Sometime in Dec 2014, we went to Kuching for a short visit. We made a few mistakes and didn’t fulfil our agenda of visiting the Mulu caves, eat red durian (durian hantu- not the season), and didn’t get to eat the famous Empurau fish. This wild fish is the most expensive fish in Malaysia, with sweet flesh from eating a special fruit that drops in the river. Upon our return, our brother-in-law who often visits Sarawak say, even the locals have difficulty finding this fish, and you should try your luck in Miri, not Kuching. Our friend, married to a local Annah Rais girl for the last 20 years, couldn’t find us the fish. Nonetheless, we were touched by the Sarawakian Borneo hospitality and had a great time.
This is not the time to go Kuching, if you want to visit the Mulu caves, too wet and slippery which makes it dangerous. Also, not the season for durian hantu.
We stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which faces the Waterfront, and had a wonderful lunch buffet. At lunch, the buffet is crowded with locals. Definitely try the Sarawak laksa. Although different from the Singapore laksa, I like it very much, although I don’t quite fancy the Penang laksa. [There are many international hotels around the area. But we didn’t check them out.]
Also highly recommended is the Hilton Chinese restaurant for dinner.
Day 1: Stroll along the Waterfront. Lunch at the Hilton buffet. Seafood dinner at, Top Spot, open air food market/food stall near the hotel (choose fresh veggie/seafood at the stall display, and they cook there and then for you).
My favourite dish is the crunchy stir-fry jungle fern and the omelette. There’re many varieties of seafood and the pricing is very reasonable. For our group of ten, our dinner bill was US$60. Although its within walking distance, I doubt I’ll know how to get there next time. Its on the top floor of a building complex, patronised by locals. I hardly saw any tourists.
Shopping along the waterfront: everyone seems to be going for the white and black peppercorn. My greatest letdown was the colourful multi=layered cake. Its known as the Sarawak kueh lapis. But I was disappointed to find cheap spin-offs along the waterfront. In Brunei, one can find really delicious versions where locals will buy as gifts. Here they seem to be for tourist consumption.