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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kuching Food Blogger Meetup @ My Restaurant (Sama Jaya)

We’ve said before that one of the things that most impresses us about Kuching is the hospitality of its people. Wherever we go in our new home, we find that Kuchingites are welcoming, open, and so very helpful. So we were excited to be contacted by Mike of the excellent Kong-Kay food blog in Kuching. He invited us to dinner at “My Restaurant”, one of the best Western-food restaurants in Kuching.

My Restaurant, Kuching

my restaurant kuching

Setting it Up

We love getting together with food bloggers. We thoroughly enjoyed getting together with Carolyn of FoodGal and Michael of Cooking for Engineers at our Chinese New Year Hot Pot dinner and also our Ultimate Rib Showdown. Sharing a meal with other people passionate about food just energizes us.

I first found the Kong-Kay blog when I was searching on FoodBuzz for Malaysian food bloggers. His site stood out to me because of his great photographs, his writing, and the overall design. When we found out we were coming to Kuching, I hoped we would be getting to know this blogger behind Kong-Kay, because he knew a lot about where to eat out in Kuching.

Mike read about our coming to Kuching through Babe in the City KL’s recent “My Sweet Malaysia” roundup. When he contacted us and invited us to dinner, I asked if he knew any other Kuching food bloggers that might want to join us. Mike sent an email out to Borneo Boy, the blogger behind CW’s Food and Travel Blog. Borneo Boy responded that he could also make it to My Restaurant. We were set to go!

Ready, Set, Meet and Eat!

Judging by the number of posts about My Restaurant on Kong-Kay, you can tell that Mike really likes this restaurant. Once we had the date and time set, Mike called ahead and spoke with Walter, the chef-owner of My Restaurant, to let him know we were coming and to pre-order some of his best dishes. This gave Walter time to plan the dishes, source the ingredients (he buys his pork from a butcher at nearby Stutong Community Market), and prepare our meal. So when we sat down to the table, there was no waiting – our food was ready to come out of the kitchen!

The specialty at My Restaurant is pork. Pork may not be a big thing in Muslim-majority West Malaysia. But here in Sarawak, where there are less Muslims, there is a greater percentage of pork-eaters among the population. Usually, though, it is prepared in the Chinese way: roasted or braised.

Walter is Austrian, and so his pork preparations are decidedly Western influenced. He used to run the restaurants at the Holiday Inn in the Kuching resort area of Damai Beach. He’d been cooking all over the world before that, but once he came to Malaysia, he stayed. He and his wife Angela opened My Restaurant about four years ago.

We arrived a bit late for our reservation, but the restaurant wasn’t too busy when we got there. Mike, his wife Lyn and son Seth were waiting for us. We made our introductions, then sat down. A few minutes later, Chee Wee (Borneo Boy) walked in and joined us.

Roasted Pork Spareribs at My Restaurant, Kuching

roasted pork ribs-my restaurant Kuching

The first plate to hit our table was these pork spareribs. I thought I’d never see meaty spares here in Kuching; every pork vendor I saw at the markets carried ribs that were stripped of almost all their meat – good for making soup. These ribs were meaty and nicely flavored. Walter said that he roasted them first for 45 minutes, then finished them on the grill before plating them up and laying some house-made barbecue sauce on them.

Spicy and Mild House-Made Pork Sausages at My Restaurant, Kuching

house-made sausages-my restaurant kuching

Walter also served up some of his house-made spicy and mild pork sausages. Here in Malaysia, most sausages are made from chicken. They can be dry and mealy, with little flavor besides salt and pepper. These sausages were the bomb – juicy and flavorful with different spices and herbs. I only got to sample one piece, but Daniel gobbled down three!

Roasted Pork Knuckle at My Restaurant, Kuching

roasted pork knuckle-my restaurant

The best dish of the night was this roasted pork knuckle. The crispy, crackling skin and the perfectly cooked pork with just the right amount of fat was heavenly. Drizzled with some mushroom cream sauce, this pork knuckle was truly divine. No wonder it’s a favorite dish at the restaurant.

Not all of our dishes were pork. Walter served us a delicious Caesar salad with real bacon and house-made Caesar dressing that Annie couldn’t get enough of. He also served us a lovely sauerkraut with bacon that I really enjoyed. And an awesome roasted lamb shank with black pepper sauce – fantastic.

It’s People Too

Over the course of dinner, we got to know each other better and build connections. Mike is an interior designer by trade, while CW is an architect who likes to travel. I was surprised that they hadn’t met before, seeing as the Kuching food blogger community is smaller than the bigger cities. But they still had a connection through Mike’s son who is studying architecture. And I had a connection to CW because he designed the exhibition area in the lobby of my workplace.

Of course, we also talked about blogging: why and how we started, why we’re doing it, what we’re doing to make our blogs better. It was an enlightening and encouraging conversation, one that I hope will continue! We all exchanged contact information at the end of dinner, with plans started to meet up again, and hopefully with more Kuching food bloggers.

Thank you so much, Mike, for inviting us, organizing dinner, and making us feel so welcome. Thank you, CW, for your openness and willingness to share your love and knowledge of Kuching food. And thank you, Walter, for an excellent meal. We will be back for sure!

CW, Annie, Nate, Walter, Mike, Lyn

borneo boy annie nate walter kong-kay lyn

My Restaurant
Lot 13186 &13187
Samajaya Commercial Centre
(at the intersection of Jalan Setia Raja and Jalan Usaha Jaya)
Kuching 93350

Tel:082-361588

Open Tues – Sat for Lunch (11-2) and Dinner (6-10)
Sunday for Dinner only

(reservations recommended, especially for weekends and holidays)

So, calling all Kuching food bloggers (especially FoodBuzz Featured Publishers)! We’d love to meet up! Doesn’t have to be fancy Western food like My Restaurant, it can be just some good Sarawak Laksa or Kolo Mee.  Leave a comment here or email us through our Contact link!

Hungry for more food blogger meetups? Click below:

Chinese New Year Cioppino Hot Pot Dinner

Ultimate Rib Showdown

Getting Buzzed at Tokkuri Tei (Honolulu)

9 Comments:

Food For Tots said...

What a wonderful meetup! The food looks great. Will bookmark this place if I happen to go to Kuching one day. ;)

Kong-Kay said...

it's good to be standing next to walter... sure beats wearing black anytime.

Nila Rosa said...

I love the name of the restaurant.I've never been on a blogger meet-up, but then again, I don't live near any bloggers.

Borneoboy said...

Hi Nat & Annie. It was nice meeting up with u, and also Mike and Lyn.

Lando said...

Good to see that you guys are out and about. Seeing the picture and reading the description of the pork knuckles you had is making me hungry.

Jenster said...

My goodness -- I got busy and didn't visit your blog for a few months, only to find that you've moved to Malaysia! I read the explanation on Nate's Xanga site and wish you all the best of luck. I hope the job, home and school situations work out well there. I AM looking forward to all your postings of the wonderful food from the region. And I promise not to stay away so long this time, since I've learned my lesson now.

JP said...

An Austrian cooking in Malaysia... Oh boy all those calories to watch over. But yes, It probably is very yummy.
JP

Single Guy Ben said...

That looks like an amazing pig feast! And what a fun name for a restaurant! When you tell people to go there, they'll think you're the chef! Nice to see you're integrating into the food community in Kuching.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Jen - subscribe by email and never miss a beat!

@Ben - That's what I first thought when Mike suggested the restaurant. "What do you mean by 'My Restaurant'?" Glad we found out!