Kuching, First Impressions

According to my father, I had been to Kuching once. At least to Kuching Airport. In the 1960s, my mother and I used to go 'balik kampong' every year or so. My mother is from Johor, so balik kampong was back to her hometown in Batu Pahat. I am the eldest son, so I am the one who frequently went back with her. In those days, the only way to go to Singapore (then take the taxi to go to Johor) was to fly via one of those propeller aeroplane to Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) before taking the jet flight to Singapore. Sometimes, one had to fly to Kuching instead.

But that trip to me does not count. So the first time, I actually went to Kuching was three weeks ago to attend the haze meeting. The meeting was at the Pullman Hotel which is the newest hotel in Kuching. The lobby was especially huge and being a new hotel does make it look much brighter and bigger than anyone else in Kuching. Plus it is placed on a hill and so can overlook practically everything else in Kuching.

The hotel looks quite spectacular at night.

I knew most of Kuching from the history of the Brookes and not being a fan of the Brooke's, I skipped most of the so called Brooke's historical places. The only thing left I knew of Sarawak was the Ikan Terubok. A quick trip to the market really shows how popular it was. Depending on size, ikan terubok on average is about RM$10 each. There are bigger ones and smaller ones depending on your taste and dollars in your pocket. The other popular thing was the fish eggs. This one is even more expensive. One pair of ikan terubok's fish eggs or roe was about RM$25 or more. What I learnt later on was that Kuching's kek lapis was very popular too. So, most people coming back from Kuching had these two boxes:

I think everyone in Kuching can pack like these!

The kek lapis at Hajah Salhah at Kampong Gerisik was apparently the most popular. When we went there, the whole place was packed. Everyone was just filling in their plastic bags. Each of the kek lapis loaf was RM$10 each. The more complicated ones were $20 and a whole kek lapis about $30 if I am not mistaken.

I had to stop myself from buying the entire collection. Despite being cheap, these cakes are heavy!

The Ikan Terubok stalls:

The fish are salted and easily packed whenever a buyer wants to buy one to export overseas. The fishmongers are all experts are packing when I was there.

The Terubok Telur or Roes:

Each packet contain about five pairs and can cost more than RM$100.


EMD said…
Didn't know you have Johore roots. I'm also half Johorian. My dad's from Kg. Baru in Senggarang which is also in the Batu Pahat district. Well, I enjoyed the balik kampung part especially when the school holidays was longer during Ramadhan (40+ days). That was when you can still feel the spirit of Aidilfitri.
Kedai Ummie said…
Thank you for using my photo of "The Terubok Telur." Thank you for promoting my business too!

Now people from Brunei (and all over the world) can make the order here!: http://kedaiummie.blogspot.com/2010/03/telur-ikan-terubuk.html :)

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