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October 18, 2005
From journal 4 days in Kuching
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 11, 2005
As part of a packaged tour, our dinner was organized at Stall No. 23. Honestly, the dinner was a big disappointment. Our first dish was mixed vegetable soup which was lame, salty and bland. The sweet sour fish tasted too fishy and muddy despite being cloaked by a thick layer of ketchup and chilli sauce. The stir fried garlic prawns were not fresh and neither was the cuttlefish. The only saving grace was the "midin" dish, a local leafy green vegetable stir-fried in sambal belacan (dried chilli and fermented prawns).
To pacify our growing hunger and disappointment, we immediately set off to other stalls for our "supper". Kuching is well known for seafood but we believe the poor show at Stall No.23 could be due to the large volume it had to prepare. There were more than a hundred of us in the tour group.
Sitting down just few tables away from our original table, we tucked ourselves to steamed king prawns which we ordered from Stall No. 10. Steamed in eggs and rice wine, its flesh was sweet and succulent and that’s what we call the true standard of Kuching seafood. Feeling more encouraged, we ordered soft shell crabs from a different stall (No. 20). Deep fried in batter, the soft shell crabs tasted heavenly and beer completed the meal.
The entire "supper" bill of 2kg of king prawns; soft-shell crabs and 8 bottles of beer came up to about RM 160 (USD 45).
Here are some ideas of what to order:
- Steamed crabs or if you prefer it spicy, order the sweet & sour crab to be eaten with fried mantou. Most locals know that only the freshest crabs can be steamed and 'not-so-fresh' ones will be used to cook other styles. Another popular way of cooking your crabs will be the "5 spice crabs" which can be quite salty at times
- Mantis prawns stir-fried 'kung po" style
- Fish - Thai-style deep-fried, Teochew steam or steamed in ginger/garlic
- Stir-fry bamboo clams
- Steamed king prawns in rice wine
- Deep fried softshell crabs
From journal A Weekend in Kuching
September 9, 2004
From journal Meow-Kuching