The other must-try is the most famous local dish, kolo mee. You may have sampled the white-noodle variety in Singapore; in Kuching, it’s more commonly red. Made of springy egg noodles tossed in shallot oil, lard, soy sauce and char siew sauce, this is a staple in the Sarawak diet. Try the open-air market in Kuching for a bowl. Wash your food down with an “Opium” coffee, a drink with an interesting past. Traditionally served with a scoop of butter, it’s rumoured to have been used by opium addicts a century ago to smooth their parched throats after smoking. Complete your local food tour with gula apong ice cream, a soft-serve drizzled with sugar extracted from nipa palm trees and covered in crunchy peanut flakes; try the street carts opposite the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly. Kuching also has a surprisingly thriving café and restaurant culture, including KANTIN at The Granary, an Insta-worthy two-storey spot with a rustic interior and fairy lights. Inventive fusion-style mains include a wagyu bacon marinara pasta, and the more experimental Asian pesto pasta with smoked duck, whose strong local herbs make it an acquired taste. For a drink, try the Sarawak Teh C Special, also known as “three-layer tea”. Commons Café at the Old Court House is just opposite the scenic Kuching waterfront, and a good stopping point

for morning or afternoon tea. While the Basque Burnt Cheesecake is a classic here, with its burnt exterior pairing with a custardy centre, the Tiramisu stood out to me for its sheer richness.

For more information on Kuching, visit Sarawak Gallery, the Sarawak Trade & Tourism Office in Singapore (80 Robinson Road, #01-02A), open on weekdays, 9.30am to 5pm. And see for more stories on travel to Sarawak, Borneo. tinge that makes for an aesthetically pleasing stay. If you have more cash to splash, go all out with an intimate hideaway at Cove 55. If the name rings a bell, this is the place where celebrity Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians got married (in real life). Resting at the foot of Mount Santubong, it offers a gorgeous view of the undulating South China Sea. There are balcony suites, bedrooms and villas with different settings, so families large or small can enjoy their stay. There’s also plenty of space to suntan and do yoga, and the area is fumigated regularly so you don’t have to worry about insect bites! Where to Stay While there are plenty of accommodation options, two of the top locations are the Waterfront Hotel and Cove 55. Kuching’s only independent five star boutique hotel, the Waterfront is right in the heart of Kuching, amidst both decades-old heritage buildings and newer structures. Rooms have spectacular views of the Padang Merdeka and the Sarawak River, and the design of the hotel lounges and rooms has an artistic

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