Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak state in Malaysia. This was my last stop in Borneo.

Kuching means “cat” and the city has several cat statues and a Cat Museum to prove this. Despite a pouring day (it rained non-stop as January is apparently monsoon season), I managed to savor the architectural highlights of the city. Kuching has its share of religious diversity, as demonstrated by its mosques, churches, Hindu temple and Sikh temple. Moreover, there are the ubiquitous Chinese shophouses, with its porches or “covered sidewalks.” My favorite building is the newly built state legislative assembly, perched on the banks of the Sarawak River. The building has an eight-sided golden roof, a typical Islamic design element.

Perhaps most surprising to me was the wealth of British colonial architecture still intact. Many of the columns and white facades were visible in several buildings, such as the Old Court House, the General Post Office, Astana (governor’s residence), Fort Margerita, Square Tower, Sarawak Museum and ironically, the present-day Islamic Museum (with its courtyards).

As for food, Kuching is famous for its Sarawak laksa and kolo mee. The former is soup noodles in a curry broth with shrimp, chicken and eggs. The latter is dried ramen-like noodles with barbequed pork. As usual in Malaysia, I found the food to be scrumptious!

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