Sunday, February 21, 2010

The treasure chest

Most of us who were born at least 10 years ago remember Tsui Hua Lau restaurant at Jalan Ban Hock. As for my family, we'd go there almost every year for family gatherings. It's fried rice and butter prawns were arguably the best in town. Their owners then sold off the business, and it was not heard of again for a few years. Thus was the end of their food empire... until something new resurfaced..

Recently, one of the three chefs from the former establishment set up his own cafe opposite Stutong Market. The food is FANTABULOUS. Btw, for those who read this blog, I don't rave about food that much, unless I have a personal liking to it.

Unlike the old Tsui Hua Lou, there's no fancy air cond, private rooms, karaoke equipment, beer etc. Heck, they don't even serve you drinks ! (You get it from the pathetic drinks bar at the opposite shop). But anyway, we all come here for the food, don't we? Read on if you'd like to know about possibly the best kopitiam in Kuching to have 5 star hawker food.

Butter prawns. A standard chinese dish that's usually quite expensive in upper class hotels anywhere. The prawns are crispy and the batter is very tasty. The prawns aren't as large as the old establishment, but it tastes pretty similar. The only other place which I can think of which has nice butter prawns is Sarawak Club, but unfortunately you have to be a member to taste their food.

Delicious Tsui Hua Lou fried rice. Admittedly, its not as good as before (the prawns were bigger and in abundance), but this is still a pretty good effort.

Oyster omelette.  A few clams sprinkled casually over a large omelette, which is a little dry and tasteless, if I may say. Its still a big hit around other food outlets in Kuching, such as Permata car park.

We initially ordered bidin with belacan, but it was substituted with kangkung (water spinach) instead. In Kuching, our belachan is flavoursome, but not as spicy as the ones our West Malaysians counterparts consume (in Penang, for example).

The last plate to arrive was an obscenely large dish of thai crispy chicken. No, its not just filled with onions and chilli sauce as what other restaurants do, but this is one BIG chicken dish. I guess its not as authentic, but as a local interpretation, I reckon this is quite good.

This 5 course meal (including white rice) was able to feed 7 hungry teenagers to the brim. And how much was it?

RM 105, I kid you not (or the price of a common steak dish in Melbourne)! For an average price of RM 15 per head, this place will stuff you (unless you've a super huge appetite, sorry la). For those native to Kuching, you should really try this place.

Oh no.. I've let the cat out of the bag! :s


Disclaimer: Several people have not been able to appreciate my el-cheapo cullinary favorites, but please read this post with a grain of salt nonetheless. Thanks!



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