Kings, Cakes, and Cats
'Kucing' is the Malay word for 'cat', and this city takes its name seriously! Cat statues can be found at the major roundabouts and all along the boardwalk. In fact, I have noticed that in most major cities in Malaysia, one animal or symbol has been adopted as a type of mascot. In Pangkor it was a seashell. Miri, the seahorse. Langkawi, the sea eagle. It's quite charming, really, and a fun way to identify different places.
When we arrived, the smell of sweet cake greeted us. A table sat in the center of a room, covered in small containers of bite-sized pieces of kek lapis . Every color of the rainbow and every flavor you could imagine were on display, and the ladies behind the counter watched in delight as we tried piece after piece. While Mark was busy videoing the experience, I parked myself right at the sampling table and tried as many as I could! The kids’ favorites were the Cadbury (yes, pure chocolate) and the Milo (a chocolate milk powder sold throughout SE Asia). I especially liked the Spiced kek (clove and cinnamon) and the vibrance of the rainbow-colored varieties. I had read in our tourist guide that this cake can last up to 2 weeks without refrigeration, so I’m sure its full of organic, all-natural goodness - of course! It was fun to try, though, and we bought a few of our favorites to set out at our next happy hour on board. Want to try to bake kek lapis at home? Try this recipe.
Before coming to Kuching, I’d never even heard of this city. This happens often as we travel, actually. When I tell family where we are, they usually need to pull up Google Maps - always a great geography lesson. Yet again and again, I am delighted by the specific sights, sounds, tastes and smells that make each place its own. From Kuching’s White Rajah to its colorful kek lapis, it is a place rich in history and culture. As our first stop in Sarawak, it has piqued my curiosity and tantalized my tastebuds. One could say it is the ‘cat’s meow’or that it (ahem) ‘takes the cake’…