Sarawak has a reputation in both Borneo and Malaysia for its delicious food including Sarawak Laksa, bamboo chicken rice and street food. Check out our favourite restaurants in Kuching, the state capital, from Kopitiam (coffee shop) style at rock bottom prices to more mid-range dining.
No trip to Kuching would be complete without trying the eponymous Sarawak Laksa. The dish consists of vermicelli, prawns, chicken and shredded omelette served in a rich broth. Kopitiam-style Poh Lam Laksa near the Waterfront is one of the locals’ favourite restaurants in Kuching for Sarawak Laksa. We recommend any tourist looking to taste this local dish to dine here, especially those with just 48 hours in Kuching.
Located near Kuching’s Jalan Main Bazaar and the Waterfront, Borneo Delight is a prime spot for a meal after a pleasant evening stroll. The family-run restaurant in Kuching serves up regional dishes including Sarawak Laksa for next to nothing. With a selection of fried rice, drinks and a cosy atmosphere, this is a backpacker’s favourite spot to sample local treats.
Located near the Waterfront, The Granary Kitchen offers a Western-style culinary experience inside a renovated grain warehouse. Catering for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, customers can order familiar dishes and some of Kuching’s best burgers and pizza. Drinks include beer, cider, imported wine and more than 20 cocktails such as the recommended Borneo Bird made with Sarawakian rice wine. Regular live music and cover bands contribute to the restaurant’s famed atmosphere as both tourists and locals come to enjoy their evening. Expect some of the capital’s best Western food at mid-range prices.
This Kopitiam along Carpenter Street marked by a yellow sign with the word ‘Aladdin’ can be easy to miss and often overlooked by tourists. But the small shop with foldable tables and plastic chairs is one of the most recommended restaurants in Kuching by its residents. According to Kuchingites, Aladdin serves the capital’s best chicken rice. The hawker stall at the front of the shop offers steamed, fried and roasted chicken served as mid-sized portions with white rice. Stop by for a cheap and tasty meal after sightseeing and souvenir shopping along one of Kuching’s oldest streets.
Bla Bla Bla combines a quirky interior design with Asian-fusion dishes. Asian and Chinese dishes fill the extensive menu including their recommended crispy or mango duck. Expect hearty and well-presented portions delivered to the circular table making the perfect conditions to mix and match. This mid-range restaurant in Kuching is more suited towards groups rather than solo travellers as the portions are designed to be shared. Vegetarian options are available.
The open-air food stall along Kuching Waterfront offers an al-fresco dining experience with a view. Acting as a favourite spot in the evening for locals, customers can order a variety of Malaysian and regional dishes including Sarawak Laksa for a few ringgits. Apart from offering a cheap meal, Bigfood also gives an idea into how Kuching’s multicultural residents like to spend their free time. We recommend dining here with an iced coffee while enjoying the view of the waterfront.
Seasoned backpackers and travellers relish the chance to have a steaming bowl of pho after falling in love with Vietnam’s national dish. Saigon Fusion along Main Bazaar in Kuching offers that experience with pho bo (beef noodle soup), Vietnamese-style spring rolls and everyone’s favourite iced coffee with condensed milk. Prices are slightly higher than in Saigon, but it’s worth the chance to enjoy the delicious noodle soup.
For local cuisine with a view, check out The White Barouk. The mid-range restaurant inside a colonial-looking tower on the southern banks of the Sarawak River offers a decent menu with regional dishes. We suggest ordering Sarawak fried rice (nasi aruk) and chicken cooked in bamboo (ayam pansuh). Live music and cover bands provide regular entertainment, too. While the prices tend to be higher than other local restaurants in Kuching, The White Barouk provides excellent food with a view.
Few restaurants in Kuching offer traditional bamboo chicken cooked inside a bamboo shoot. For the chance to try this culinary and healthy style of chicken, take a sampan across the Sarawak River to Al-Fayad on Jalan Brooke. Other dishes inside this Malay restaurant include a selection of Sarawak-style rice and fish at surprisingly low prices.
Spicy, juicy and authentic are three words used to describe the barbecued fried chicken at My Village Barok. Sat on the northern side of the river in Kampung Boyan, travellers need to take a sampan, which is an experience in itself. Order one of the chicken fried rice dishes such as nasi ayam katok with sambal or nasi ayam penyet (called nasi ayam kemek on the menu). My Village makes an ideal place to dine for meat lovers and fans of spicy food who want an alternative dining experience in Kuching.