Eating Local Food in Kuching

Local Food in Kuching Sarawak

Eating local food in Kuching, Sarawak is one of the things every traveller or visitor must try when you are here. The choices are totally different from West Malaysia and Sarawakian Food is very unique in its own ways.

You can actually find them at several places around Kuching town especially when you walk around the main town.

Usually, when I visit Kuching town, especially around the Waterfront area, I would explore new restaurants and cafes in search of some exotic Sarawakian food like the Ayam Pansoh in the picture above. This amazing dish is cooked in bamboo before being served to you.

Local Food in Kuching

Sarawak Laksa Photo
Sarawak Laksa

It has been a really long time since I wrote about food and this time around, I choose Sarawak Food as it is very interesting compared to the local Malaysian Food. Among some of the well known local Sarawak dishes, Sarawak Laksa is right on top of the list.

Many local travellers visit Kuching to eat this special savoury noodle which can be found throughout the state. You will hear from locals or tour guides informing you of where you can find good Sarawak Laksa in Kuching.

Let me just say that each person has their own special favourite taste and I personally have tried many of them. Till this day, I still cannot decide on which is the best one as every other one I try is really good.

Umai Sarawak
Sarawak Umai - Raw Fish Salad

On my last visit to Kuching back in October 2011, I had the pleasure of visiting a local run cafe and restaurant in Kuching Waterfront area called Borneo Delight.

A Sarawakian couple runs this place while the wife does the cooking here so you are assured of some pure home-style Sarawak food. I had come here on two different occasions and tried a number of the local dishes which I have to say, was pretty interesting.

Most importantly, they served the famous Bario Rice, which is harvested from the highlands of Bario. Combine the rice with the bamboo chicken and it is out of this world!

Nasi Bario
Bario Rice

Sambal Sotong Photo
Sambal Sotong Sarawak (Squid Sambal)

Sarawakian local food on the menu

Borneo Delight Restaurant in Kuching
Borneo Delight Restaurant in Kuching

Borneo Delight Restaurant

Borneo Delight Restaurant and Cafe is very simple and basic but the choices it offers are some really hard to get local dishes. Apart from that, they also serve Chinese and Western dishes.

Beer is also on the menu for those who want to cool down on a hot day. But I will strongly recommend you try some of the Sarawak Food here like Pansoh Chicken (Ayam Pansoh), Sarawak Laksa and even the Umai which is a raw fish salad.

You can find Borneo Delight at Number 13, Wayang Street, Kuching. This is just next to the famous Wayang Street Chinese Temple.

Kolo Mee Sarawak
Kolo Mee infused with Thai Basil

Absolute Tribal (Closed)

Another place that I was introduced to was a fusion Sarawakian-Thai restaurant called Absolute Tribal. This unique restaurant is located at the Hills Shopping Mall just next to the Pullman Kuching Hotel.

The only reason my friend Sandy brought me her was that they did some pretty cool fusion foods marrying Thai and Sarawak dishes. The first thing that popped into my mind was to try the famous Kolo Mee.

One of the most local popular dishes is the Kolo Mee or Kolok Mee in Kuching. This dry noodle dish is similar to the Wan Tan Noodle dishes found in West Malaysia but done in their own way in Sarawak. The Malay name for this dish is called Mee Kering (Ker-Ring).

Usually, this dish can be found at most coffee shops and restaurants while it is served with sliced pieces of roast pork or shredded chicken pieces and a few pieces of boiled vegetables.

Midin Kerabu Sarawak
Midin Kerabu Sarawak

One of the recommended dishes was Midin, a local delicacy made from the jungle green fern and cooked with shrimp paste chilli. To top things off, I ordered two types of this dish to try out the difference.

One was a kerabu (type of salad) style while the other was original. Apparently, housewives make some of the best Midin around but at some restaurants, you can still find this on the menu. However, this dish is not easily found at local coffee shops but some may have it.

Midin Sarawak with Prawn
Midin Sarawak with Prawn

Sarawak Pineapple Chicken
Sarawak Pineapple Chicken

Prawn Umai Sarawak
Prawn Umai (Prawn Salad)

A final dish was the Prawn Umai where raw prawns are neatly decorated with fresh vegetables. Umai again is popular among the locals and served as a salad.

These days, you will get many types of Umai ranging from fish, cuttlefish, prawns and even octopus. But most of the fancy ones are found in the more modern cafes and restaurants around Sarawak.

Absolute Tribal Restaurant Kuching
Absolute Tribal Restaurant in Kuching

Absolute Tribal Restaurant is pretty much very nicely done up with some interesting decor and interior design. They have a huge seating area and also an outdoor area for smokers and those who like the natural air.

The place can also double as a function area while they have a VIP private dining room that can sit easily 10-12 people. Among some of the well-known dishes here, I missed trying the Pansoh Chicken as you needed to book ahead for this.

Maybe on my next visit, I will attempt this as I am totally addicted to Ayam Pansoh since being introduced years ago in one of the Sarawak Longhouse along the Lemanak River.

Update 2013 - Absolute Tribal Restaurant has moved to a new location;
Absolute Tribal Restaurant Kuching
Thai Restaurant in Kuching
78 Jalan Tabuan
Kuching, Sarawak 93100

Sarawak Food Menu at Absolute Tribal Restaurant

My Food Tours around Kuching was handled by Borneo Tropical Adventures as I had made arrangements with them to take me to several places around Kuching. One of the highlights was to see the famous Sarawak Sea Stack at the Bako National Park.

Apart from that, I did my daily walks around the Kuching Waterfront in town while I also visited the famous Serikin Market at the border of Sarawak and Kalimantan.

Kuching is a large area but to move around there, you need to engage the services of a tour company as getting from one place to another takes about an hour or more. So you need to plan your itinerary or let the travel company know what you want to do and where you want to go in Kuching.


Overall, there are some interesting places with local Sarawakian food around Kuching. One needs to either explore or ask around to try out these restaurants of cafes.

If you are a foreigner and you are not used to the spicy or chilli taste, make sure when you order, tell them to go very slow on the chilli. Also, if you are on your first visit here, I believe that everyone should try eating the local food in Kuching, Sarawak at least once.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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