Let’s talk about Kuching

So my beautiful wife allowed me to fly to Kuching to visit a long-time classmate (can’t believe I’ve known him since I was 13!) who had been asking me to visit him since he moved there 4-5 years ago…

…and I cant believe I didnt visit him earlier. Then again, it’s sort of understooded, we have our third kid which really tired us out last 2 or so years, and busy with work (I work saturdays) so it was hard to even visit family in JB just across the border.

But finally I had the opportunity and he too had a time where his family was away, so it happened to be just nice and I bought return flights for $183, which was $90 or so one way, good price for me.

1 hours and 20 minutes flight.

First, the food

The all-time popular food is kolo mee, which seems to be like a mix of hakka noodles topped with char siew and mixed with onion oil and lard.

Sarawak laksa, which isnt like any laksa I’d tasted before – more like spiced noodles soup, which is enjoyable

Buttered coffee with its own backstory

My all-time favorite: barbequed pork intestines – lovely char, slight gamey taste but nicely flavoured

Sauteed midin grass which had a lovely texture and bite

The food is a mix of Chinese, local / native, and overall not hard on my taste buds. In fact, I felt much like at home, just different way of cooking or spices.

They even have their “under-the-radar” moonshine liquor, which they call langkau, which was strong for me but in Rumah Asap Tabuan, I had the mojito version which I enjoyed so much with the BBQed intestines.

What impressed me the most

Respect for each other

The thing that impressed me the most during this trip was firstly, the level of respect that people had for each other, regardless of race or religion or wealth or poverty.

When I grew up in peninsular Malaysia, race and religion cards were big things that seems to get worse over time, with racial politics played all the time. Malays do not hangout where pork was sold, though Chinese and Indians would eat Malay food (because they’re yum right) etc, but here in Kuching, all races, be it Malay, Chinese, Indian, Natives, we can sit down and eat together without judgment.

Of course the Malays wont eat pork la, like how some Indians / Chinese wont eat beef, and it’s so…respectful. It’s amazing.

Level of organization and planning

Secondly was how the place was pretty well planned.

Yes, everything is low rise because there’s so much land right? Even that’s the cause, there’s not much multiple u-turns because the urban planning was done with thought and planning.

In many places in KL and even JB, often there’s a “forced” U-turn if you wanna get to a certain place which is hard to get to.


When I went to their newly launched Borneo National Museum, I was really impressed with the technology they had adopted there.

It felt on par with Singapore level of museum or higher.

And though it’s not yet translated to the rest of Kuching and Sarawak as a whole, I think that the management of Sawarak feels pretty solid

Respect and honor given to their past

Sarawak’s history is amazing. The “white rajah” or “white king”, James Brooke, was a reluctant king brought in by Brunei who was mainly in charge of Borneo as a whole, to quell the fights between the warring tribes.

James managed to quell the fights, and then, he was given a small small plot of land which was called Sarawak (really, mainly Kuching then:

And through a series of unification, James Brooke unified much of the warring tribes into the land size of Sarawak today:

And set in place a paternistic bureaucracy with the local chiefs running it mostly, the (locals and invited from overseas) for trade, and the Malays for Administration. The natives were the militia to protect Sarawak.

They also underwent the 1942-1945 invasion by Japan, during Japan’s imperialism expansion war during that time, which was a painful 3+ years for the locals of all the countries that were invaded. Sarawak was invaded mainly because of oil, which Japan needed to fund the war.

Their history is very rich, and impressed upon me that that was how their respect for each other and their past is deeply rooted in the way they live.

Art and colors everywhere

This was a very nice experience for me, wherever I go, there’s colors and art:

The art installations, wall murals and colors that you can find all around the city, with some of them having QR codes that will also tell you the backstory such as this QR code:


It is a very short trip, being “only” 3 days and 2 nights and given that I went there as a tourist with no kids with me, it was pretty much stress free exploration right.

I feel that Kuching is a very livable city, with a deep respect for each other, each other’s culture, religion, above money or politics. People are humble, and really you dont feel on guard or high vigilance. You dont expect to see pompous chest-beating self righteous rich or mighty people too (maybe not yet but I hope never).

The education is also affordable, also the food…is affordable. You can find RM 3-5 kolo mee!

Downsides being that there are somethings you will find it hard to get such as special imported stuff…my friend says its impossible to get Nissin cup noodles or broth stock, which we take for granted here in Singapore where you can buy anything and everything you want.

I’ll bring my family to visit Kuching next year.

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