Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak on Borneo Island is food heaven. There are plenty of delicious food and drinks that are worth putting on the few extra kilos for.

In August, I went to Kuching for a retreat with some awesome people where we spent most of our time eating or planning our next meal. We would sacrifice our beauty sleeps for unnecessary suppers and wake up early hunting for delicious breakfasts. I guess this is how we Asians bond, through our love for food. 

Food in Kuching surprises me with the twist of taste to the familiar dishes I thought I knew. Here is a guide that I put together, the top 10 must-eat that you should add to your to-eat list when you’re in Kuching. 

1. Kolo Mee

Kuching Kolo Mee

Kolo Mee originates from Sarawak; it is the food that you cannot miss when you’re in Kuching. Kolo came from the Mandarin word, “Gan Lao” (干捞). And mee means noodle. The origin of this dish came from early Chinese immigrants who eventually settled in Sarawak. 

You have to choose between 2 flavourings, the plain one or the red which is coated with char siew sauce. The noodles used in Kolo Mee is more springy than the usual egg noodles and it is cooked with light soy sauce, pork lard, char siew (barbecue pork), minced pork and spring onion. 

Where to find? 

Noodle Descendant
No. 188, Jalan Padungan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

2. Kompia 

Kompia in Kuching

Kompia is also known as the Fuzhou Bagel brought into Sarawak by the Fuzhou early immigrants. This origin of this Kompia was dated back to the 16th century when a general by the name of Qi Jiguang who led a troop to fight the Japanese pirates. He noticed that the Japanese always knew where the soldiers were hiding out while making their meals due to the smoke. Hence he invented Kompia, a bagel snack that the soldiers can chain around their neck for a quick bite to gain some energy without being discovered by the Japanese pirates. 

Kompia in Kuching today is the improvised version of what the soldiers were eating back then. It is made of flour with sesame seeds sprinkled on top to add to the crunchiness. Then, after it is fried, it would be sliced in the middle where it is stuffed with well-marinated sweet savoury meat. This delicious snack is best eaten fresh and warm!. 

My eyes lit up when I sank my teeth into one; I acclaimed this as the best thing I ate in Kuching!

Where to find? 

Min Hong Kee
Lorong 14, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

3. Oyster Pancake

Oyster Pancake

When I first heard about oyster pancake, I had the image of the typical oyster omelette of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia in mind. I was pleasantly surprised to see a big wok-shaped dish presented in front of me. The crispy pancake skin with spring onions garnishing and the fresh juicy oysters were yummy! It also comes with a small bowl of dip made of soya sauce and a dash of pepper for extra flavouring. 

Where to find? 

Bla Bla Bla
27, Jalan Tabuan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

4. Shao Bao

Shao Bao

Shao bao is also known as oven-baked pork bun. A piping hot shao bao makes a great snack. 

This shao bao was an unexpected find for me. I liked how the skin was not too flaky and buttery while the savoury sweet barbecue pork inside was tasty! 

Where to find? 

Tong Kee
3, Lorong Kai Joo, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

5. Satay


This food was a random find in Kuching because we wanted to have some quick bites before our main dishes arrive.

The pork satay has a sweet tinge thanks to the dark sweet sauce used in the marination. What I appreciate from the satays in this stall is that it uses lean meat which means there are no fats on the satays. Of course, you cannot have satay without the ketupat (rice cake) and peanut sauce to perfect the dish. 

Where to find? 

Lau Ya Geng- Yan Chun Tai Food Court
21, Lebuh Carpenter, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

6. Sarawak Laksa

Sarawak Laksa
This bowl of laksa has seafood added for the subtle seafood sweetness.

Another iconic star of a typical Sarawak dish is the laksa. It is different from the laksa you can find in Singapore or peninsular Malaysia. All thanks to Anthony Bourdain who featured this in one of his TV shows making this one of the most popular dishes in Sarawak. The key ingredients of this dish are sambal belacan (chilli & dried shrimp paste), tamarind, coconut milk, herbs and spices. 

Where to find? 

Lau Ya Geng- Yan Chun Tai Food Court
21, Lebuh Carpenter, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

7. Zao Cai Fen Gan

Kuching Foochow Speciality - Zao Cai Fen Gan

Foochow being the largest sub-Chinese community in Sarawak, this is where you can find plenty of Foochow cuisines outside China.

One of the Foochow cuisines that is very popular in Kuching is Zao Cai Fen Gan, preserved red glutinous rice wine with rice vermicelli. Although it is also Chinese food, the texture and taste are quite different from the usual Hokkien, Teochew or Cantonese influence dishes that I normally eat.

The eatery is known for it’s authentic Foochow dishes that opened from 6 in the morning. They also serve many other worthy of your calories dishes such as the Cao Fen Fan and Red Wine Chicken Mee Sua.

Where to find? 

Mee Kwong Cafe
Unnamed Road, 93100, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

8. Seafood

Grilled prawns

If you are a seafood lover, you’re in for a treat at this coastal city. Located at the city centre is Top Spot Foodcourt, a popular place among the locals and tourist for fresh seafood. You will be spoiled for choices as many stalls offer a wide variety of seafood. 

The one that I had was called Ling Loong seafood. I highly recommend their spicy seafood soup as well as their grilled prawns as they were huge and fresh.

Where to find? 

Top Spot Foodcourt – No.6 & 33 Ling Loong Seafood
6th Floor No 6 & 33, Jalan Padungan, Taman Permata, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

9. Hicaa Tea

Hicaa Tea in Kuching

With the bubble tea craze going strong in Asia, there is a Kuching-born bubble tea, HiCaa Tea, highly raved by Luwee which also has outlets in Miri.

Lucky for me, I had an outlet near the hotel I stayed. I tried their signature drink, Cheezo Black Party as well as Creme Matcha. Both turned out to be fabulous!  

The Cheezo Black Party has the right amount of cheese for the savoury taste; the chewiness of the pearls was just right and not too chewy. What I like about Creme Matcha was the crunch from the Oreo crumbs; the amount of matcha is also thick enough to feel shiok* for the green tea lovers. 

In addition, the outlet that I visited (HiCaa Inspiration) is an ideal setup if you are after the Instagramable photos because everywhere is Instagram-worthy. Perfect for the Instagram addicts!

Where to find? 

HiCaa Branches:

Block C iCom Square, Jalan Pending, 93450 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

By Hilxons 21
93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Vivacity Megamall
93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

10. Teh C Special

Teh C Special in Kuching

The last on the list is a speciality in Kuching, Teh C Special. As the name suggests, it is not an ordinary cup of Teh C. Perhaps some of you may know, teh refers to the black tea and C is the evaporated milk. The “special” in this drink represents palm sugar. 

Teh C special is also known as 3-layer tea because before you stir the cup of drink, you can distinctively see the three layers stacked on top of one another. While I am not a fan of Teh C because I find the taste too bland for my liking, I truly enjoyed a cup of Teh C Special.

Where to find? 

This is a very common drink everywhere in Kuching. I can assure you that you will be able to find in coffee shops, food courts to restaurants.  

Try out these recommendations yourself in Kuching and let me know if the food and drinks are worth the calories! 😃 

*very enjoyable and delicious

Pamela Loh

Pamela, born and raised in Singapore. She is a dreamer, explorer, traveller and local tour guide.

A perfect day for Pam would be being on the road, having beers and endless of great conversations that shape a wider perspective.

Come say hi!

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  1. I didn’t try all but Sarawak Laksa is very delicious ….maybe because of I like curry…but surprising Oil Town Sarawak Noodle at Yishun and Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee at raffles place were also very nice. Laksa with Teh-C is the better choice…

    1. You should give them a try the next time you visit Kuching. Although I’ve to say that these places in Singapore are good but nothing beats eating them in the state they originate from. 🙂

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