Low cost domestic airlines have increased travel and trade the last 10 years between East Malaysians and West Malaysians. Prior to this, the independent states of Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan Island separated by the South China Sea were as foreign to West Malaysians as Vietnam and Laos.
With the ease of travel between these states came the introduction of the unique Borneo food and culture into Klang Valley in particular the street food of Sarawak. Here is an update on some of the best Sarawak noodles originating from this state also known popularly known as ‘The Land of the Hornbill’.
1.Fabulous Sarawak Noodles @ RDS Restaurant, Wangsa Maju
Previously on Jalan Ipoh, Clifford the Sarawakian cook and owner has now opened shop in Wangsa Maju. Restaurant RDS is on the corner of the road and you will notice the elevated LRT pillars just crossing overhead at the mainroad outside of the restaurant. His stuff is consistently good, not like the sordid, erratic so-called Sarawak Laksa version we find scattered all over town these days.
Sarawak Laksa.. a superb version, chock full of ingredients, a rich coconut stock and loads of oomph..
Here are some delightful Sarawak favourites you can look forward to, should you visit him!
Kwey Chap (Kueh Chap)… scrumptious pig in a dark soy sauce broth rich with pork stock, thin rice sheets and that delightful mix of pig innards/offal, pig skin, hard-boiled eggs, garnished with deep fried shallots and chives…
The intestine and pigs ears are my favourite – thoroughly washed and cleaned for at least 24 hours before braising. Succulent, tender yet chewy and perfectly cooked!
Kolo Mee – one of the nicest versions in town. A must try -we like the red one..
Kolo Mee is a simple dish with wriggly, al dente egg noodles tossed in the cook’s secret pork sauce then topped with with mince pork, BBQ pork slices, vegetable slices and served with slices of pickled green and sometimes red chili. It’s not so hard to make, but getting it right, now that’s a skill that not many possess.
Al dente noodles.. simply yum!
Sarawak laksa – rice noodles served generously with shredded chicken breast meat, prawns, served in a rich spicy, curry coconut milk soup. Add lime to taste – I like tons in mine!
RDS Restaurant Wangsa Maju Sdn bhd
53300, 26-40, Jalan 13/27b, Desa Setapak, 53300 Kuala Lumpur
2. Aunty Christina’s Sarawak Laksa @ Sea Park
The illusive Aunty Christina’s Sarawak Laksa..Well to me anyway. We usually only make it out in time for a late lunch, and since opening day, we’ve been met by the scribbles on the white board at the entrance that says “Sold out – come earlier tomorrow” – the ironic humor is not completely loss on us of course.
Well several weeks later, we finally make it there to try the famous Kuching Sarawak Laksa. Aunty Christina’s stall used to be station in Nam Chun kopitiam, Lucky Garden until recently. We used to frequent her stall and others there but lack of parking and traffic congestion eventually had us avoiding the area.
The Sarawak laksa still tastes good here. There’s the regular size going for RM9, to RM12 for the jumbo sized prawns. There’s also Sarawak kolo mee, kacangma chicken (motherwort chicken with chinese cooking wine) and herbal chicken soup on the menu, but most folks come here for their version of Sarawak laksa, which has a distinctive flavor compared to others.
One deep mouthful of soup and out comes the flavours of shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal and dried chillies, and ground spices like coriander seeds, cumin, star anise, cardamom, clove and nutmeg. The shredded chicken, omelette and prawn toppings are generous, and a garnish of coriander leaves, with a serving of sambal (red chillies, onions, garlic, dried prawns and oil) and fresh lime seals the deal. Super yummy!
Aunty Christina Laksa PJ
26, Jalan 21/19, Sea Park
Open Mon-Sun : 8am-3pm (be warned they can finish the laksa stock very early!)
The Sarawak Laksa used to be found in Bangsar Lucky Garden has been touted as the best tasting amongst many food bloggers as well as Sarawakians.. Now you will find them in Sea Park PJ.
3. Sarawak Noodles and Pansoh @ Restoran Permata Maju
This restaurant also offers great Sarawakian staples cooked by Sarawakians and here, we fell in love with the Kolo Mee.
We met Sam, a Sarawakian cook manning the Kwey Chap shop at Restoran Permata Maju. His food was superb – the gravy of the Kwey chap was thick, sweet and herbacous – really addictive, good quality stuff. Sam was the one who told us about the evening Pansoh BBQ and that’s why we returned to sample this unique Sarawakian fare on another night.
Well, we digress.. no exactly Sarawak noodles, but one of the great Sarawakian dish that we have been on the look out for, is the Pansoh.
Pansoh or Pansuh just means, ‘cooked in a bamboo’ and the meats employed can range from chicken, fish, pork to more exotic meats such as deer & wild boar.
And fortunately for these two foodies, we had the pleasure of stumbling upon this one particular dish, the Pansoh Jani Kampung, or BBQ Bamboo Wild Boar. Imagine diced wild boar pieces cooked in ginger, lemongrass, garlic, onions, stuffed into bamboos and cooked over an open fire. The BBQing of the bamboo, seals in the flavour and the result is succulent and juicy fragrant wild boar, with gravy hinting of lemongrass, pepper, spice and bamboo.
That was when we met Kennedy & Fidelia, the lovely Iban couple who ran the Pansoh BBQ in the evenings. This husband and wife team turned out to be rather good cooks.
Pansuh is a famous dish, of the Iban as well as of the Dayak people, cooked in the jungle when they were done hunting. It was said that the Head Hunter Warriors would spend a period of time out in the wood to hunt. In the Jungle they use bamboo to cook all their dishes. They cook their food including chicken, fish, wild boar, and even rice in bamboo. The uniqueness of using the bamboo stem to cook is that the bamboo will give a special aroma and texture to the food.
Another must try is the Perut Jani – Sausage made from minced boar with carrots, sarawak pepper, herbs stuffed into the pig stomach. Apparently Fidelia is the cook who prepares the dishes and Kennedy does the BBQing.
Pansoh Jani Kampung, or BBQ Bamboo Wild Boar – diced wild boar pieces cooked in ginger, lemongrass, garlic, onions, stuffed into bamboos and cooked over an open fire. The BBQing of the bamboo, seals in the flavour and the result is succulent and juicy fragrant wild boar, with gravy hinting of lemongrass, pepper, spice and bamboo.
Loved the carrot bits that added texture to the sausages. This is a must order!
Apart from this particular restaurant, we noticed that the entire Taman Cheras Permata area is studded with Sarawak food stalls in various coffee shops. This is Sarawak food haven!
Restoran Pertama Maju
1, Jalan Emas 4, Taman Emas, 43200 Cheras
4. 7th Mile Kitchen @ Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya
The 7th Mile Kitchen has been around for a while now.. and Oldie but still a goodie! I remember when we first frequented this place owned by Alex, when it newly opened back in the day.
Fried Tomato Kuey Teow Noodle
We come here for the Tomato Noodles. The noodles have plenty of ‘wok hei’ and the tomato based meat broth is rich in flavor.
Kolo Mee here hits the spot.. at least you know you get value for what you pay for..
Alex the entrepreneur, formerly from Kuching.. cool dude.
The prawns not quite the size of Aunty Christina’s variety but the shredded chicken and omelette slices make up for it. The broth is thick, deep and robust with flavour. Noodles cooked al dente are addictively good too.. it’s often we finish the bowl but feel like we’ve only just started eating.
Add: 7th Mile Kitchen, RG 24, Pangsapuri Kelana Sentral, 47301 Kelana Jaya Petaling Jaya, Malaysia Tel: +6016-228 3832
6. Bintang Food Court @ Kinrara, Kuala Lumpur
OK, so this extra (5+1) spot is hard to leave out as the food still rocks. Another one far off the radar location for us PJites – a shop manned by a senior from Kuching, located at the Bintang Coffeeshop opposite Giant Supermarket. Some say the quality has dropped but it’s still acceptable in light of the more sordid versions that have sprung up in the name of Sarawak noodles.
the camera shy uncle, hidden behind his stall
Immediately we could tell from the heady aroma, the flavour and the amount of ingredients that this would be our favourite kolo mee stall. So far it’s stil the best.
If you go for the one with BBQ sauce you will get this intense color to your noodles. The Kolo Mee here also has the additional mushroom slices, which is a real plus. Not to mention the fact that the noodles are almost always cooked al dente, garnished with insanely crispy shallots, loaded with super tasty minced pork, that all adds up to being tops on our list!Add: Bintang Food Court, (opposite the Giant Hypermart) GPS Coordinate: N03 03.751 E101 38.778 Bandar Kinrara,