must eat in kuching

There are several malls in Kuching, of varying standards, and of course, you can eat there; McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and the like. But you didn’t come to Borneo to eat KFC, did you? You came here to try Kolo Mee, Sarawak laksa, kek lapis, street food, and chicken rice! Here is our travel guide post on what you must eat in Kuching: what to eat in Kuching restaurants, and where to stay, as a bonus treat!

must eat in kuching: OUR TOP PICKS

Borneo Delight

There is a LOT of nice food in Kuching Sarawak, and Borneo Delight is on our top Kuching restaurant list. In fact, it would not only be on our list of best restaurants Kuching has to offer, but in our overall Malaysia good food guide. If we had one. Which we don’t. The point is that as far as Kuching food goes, no food to eat in Kuching list would be complete without this gem. Over 3 weeks we ate here many times. The food is great, the value is good (5-6RM for a hearty meal), and the staff are friendly. The value becomes even better when you realise that you pay similar amounts to a lot of the hawker stalls but you get to sit in an actual restaurant. Highly recommended.

Black Bean Coffee

Just round the corner from Borneo Delight is this lovely, rustic coffee shop. It’s always busy and serves up great coffee. You can also buy beans (I did) which can be ground for you as you prefer, and up the back of the cafe is lots of coffee-brewing paraphernalia to buy. Prices are reasonable (6RM for a cappuccino, but I would advice not getting anything milk-based as the milk frothing isn’t great) and service is friendly.

commons

Located in the old courthouse (near the tourist information) this has to be the best place in Kuching to get coffee and cake. A beautiful building, it has been expertly decorated inside, all greys, blues, wrought iron and wicker. Coffee is first-class and the cakes are immense. Lemon and pistachio, raspberry brownies, salted caramel cheesecake….my god they were good. We went twice in 2 days. We were 58RM for 2 coffees, 2 cakes, and 2 babycinos.

Green Hill Corner

Kuching street food is superb, and if you’re looking for exampled of famous food in Kuching, Green Hill Corner should be on your list of places to eat in Kuching. Head to Wayang Street and this hawker centre for cheap and informal delicious meals, busy with locals. Chicken and rice, claypots, or Kwey Teow…it’s quick and tasty. The noodle shop a few doors up is also very good and similarly good value.

Ceylonese

Right behind Green Hill Corner and around the corner from the Harbour View hotel, is the Ceylonese restaurant, serving mouth-watering Indian food including tandoori chicken and naans freshly made in the tandoor on the street. Service is friendly and helpful and servings are generous.

top spot food court

Off Jalan Padungan, on the roof of the car park, is the Top Spot food court. This is a mecca for seafood lovers in Kuching and of an evening it becomes a bustling, lively place full of large plastic tables and chairs, flanked around the edges by a load of stalls with fresh seafood piled high ready to be cooked to order. We had a tremendous dinner from Ling Loong (on the far left), and while not cheap, it was superb. Go on, treat yo self.

Zhun San Yen

Delicious, fresh, vegetarian Chinese self-service place with friendly service and extremely good value. It’s down near the riverfront and only open until 4pm.

Maha Shafi

Just beside the old courthouse in a busy row of shops on Jalan Courthouse is this happy little Indian restaurant. It’s self service and if you want to go for dinner don’t leave it too late as it closes around 7pm. Great roti canai.

Kek Lapis

One cannot visit Kuching without trying Kek lapis. This is a multi-layered Sarawak cake, often featured during special celebrations. There are loads of places to buy kek lapis in Kuching; on the river front sellers set up their stalls of an evening, and along the shopfronts facing out on the river there are plenty options too. We tried several and found them to be of similar quality and price, so don’t stress too much about shopping around. 

where to stay in kuching: where we stayed

We moved around a bit in Kuching, partly because there was very little availability when we arrived. We stayed at the highly-rated Threehouse guesthouse for 2 nights, and it was fine. It gets great reviews everywhere but this is from a backpacker point of view and it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. The room was super hot and dark and the communal facilities are a bit of a faff with kids, as is all the stairs. That said, if you’re on a very tight budget or happy without creature comforts, it’s great for that, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

We agonised over spending a bit more than our budget on somewhere with a pool, and found a good deal at the Ariva Gateway. The gym, sauna, steam room, rooftop pool, and included breakfast were big draws for us, so we booked in. In truth, the place is a bit tired and in need of a refresh. The gym is awful with machinery broken and worn, frayed equipment, the sauna and steam room were never on, and the breakfast was so so. But the pool is lovely, and PY Jr suddenly started swimming! Wifi was pretty poor too.

Our final place to stay was the Harbour View hotel. Wifi was great, and this is a clean hotel with efficient staff and a super location central to shops and near the waterfront. We got a good deal through Agoda but skipped the expensive breakfast.

Damai Beach Resort. If you decide to take a trip to the beach, there are three main options and they are all on the expensive side of things. We picked midweek to go and got a good deal. The beach here and the pool area are superb. The restaurant is not cheap but the value is good and food very good.