Singapore Jia Xiang Kolo Mee Vs Authentic Kuching Kolo Mee

Gorgeous Mia Tan told me about a shop claiming to offer authentic Kuching Kolo Mee near her place in Orchard, so we made a date to pop in there one evening to have a look.

Kolo Mee is such an inseparable part of the whole Kuching culture. Ask any true Kuchingnite living overseas what they miss most about their hometown and they would all invariably say,
“Kolo Mee… Laksa… Tomato Kueh Teow…”
“How about Mommy and Daddy?”
“Oh ya, almost forgot! Mommy and Daddy too!”

We Kuchingnites LOVE our Kolo Mee. No, it’s not the same as Wanton Mee in the Peninsular or Char Siew Mee in Singapore.
Our noodles are firmer, curlier and tastier than our western counterparts. The noodles are quickly cooked in boiling water, drained then ‘dry-tossed’ (hence the name ‘kolo’) in a bowl containing a concoction of soy sauce, char siew oil and fried garlic oil for the extra oomph!
The result is a delicious, aromatic and addictive bowl of noodles that’s good to savour anytime of the day.

Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee is a fairly new chain of restaurants by a Kuchingnite living in Singapore. They pride themselves being the first in Singapore to offer the signature dish at their outlets, with the noodles specially air-flown in from Kuching to guarantee authenticity.
Their restaurants must be doing quite well from what I can see. We were there a bit past dinner time at 7:30pm and the tables were still about 80% full. Either there are lots of Kuchingnites in Singapore, or Singaporeans are starting to warm up to our yummy delicacy.

Jia Xiang seems to have gotten a bit creative with their menu. Their recommended dish is kolo mee in soup or topped with prawn and abalone.
I don’t think there’s anyone in Kuching who eats kolo mee with abalone. 😐

Got myself a cup of ice-cold Luo Han Guo (Air Mata Kuching) to round up the experience.

As far as I’m concerned the “default settings” for kolo mee is dry, topped with bak chor (pork mince), steamed vegie and char sio (BBQ pork). Anyway, that’s what we ordered instead of their recommended dish.

This is Singapore Jia Xiang’s version of the Kuching Kolo Mee (SGD$ 3.90 / RM9)
Compare that to the RM2.20 Kolo Mee you can get anywhere in Kuching.

An actual Kuching Kolo Mee. LG Chocolate not included.

I say it’s pretty good.
One bite on the noodles… once the taste engulfed my mouth and immediately I knew I’ve got authentic kolo mee right there. This is it! This is what I’ve been eating growing up, people! Of course, I know.

Jia Xiang Kolo Mee Vs Kuching Kolo Mee

I do have some minor gripes like the amount of bak chor was a bit too much, a bit too dark and the vegies tasted a bit different for my liking, but overall it’s pretty close to the real deal.

I cringed a bit when I saw Mia and Eugene mixing their Kolo Mee with sambal. I’m not sure why Jia Xiang done it that way, probably to cater to local tastes, but this is the first time I’ve seen sambal offered as the default condiment to kolo mee.

Over here, we eat it with seasoned cut chillis. I think they do offer cut chillis as options. It’s just puzzling the sambal is there by default.
Another thing that came across as bizzare to me is the decor.

It’s odd that for a restaurant serving Sarawakian food, the interior is furnished with ancient Chinese furniture. Most of the staff they employed are from mainland China (as evident from their distinctive accent) and they’re even dressed up in traditional Chinese restaurant workers outfit.

Say hello to the very shy (and pretty) Maggie. You can order anything you want from the menu, but you can’t order Maggie Mee.

What’s up with that? What if people think Kuching is not in Malaysia, but in China? Then how?
Will I still be asked to “drive down the causeway from Kuching to Singapore” by my less-informed friends?
I do have to give Jia Xiang full marks for one thing though.

This is the definitive but often omitted ingredient to a good bowl of Kuching Kolo Mee. I don’t care what you put inside, it is NOT Kolo Mee if it’s not served inside the chicken bowl!
Everything tastes better in the chicken bowl.

Apart from a few oddities I’d still call it a true blue Kolo Mee experience at Jia Xiang. The noodles itself is 100% authentic and a definite must try. The decor, toppings and condiments (sambal wtf?), I’m not too sure.
Overall, it passed the authenticity test and I’m giving it a generous 7.5 out of 10. Just remember not to take kolo mee with sambal.

Want some?

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Singapore On A Shoe-String

I needed a break from all the shit I’m facing online and offline, so I took off to sunny Singapore over the Gawai holidays.

I make it no secret that I enjoy Singapore (much to the dislike of my own countrymen). There’s not a single time I left the garden city feeling that I’ve seen or done enough, because there’s always new things popping up and old friends to catch up with.

The only thing holding me back from visiting more frequently is the relatively high costs of accomodation. Think about it, one night in a cheap 3-star budget hotel like Hotel 81 costs about as much as luxurious 5-star hotel like Renaissance in KL.

A couple of kind souls have offered to put up their place for me to stay. I’m happy to accept, except I have a distinct fear of being photographed in my Daffy Duck red underwear and have that photo circulated all round the Internet.
Add to that the increasing costs of living and the rising Singaporean Dollar against Ringgit (last time it was 1SGD=2.20MYR; now it’s 1GD=2.33MYR), a man can’t travel anymore without scraping food off the floor.

This trip though, I managed to do away with a few unwanted luxuries and save up on some cash.
Less money spent on travels = More shopping budget = More money spent on booze = Happy Kenny.

The cheapest way to get from Kuching to Singapore is to first stop at Johor Bahru then grab a coach down. I paid RM330 for my travel, whereas a direct flight from Kuching to Singapore would set me back around RM800.
There’s a bit of madness at the causeway where you have to alight at the JB checkpoint, stamp through, board the coach, drive down to THE OTHER END of the bridge, alight at the Singapore checkpoint, stamp through and then board the coach again.

It’s so stupid I can’t even begin to describe it. Why can’t they just build two immigration checkpoints side-by-side at just one end of the bridge?

If someone copies my idea, remember you seen it first on

It’s a BRIDGE. People from Malaysia are only going to go through to Singapore and vice versa. It’s not like someone is gonna check through at JB, jump off the causeway then swim off to Indonesia or something. Why make life difficult?

Anyway, while in Singapore I stayed at One Florence Close in Kovan. It’s a backpackers hostel instead of a hotel I’m used to.
I figured it’s such a waste staying at hotels, budget or not, considering I’m out most of the time and I won’t be using whatever facilities like gym or swimming pool they’re providing. Besides, I don’t bring people back into my room so I have no one to impress.

A lot of people have this misconception that backpackers hostels are like garbage dumps. It’s not true. I’m mighty impressed by a lot of the hostels I’ve stayed at because not only are they so much cheaper, they’re cleaner and more personal than the average budget hotels.
I paid SGD55 a night, a bargain compared to Hotel 81 Chinatown’s SGD95 a night.

The rooms are a bit small and I do have to give up on the luxury of having my own ensuite bathroom, but everything about this hostel is cheery and happifying. At least their sheets are clean and pillows comfy. And I love their funky shower head so much I want to pull it off their walls and install it into my own home.

If there are any complaints I have (since it’s a crime to give glowing reviews to something you like so much), it’d be that the owners have the tendency to use the “equal close-bracket” smiley face a wee bit too liberally.
A little bit is cute. A little bit too much is annoying. But One Florence Close took it to a whole new level.

Everywhere I go, I see =) until even when I’m down I also =) because all I can think of is =) and =) is the only thing I can think of. =)
Flights: RM330
Hostel: RM253 (2 nights)
Food: RM100
Nightlife: RM100
SIM Card: RM18
Misc: RM73
Total Damage: RM874

I want to go back there again.

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Technology, Malaysian-Style

The Aquaria KLCC is real impressive.

This is possibly the first and only aquarium in the world that features a state-of-the-art ticketing system with cutting edge RFID sensing technology. These are chao-ji super-advanced wireless tickets can be purchased for RM28 at the cashier counters.

We Malaysians very high-tech, don’t use paper tickets one. Paper tickets are so 1997, only backwards countries like USA and Japan use them. Come, let’s all laugh at them.
You see, our chao-ji super-advanced wireless tickets are so damn powerful, you have to tap them on those Touch-N-Go panels in order to pass through the electronic entrance gates…

…then hand your used tickets over to the attendants loitering around the area. Just like paper tickets. But with Touch-N-Go technology. So high tech right?
Welcome to technology, Malaysian-style.

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Guess Where I’m At Right Now?

Guess where I am at right now?
Barely half a day here and I’m already having the time of life.
Met up with Linda Chia during her lunch break.
Then I popped in to have a look at the PC Fair going on at Suntec City.
Sassyjan and Scarlett Ting were there working as promo girls.
Ting was in her sexxxy hot pants drawing all the attention on her at the Fair. It’s a good thing she’s manning the Logitech booth – that was tailor-made for some classic pick-up lines.
Kenny: Can I stroke your mouse?
Ting: Why don’t you let me play with your joystick?

Nokia booth is cool

I’ll be using the number +65 9353 4628 while I’m here.
Tomorrow night at 9:45pm I’ll be at Wala Wala for UnXpected‘s performance, then maybe I’ll check out Ministry of Sound around midnight. 🙂
If you see me, don’t be shy to say hi hor.

Tribute to the mrbrown show’s Zhng My Car Series

Long time readers of would know that I’m a big fan of the mrbrown show podcasts, especially their highly entertaining Zhng My Car sketch series.

If you haven’t yet already done so, feel free subscribe to their podcasts and see how this dynamic duo single-handedly popularised the word ‘zhng’ in Malaysian and Singaporean blogospheres. The boys have always been terribly welcoming everytime I step foot into Singapore, which is why I think it’s appropriate to show my appreciation in the form of a song.
To the tune of the Black Eyed Peas’ My Hump, this song is titled My Car and features such familiar vocals by mr brown, Mr Miyagi and Little Miss Drinkalot.

Download it here or here. [MP3, 2m04s, 1.9MB]

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