Find out the top spots for delicious Sarawak laksa in Kuching.
The late Anthony Bourdain once called Sarawak Laksa as “breakfast of the Gods”. We may not know of his spiritual proclivity but we know one thing for sure: Sarawak Laksa makes for an amazing breakfast (and lunch and dinner).
Significantly different from the many types of laksa available in the Peninsular Malaysia, the Sarawak Laksa is made with sambal belacan, coconut milk, sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass. Served with rice vermicelli noodles and topped with strips of chicken and prawn, this Bornean iteration of the laksa is beloved by all Sarawakians and is ate together by families and friends no matter the time of the day.
A trip to Kuching is never complete without digging into a bowl of thick laksa goodness and to help you plan your next culinary journey in the Land of the Hornbill, we’ve listed down 5 must-visit places for Sarawak Laksa.
Choon Hui Cafe
In honour of Anthony Bourdain, let’s kick off our list with Choon Hui Café, where the laksa stall he first fell in love with in 2005 stands. Since then he has returned to the coffee shop off Jalan Ban Hock many times, even buying a round of meals for everyone in the restaurant during one visit. He may not be around anymore, but his legacy at Choon Hui lives on.
Queue for the Sarawak Laksa begins right from the opening time, and the pages in the order book go up to a few flips in a matter of minutes. And then proceed to the waiting game. The stall keepers work diligently like a well-oiled machine making one laksa after another but expect to wait for up to an hour or more. In the meantime, find a seat and order some other appetisers, like the popiah or toast with egg. The laksa is definitely worth the wait: Bursting to the brim with local Sarawak pepper and spices, the bowl is offered in three different sizes, and come with king prawns, poached chicken, shredded omelette and a generous helping of noodles and beansprouts.
Opening hours: 7AM – 2PM (Closed Mondays)
Mei Xin Laksa @ Lau Ya Keng
What was formerly an outdoor theatre in the olden days is now a bustling food court catering to tourists and locals alike. In the food court is Mei Xin, a stall serving delicious laksa that some might say catered more towards the tourist tongue. Flanked by stalls selling other Sarawak delicacies, the Sarawak Laksa at Mei Xin holds its ground with flavours perfect for those who prefer their laksa on the lighter side. Also feel free to customise your bowl, with more shrimp, fish balls, extra chicken, baby scallops, or razor clams.
Opening hours: 7 AM to 2 PM
Poh Lam Laksa @ Chong Choon Café
Chong Choon Café is a famous spot amongst families, who throng here in the mornings for various assortments of Sarawak fare. Drawing in the crowd alongside the kolo mee is the Sarawak Laksa at Poh Lam, which comes with fully-peeled juicy prawns. The ambience is perfect to enjoy the laksa too, as it is airy and spacious. Expect a mixed crowd of all races here, reflecting the beauty of Borneo.
Opening Hours: 6 AM to 12 PM (Closed Tuesdays)
The only franchise in our list, Mom’s Laksa proves there is a reason why it’s so beloved that the brand has 4 different outlets whilst specialising in Sarawak Laksa. The laksa served here is thicker and creamier than its other counterparts and boasts big prawns too. With its many branches, you can get your laksa fix at any part of town at (almost) anytime!
Opening hours: 7 AM to 4.30 PM
This is the perfect spot for when that craving for Sarawak Laksa hits during night time. Located right by the Tune Hotel Kuching, Teresa has withstood the test of time for almost two decades, and has customers returning from far and wide for a bowl. Auntie Teresa is not thrifty with the peppercorn, resulting in a kick to her laksa broth unlike any other. Her stall is not far from TopSpot, where locals and tourists go for scrumptious sea food at affordable prices.
Opening hours: 6 PM to 3 AM
Do you know what else Sarawak is famous for? It’s kolo mee. Find out more about the noodle dish here.
All images by UPPRE.