoon, we had high tea at my auntie‘s house, a family reunion of sorts and of course, there were lots to eat but unfortunately, I forgot to take any photographs there so there will not be any post on it.

COMMONS (1.559665, 110.344973) is located at the Old Court House, Jalan Tun Abg Haji Openg, facing the Kuching waterfront.

Walking in the dark…

I would usually go to bed early, at around 9.00 p.m. and get up at around 4 or 5 when it is still dark. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy and wise, so they say.

However, when I was in Kuching, I did not call it a day that early, past 10 or later and yet, I would wake up at around that same time. That was why I could go out and walk around in the dark in search of something I could try for my pre-breakfast breakfast.

The first morning there, I had the kueh chap at Lao Ya Keng and the second morning, I went around the area to see what else I could find. This one…

Duck mee coffee shop

…was open and looking at what was available at the stall in front, much to my delight, I saw that they had duck noodles!

I loved the duck kolo mee at Sg Tenggang, a little bazaar along the road from Kuching to Sibu so of course, I wasted no time in ordering that…

Duck kolo mee Carpenter Street Kuching

I can’t remember how much that was now – I think it was RM4.50-5.00 – things are not as cheap as in Sibu there. The duck was fine but they tossed the noodles in the gravy from cooking the braised duck so it drowned out the kolo mee taste plus it was way too strong on the ginger and I did not really enjoy it. In the end, I just finished the meat and left most of the noodles behind.

There was a lane beside the shop and there were a kueh chap and a chicken rice stall there and tables and chairs laid out for customers to sit and eat. I did not bother about those, of course.

I did notice this coffee shop…

Nyan Shin Cafe Kuching

…at the corner of Carpenter Street and China Street that morning because of the lovely blue windows and all the plants around them…

Blue windows

One of my cousins told me the following day that their traditional Hakka handmade noodles from this stall there…

Traditional Hakka handmade noodles stall

…was nice so I went back on another morning to give it a try…

Nyan Shin Cafe, Kuching traditional Hakka handmade noodles
*Oopsss!!! Sorry for the blurry pic!*

I can’t remember how much that was either, probably the same as the duck mee and I also asked for a bowl of the kiaw, dry…

Nyan Shin Cafe, Kuching kiaw

…or what we call pian sip in Sibu except that they only look the same – the ones here had more meat and all lean, it seemed so it was kind of “coarse”. Other than that, perhaps it was the preparation, the ingredients added and maybe the texture of the skin as well so it did not taste the same either. My girl had this at Lao Ya Keng and she liked it – as for me, I think I would stick to our good ol’ Sibu pain sip.

I saw that they had mutton noodles at the stall and later, somebody told me that it was nice, and their beef noodles too but I did not have time to go back and try. Another time perhaps!

The duck mee coffee shop (1.558132, 110.34614) is two doors to the left of Ann Lee Restaurant along Carpenter Street in Kuching, separated from the Kuching Hainan Association to its left by a small lane and Nyan Shin Cafe (1.558215, 110.345923) is located to the right at the corner, at the junction of the aforementioned street and China Street. 

Little things…

On our 2nd night in Kuching, my cousin, the sister of the one whose daughter was getting married – I met the groom-to-be for the first time that night,  invited us to dinner here…

Little Chef Garden, Kuching

Her son and daughter in Perth, Australia and their families were all coming back for the wedding so she was throwing this huge welc0me home party for them and asked us to join in too.

I loved the fish…

Fish

…and the prawns…

Prawns

…and needless to say, the braised pork trotter…

Pork leg

…too, served with steamed mantao.

The tofu was great…

Tofu

…as well and the midin kerabu

Midin

…was a hit!

There was also this soup…

Soup

…but no worries! It looked like it, it tasted like it but it wasn’t it! There wasn’t any of that not-be-mentioned thing in it. I still see people having that in their dinner menu though and honestly, I do think it is so foolish to do that as because of that one dish with hardly any of the tasteless stuff, just a few miserable strips swimming in the soup, the bill for the whole dinner would be so very expensive!

The cousins’ children loved the Emperor mee

Emperor mee

…so they also had that but personally, it did not really overwhelm me.

The flight that the son and his family and in-laws were taking from KL that night was delayed so there were a few vacant seats at the tables and a lot of food leftover and they had to get it all packed for them to take home.

The grand-daughter, the daughter’s girl, was celebrating  her 4th birthday and they got this very nice cake…

Birthday cake

…and presents for her and all the party noisemakers and the commotion that ensued left her stunned and speechless – I guess living on their own Down Under, she was more accustomed to all the peace and quiet all around, devoid of all of us noisy and boisterous people all around. LOL!!!

The mango cheese cake was so very very nice, something like the Japanese baked cotton cheese cake and with the delightful cream, I simply could not resist a second serving, can’t remember if I had a third!

Thank you so much, Tina, for the inviting us to join the delightful dinner and thank you also for the buah tangan

Buah tangan

– the kueh chap and the hong choi peah – both were really very nice.

LITTLE CHEF GARDEN (1.506096, 110.361964) is located in this new area in Kuching called Saradise – you can go in to that lane on your left via Jalan Saradise, off Jalan Stutong.

Stone cold…

Back to my Kuching posts, another of my maternal cousins invited us to dinner that 2nd night there and after our brunch earlier that morning, we did not want a heavy lunch as we were saving tummy space for the scrumptious feast that awaited us. That was why we just went to check out this place…

Stone Ice, Plaza Merdeka Kuching

…on the lower ground floor of the mall adjoining the hotel where we were staying.

Initially, I was wondering why it was thus named – Stone Ice but later, it dawned on me that it was actually the direct translation of the Malay term for ice, air batu.

We tried the ABC or air batu campur special (RM6.00)…

Stone Ice Kuching ABC

…that I ordered to share. It had cendol, red beans, cincau (black jelly)…

Stone Ice Kuching What's in the ABC

…and whatever else inside but no, it did not get us jumping with delight. I think if that is what one wants, the best place to go to in Kuching would be here. Word has it though that their branch at Satok has been taken over by someone else and the quality has gone down.

My girl and the mum had their Sarawak laksa (RM8.00)…

Stone Ice Kuching Sarawak laksa

…and according to them, at best, it was edible – not anything they would want to have again and if it is authentic and truly great Sarawak laksa, maybe you would want to go for the one here.

I do believe that generally, the rule of thumb is you will need to know where to go for the best of anything and all you can get at shopping malls and food courts…and for that matter, upscale cafes like the one here and at the hotels as well, will be some more expensive, half-baked versions of the real thing that may be nice but not quite there, not really like the real thing!

I also ordered this sotong kangkong RM10.00)…

Stone Ice Kuching sotong kangkong

…and yes, that was all right and I had the belacan bihun (RM8.00)…

Stone Ice Kuching belacan bihun

…which I swore I would never want to eat again after the first time here.

Now, why on earth did I go and order that again, you may ask? That was simply because I seemed to notice that this is the favourite of many in Kuching and many would be dying to come home to appease their craving for it…and I wanted the two ladies to try.

Well, my fears were confirmed – they did not like it at all and since I had ordered it already, I might as well eat it myself. I squeezed the juice of the calamansi lime over it and mixed the prawn paste and chili with everything in the bowl and ate…and I actually thought it was quite nice after all! I sure wouldn’t mind going for it again sometimes.

This STONE ICE outlet is located on the lower ground floor of the award-winning Plaza Merdeka (1.558279, 110.344049) at No. 88, Jalan Pearl in Kuching.