Monday, April 19, 2010

foochow food in kuching

it was not difficult to persuade my regular walking kaki to join me on a makan trip to kuching, the capital of sarawak. (however, i have not been successful in getting him to visit melbourne with me.) the purpose of our 4-day trip was to savour some local dishes like kolo mee, sarawak laksa and midin. when one of my walking kakis from the balestier group heard that i was going for kolo mee, she cautioned me about the amount of msg they add to the dish.

my friend's wife was especially interested in foochow food. we could have opted for a 3-day stay but the return fare was cheaper on the 4th day. it was rm$120 on monday but rm$30 on the next day. that is the advantage of being retired: your plan can be so flexible.

my friend's wife is a foochow. i think she came from sitiawan in perak, west malaysia. she was keen on visiting kuching because she had heard that the foochow was the predominant chinese dialect group in sarawak. this is true, especially in bintulu and sibu. my relative was telling us that if you were a non-chinese working in bintulu, you could be forgiven for thinking that all chinese names began with 'wong'.

the first foochow dish we tried in kuching was the chow chai beehoon. normally, the beehoon used for this dish is the thicker type (chor beehoon) but this particular stall uses the variety that we are more familiar with. i did not taste the soup but my friends like it. the chow chai (preserved vegetable) gives it a sweet and sour taste.

for lunch, we were taken to another coffeeshop in the bdc area. we ordered three types of foochow food - kampua mee, ginger chicken and foochow hamburgers. each hamburger costs rm$0.70. the crispy hamburger was stuffed with minced meat. unlike the kampua mee, you will not find this dish at every foochow stall. as my friend observed rightly, every coffee-shop in kuching seems to have a stall selling foochow food.

the kampua mee - a foochow speciality - is quite similar to the hakka's (or teochew's?) kolo mee. the ingredients used in kampua mee include lard, msg, spring onion and fried shallots. according to another friend, who hails from sibu, the best kampua mee can be found in sibu, not kuching.

while my friends had the msg-laden kampua mee, i went for the ginger wine chicken. in singapore, this dish is called the hong zhao ji (red wine chicken). i like the kuching version because the soup was not so bloody (in colour) and the ginger, not the wine, was the dominant taste.

i think kuchingnites do not like their balls to be too big. one foochow dish - which is popular in s'pore - does not seem to be available in kuching. i am referring to the over-sized foochow fishballs. my friend from sibu told me i would be able to get it from some stalls in sibu; not every stall sells this dish.

we were so well treated and feasted by my in-laws in kuching that the three of us spent slightly over rm$150 during our stay in kuching.

footnote: in singapore, my travelling companions (to kuching) usually go to roxy square basement ii for foochow food.


JollyGreenP said...

YG, you have me drooling. Laksha in Kuching is unique and probably the one I have enjoyed the most. I like the sound of the ginger wine chicken soup. I think I'll have to try and concoct a ginger wine chicken dish for my wife as she is very fond of ginger wine.


Icemoon said...

however, i have not been successful in getting him to visit melbourne with me.

The keyword is gratis :P

yg said...

john, apparently, my friends were not enamoured with the sarawak version of laksa. they prefer the curry-based singapore version.

yg said...

icemoon, my friend can easily afford the cost of a visit to melbourne.

doris said...

organise the next trip with more bhts ppl leh. don't let us drool over the pics only.

yg said...

doris, i think i have found employment: i will be a tour organiser. already, two groups of people have approached me to take them on a makan tour of kuching.