As I said in an earlier post, the food in Kuching ranged from OK to abysmal, the last being the lunch we ate at some seaside place (pix on left) after the cultural show at the Heritage Village in Damai.
But I wrote that snippet be4 tasting the wonderful spread at the Sarawak Club, hosted by one of our travel companions, Auntie GY whose birthday we celebrated on March 3.
The feisty 82-year-old (left) hails from Sarawak and the whole trip had been sparked by her wish to revisit her old kampung as well as see all those relatives she has left behind.
Her guests, including us and her kin, filled three tables in a private room with food supplied by the club’s Chinese kitchen.
There were more courses than we could finish, all washed down by a nice blended Merlot for those of us who drink wine.
The more memorable dishes included generous portions of lightly panfried Atlantic cod fillet, a chicken done three ways served at the same time (crispy skin a la Peking duck style, shredded chicken meat and mango salad chicken in pastry cups (see pix below).
Of cos, no meal was complete without the ubiquitous sayur midin lightly cooked in belacan sauce. Auntie GY calls it sayur paku* but at the Hilton where we had it at two dinners, the waitress was most insistent that it was sayur midin. Ditto at the Sarawak Club and the nameless seaside eating house that served awful food that I referred to earlier in this post.
Strangely, the sayur midin from this nameless place was the best of the four I ate, with every mouthful crispy and fresh, whereas the same vegetable served at the classier establishments tended to be a mixture of tender shoots and tougher stems.
The Sarawak Club dinner ended with pineapple tarts made lovingly by one of Auntie GY’s relatives. Pity I managed to squeeze only one down my throat because by then I was full to the gills from the many and ginormous courses.
Now just as no meal in Cat City was complete without sayur midin, so no trip there would be complete without a taste of its famous kolo mee which sells in Singapore at far higher prices than garden variety kolo mee.
So, not surprisingly, I ate Sarawak kolo mee four times while there, having it once for every day of my stay.
The first meal on landing was a kolo mee: almost the whole group ate that, as we were shepherded to a crowded coffee shop for lunch, be4 sight seeing. It was plain, rough and ready but oh so tasty and all for RM2.60 a bowl!
My second kolo mee was at the Simpang Tiga food court in a new shopping complex called The Spring, which Sarawkians are so proud of. Unfortunately, i chose fish slices instead of chicken meat (no pork at that stall) to accompany the noodles. At best, it was good value for RM5.50 because the hawker gave equal amounts of fish and noodles. But otherwise it was tasteless and bland, like the color of the fish slices.
The 3rd kolo mee was recommended by the lady working in a travel agent based in the Hilton and came from a grade C (I would have graded it that, if there was a grading system) stall at the hole in the corner hawker “centre” across the road from the hotel.
At RM2.70, it was more expensive than the can of ice-cold Tsingtao beer (RM2.50) I bought to wash it down. Better than the second version but not as good as the first.
In the hour or so be4 we left for the airport to fly home on Silkair, a few of us took on “fuel” at the Hilton’s coffee house, to ensure we won’t be hungry in case we weren’t fed on board or were given what we didn’t like.
As it was our last meal for that trip, I decided to go for the Hilton’s version of kolo mee. At RM18, it darn well better be the Rolls Royce of that noodle dish. And I wasn’t disappointed.
First, it was so huge that I had to beg a travel companion to split it with me. Then there were several prawns, heaps of chicken meat and green veggies. And best of all, it was tasty. The noodles were springy enough, tho still not as al dente as my first bowl of kolo mee. And ambience wise, there was no contest, especially when compared to the hot and dirty surroundings I ate my first and third bowls!
Strangely enough, after eating sayur midin and kolo mee four times over four days, I still feel I could have eaten them more times, given a chance!
Now if that’s not madness, I don’t know what is! 😀 😀
* from the net: I guess you can call midin, paku merah as they are from the same family. I’ve always call this red one, midin. And on the roadside here they grow together, if you see midin you are sure to find sayur paku too.