Dinners out with family and friends in Kuching typically revolve around seafood. Kuching is famous for its seafood restaurants where fish, crustaceans and molluscs are displayed for your selection. On this trip, I was taken to two of the excellent but less well-known locations.
I was surprised when CH, her sister Monica and friend Jenny took me to a mall. Seafood restaurants in Kuching are typically open air or at least self-contained. But there is a seafood restaurant on the top floor of One Jaya Mall, this is a sister branch of a seafood restaurant at Top Spot, Jalan Bukit Mata.
We started with an order of hotplate tofu and sambal midin (Sarawak fern shoots). It’s getting very difficult to source midin for the home kitchen now as supply is prioritised to the restaurant trade. The midin was cooked with sambal, and is as delicious as I remembered. We also had a seafood tom yum soup.
The salt and pepper prawns were somewhat bland. The star of the meal was the deep-fried soft-shell crabs in salted egg yolk. This was crispy, creamy, sweet, salty and buttery all at the same time. I could feel my arteries clog up, but I didn’t care.
Cousin KH and her husband took the extended family to Padungan Bay Seafood. KH stumbled across this eatery during a client visit, and had gotten to know the owners well; we knew we were in for a treat.
The meal began with bittergourd omelette (so tasty) and midin cooked in Foochow red wine (u’ng ziu).
Then the seafood courses started. Some of the meatiest local crabs I’d seen, sautéed with egg. The crabmeat was sweet and succulent, and enhanced by the simple sauté.
Then they brought out some truly gigantic river prawns cooked with butter.
The steamed grouper was tender and sweet. Followed by deep-fried oysters served with a pepper dipping sauce, and some deep-fried squid.
We barely had space for the braised egg tofu, and only just made it out of our seats that evening. What a glorious way to end the makan (eating) session in Kuching.
I miss my relatives, friends and the beautiful, sweet crabs.
Bukit Mata Seafood Restaurant
3rd Floor, One Jaya Lifestyle Mall, Jalan Song, Kuching
Opened 7 days 10am -10pm
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Padungan Bay Seafood Restaurant
Jalan Petanak, Kuching
Mon: 5:30 – 10pm
Tues to Sun: 11am – 1pm, 5:30 – 10pm