We left a damp, wintery Ireland last Friday morning and touched down to blue skies and sunshine in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday after a three-day stopover in Kuching with my Malaysian family. Sure beats sitting around in Ireland with the post-Christmas blues! While in Kuching we got a chance to feast on our favourite teh tarik, or pulled tea, and roti canai, layered Indian breads that are served with a runny dahl. The next day, the reheated roti are especially delicious when they reappear with kaya, an unctuous coconut spread, not unlike lemon curd. Daily feasts of tropical fruit at my aunt’s house included papaya, the hairy-skinned rambutan, several types of banana, mangosteen, sweet ripe pineapple and rich, juicy-to-your-elbows windfall mangos from the neighbour’s tree. This time round we avoided the durian, however!
This was my fourth trip to Kuching – the Boyfriend’s second – and our laziest. Tired from the first leg of the journey, we just relaxed, read, slept, enjoyed the heat and had some quality time with the family. There was time to snack on my aunt’s rich fruit cake, my cousin’s sesame-flecked brownies – although we didn’t go for too much of the durian cake, after our last experience with that noxious fruit – with meals of homecooked Malay curries contributed by neighbours and my uncle’s relatives. Had some good, spicy, although not too hot, Tom Yam, dishes of Mee Goreng (fried noodles), Butter Prawns and Nasi Ayam, but we missed out on Laksa, Satay and Murtabak this time round. We’ll have to store up those treats for the next time we return.
Now we’re back in the land of numerous types of ginger beer – Bundaberg is still at number one and, we discovered on a brief explore round the city, also available in Singapore – Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon, feijoas, fantastic cafés, the Boyfriend’s favourite savoury meat pies, kumara and Ginger Gems…roll on the next couple of weeks!