What to Eat in Brunei (and Where to Try Them): A Traveler’s Guide

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So, I see you are traveling in Brunei or planning to travel to Brunei or a Bruneian local just looking around where to eat. The first question will be: What to eat in Brunei?

The Bruneian Cuisine: A History

Bruneian cuisine is heavily influenced by the cuisines of its neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and these neighboring countries got influences from countries such as China and India. Brunei is a predominantly Islamic country, hence there is almost no pork served everywhere and alcohol is prohibited (I heard from a Bruneian friend that in order for you to take in pork and/or alcohol in Brunei, you need to undergo a lot of bureaucratic process. Moreover, if anyone is looking for alcohol, the neighboring cities in Malaysia such as Miri is where people from Brunei would usually go.).

Like the cuisines of its neighboring countries, Bruneian cuisine is mostly spicy. Rice and noodle meals are very common in Brunei food culture, like in most of Asia. Fish is also very common in Brunei food culture since it is a coastal country and fishing is one of the biggest industries here.

Hmmm now I’m curious. What to eat in Brunei? Am I eating mostly Malay-like dishes as Brunei food?

I bet most of you will assume that Bruneian cuisine is heavily Malay-like, but since several Brunei food were passed from generation to generation, there are still a lot of dishes that are authentically Brunei food.

The rise of several restaurants and food stalls serving local and international food is becoming more common in Brunei food culture, especially in Bandar Seri Begawan, but as a traveler, I suggest you give the local food a chance. There is a lot to learn about the culture and history of this tiny country through its food.

What to eat in Brunei?

So, without further ado, I compiled a list of Brunei food that you can try while traveling to Brunei, and I have suggested some restaurants and places on where you can try them. Enjoy!

Beef Rendang

Beef rendang is a slow-cooked beef in lemongrass and coconut sauce. I was able to taste one at Aminah Arif Restaurant and I instantly finished the whole thing. It was delicious! When it comes to what to eat in Brunei, this is number 1 on my list. But don’t worry, you can find beef rendang in many restaurants in Brunei.

Where to get Beef Rendang in Brunei?

PONDOK SARI WANGI
Abdul Razak Complex Block A, No. 12-13 1st Floor BE4119, Jln Gadong
https://www.facebook.com/pondoksariwangi
https://www.instagram.com/pondok.sari.wangi/

Nasi Lemak

Jollibee Brunei Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy
Jollibee Brunei Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy

Nasi Lemak is a usual Brunei food also present in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia that is made of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. On the side, it usually has chicken, egg, anchovies, sambal, and peanuts. Sometimes it is served wrapped with pandan leaf, but in Brunei and Malaysia, you will commonly see it wrapped with brown paper. It is very common in Brunei such as in food stalls and markets, but it is also served in fastfood restaurants, of course, in a little more upscale manner.

When asked what to eat in Brunei, I would not usually point anyone to fastfood chains, but I believe a nasi lemak twist by this Filipino fastfood chain is worth giving a shot.

Where to get Nasi Lemak in Brunei?

JOLLIBEE BRUNEI
Several branches around Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/JollibeeBrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/jollibeebrunei/
www.jollibee.com.bn

Ambuyat

Aminah Arif Restaurant Brunei Ambuyat
Aminah Arif Restaurant Brunei Ambuyat

Ambuyat is a flavorless sago starch that is usually dipped in a sour sauce called cacah and eaten using a bamboo stick called candas. it is considered as one of Brunei’s national dishes. During one of my first trips to Brunei, the first question I asked a friend was “What to eat in Brunei?” A Bruneian friend told me that the proper and the best way to eat ambuyat is to not chew it and just swallow it because this is how you will be able to fully taste the sour dip. I must say, do not leave Brunei without having tried one. You don’t have to like it, but you must try at least.

Where to get Ambuyat in Brunei?

AMINAH ARIF RESTAURANT
Simpang 68, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
+673 233 0773
https://www.aminaharif.com.bn/

Nasi Katok

what to eat in Brunei: nasi katok
What to eat in Brunei? Nasi Katok, a Bruneian Cuisine

Nasi (rice) Katok (knock) is another must-try Brunei food (Rice in Kapampangan dialect is also nasi and knock in Tagalog language is also katok. Awesome!). It is sold all over for only BND1 and I personally think this is already a decent meal which is really affordable! (Meanwhile in other cities you won’t be able to get a decent meal for USD1. Sigh.)

One interesting trivia about nasi katok is how it got its name. A Bruneian friend told me that before, people would knock at the nasi seller’s door to place their orders. They just adopted the name nasi katok for the dish eventually. It is composed of rice, fried chicken, and sambal and is usually served wrapped in a brown paper. Careful, though. The sambal could be very spicy.

I think this also needs to be considered a national dish in Brunei. This is something I never miss to eat whenever I’m in Brunei. I am assuming if you ask any non-local who has been to Brunei the question “What to eat in Brunei?”, this might possibly their answer.

Where to get Nasi Katok in Brunei?

nasi katok stall at gadong night market brunei
What to eat in Brunei? Nasi Katok at Gadong Night Market and other Bruneian Cuisine

GADONG NIGHT MARKET
Simpang 37, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Udang Sambal Serai Bersantan

Udang sambal derai bersantan are prawns cooked in chili and coconut milk which is usually served with rice and vegetables. If you are looking for a seafood-based Brunei food, this is something you have to look for. You can also find the same dish in Indonesian cuisine.

Serongeng Padang

what to eat in brunei
Serongeng Padang, a Bruneian Cuisine

Serongeng padang is a fried chicken that is cooked with garlic and served in pandan leaves. This can also be found in Indonesian cuisine.

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Tapai

Tapai is a sweet-sour rice snack that is a popular Brunei food. It is usually made by mixing rice with laru/ragi and sugar. It is usually wrapped in nipah leaves for fermentation before consumption.

I believe we have a Filipino version of this and it’s called “suman”.

Ais Batu Campur (ABC)

This yummy dessert is also known as ABC, and is made of ice with sago pearls, red beans, noodles and grass jelly. It is also widely-popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. (I am intrigued about the noodles part though!)

I think we have the same food in the Philippines called “halo-halo” which is composed of ice and sooooo many other ingredients, which is surprisingly delicious.

Where to Get Ais Batu Campur in Brunei?

H.Y. YUSSOF RESTAURANT
with branches in Kiulap, Tutong, and Mata-Mata
Kiulap Branch: 2234089. Tutong Branch: 4220715. Mata-Mata Branch: 2454848
https://www.instagram.com/hyyussof.restaurant

Selurut

Selurut is a steamed rice cake that usually comes in a cone-shaped form when being served because the coconut leaf where it is left to steam is rolled into a cone-shaped wrapper. Selurut is made of rice and sago with salted water and coconut milk.

Keropok Udang

Keropok udang is a staple snack in the areas of Borneo and Kalimantan, hence it also became part of Bruneian cuisine. They are yellowish-white prawn crackers. It starts as minced prawn and starch then it will be garnished with garlic, salt, and pepper. The exciting part? It will be baked under the sun before it gets fried in oil. Awesome!

Oh, we also have the same dish in the Philippines. It is locally called “kropek”.

Where to get Keropok Udang in Brunei?

SYARIKAT NORASYRAF
https://www.facebook.com/syarikatnorasyraf
https://www.instagram.com/syarikat.norasyraf/

Kuih

You see, I have tasted some kuih in Singapore, but I never knew Brunei food culturehas its own version of kuih. During 2019 year-end holidays, I was able to visit a food fair in Bandar Seri Begawan and had a taste of some kuih. I heard the have kuih bahulu, a sponge cake they serve during Hari Raya and Chinese New Year celebrations. They also have kuih kosui/kaswi which is a rice cake served wth grated coconut.

Where to get kuih in Brunei?

KUIH LOPES BRUNEI CATERING
+673 871 6721
https://www.instagram.com/kuihlopesbn/

Kuih Cincin

Kuih cincin is also known as “ring cake”, which is made from brown sugar and rice flour. It is also popular in parts of Sabah, Malaysia.

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Penyaram

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#pinyaram #penyarambrunei

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What fascinated me about this dish is that it is also known as “kuih UFO” because it indeed looks like a UFO! This is another version of kuih wherein rice/corn flour is mixed with coconut milk and molded into a UFO-shaped mold before frying.

Daging Masak Lada Hitam

It is a beef recipe cooked in black pepper, hence the name.

Kelupis

Kelupis is rice wrapped in nyirik leaf and then steamed until cooked. I believe provinces in Central and Southern Philippines also have this kind of dish. I also would like to believe that it’s similar to “suman”, a Philippine delicacy.

Where to get kelupis in Brunei?

BASMALATI HOMEMADE FOOD AND GALLERY
https://www.instagram.com/basmalati.hmfg/

Pulut Panggang

Pulut panggang is similar to kelupis (made with rice with prawn or beef), but instead of steaming, it is grilled to be cooked. I heard this is very popular in Brunei food culture to the point that you have to place advance orders or wake up early to buy some.

Where to get pulut panggang in Brunei?

NENEK’S RECIPE
@pulutpanggang.bn
+673 8259910

Bamboo Chicken

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What had I done during the first part of my semester break?? β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” TROPICAL RAINFOREST SURVIVAL LUNCH GUIDE 🌳🌳🌳 What is more important than keeping each other safe and sound along the jungle trekking? It is to have a well balanced + sufficient diet in a day at one of the πŸ‡§πŸ‡³Brunei’s tropical rainforest in Temburong District. β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” It is the Bamboo glutinous rice (pulut rice) (FUN FACT; GLUTINOUS rice does NOT contain gluten despite its name! 😝) served with BAMBOO CHICKENπŸ“ (CHICKEN has good source of protein & breast area has lesser fat content compared to the thighs) on two layers of freshly picked Simpur leaves 🌿(folded into a plate). No spoon? No worries! Just tear a small piece of bamboo shootπŸŽ‹ wrapped with the sticky rice. It is served with bamboo cabbage as well. (CABBAGE has a variety of vitamins and minerals + reduce inflammationπŸ”₯ which reduces muscle ache + improves digestion πŸ˜‹ & constipationπŸ’© due to high in fiber content + brain health 🧠 due to Vit K + Delay osteoporosisπŸ”§ (related to bones health) due to Vit D + acts as a detox πŸ‹ for body + high in Vit C. β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” P.S it is super delicious especially when the bamboo rice is soaked with the chicken’s gravy! 🀀 P.S.S ; I will only share just the surface of the interesting healthy facts so if you are interested in knowing more, there are no harm of reading them up! ☺️ If you are already awared of the simple facts, do TAG 3 of your friends or share this to them so that they will gain some knowledge as well! Sharing is caring βœ¨β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” Thanks to @borneoguide.official for giving us the opportunity to experience in having lunch while using everything we have which are BIODEGRADABLE ♻️ and SAFE βœ…for the environment! β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” #summerbreak #tropicalrainforest #Brunei #wildlife #foodsurvival #healthyfoodporn #lovefoodhatewaste #healthylifestyle #chicken #bamboochicken #foodstagram #foodporn #foodpornography #zerowaste #lovenature #foods4thought #foodblogger #healthylunch #heartylunch #healthyeating #healthylifestyle #healthyeating #lunchideas #healthylunch #ecotourism #supportlocal #healthfacts #travel #camping

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Bamboo chicken is something you can only used to get in Temburong District in Brunei until other places in Brunei started to serve the said dish. This food is a native food to the Iban longhouse communities in Borneo (this is Henry Golding’s ancestry line, right?). As the name suggests, the chicken is stuffed and marinated inside a bamboo and the bamboo will then be placed in a flame.

Where to get Bamboo Chicken in Brunei?

SUMBILING ECO VILLAGE
Kampong Sumbiling Lama, Jalan Batang Duri, Temburong, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/SEVbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/sumbilingecovillage/

Ketupat

I was born and raised in the Philippines but I honestly haven’t tried one when I heard this is also very common in my country of origin. However, I believe it is similar to Indonesia’s lontong, the rice cake usually eaten with satay. Ketupat is also a popular food in Brunei which is rice dumplings served in woven palm leaves. It is usually eaten with rendang, peanut sauce, and satay.

Hati Buyah

Is anyone up to tasting some marinated stir-fried beef lungs? You heard me! I’m talking about hati buyah!

Where to get Hati Buyah in Brunei?

TWELV CAFE AND RESTAURANT
Unit 1, Ground Floor, Block D, Bangunan Haji Abdul Rahman, Jalan Jame ‘Asr, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/TWELV-Cafe-and-Restaurant-6008903121/
https://www.instagram.com/twelvcafe/

Honey Garlic Chicken Pizza

Pizza itself is not obviously a Bruneian cuisine, but honey garlic chicken pizza is. It originated from Pizza Hut Brunei as it wants to reflect the Bruneian cuisine culture of combining sweet and savory flavors. Today, a lot of pizza restaurants in Brunei now offer this flavor. So if you’re craving for some pizza in Brunei, you should try this one.

Where to get Honey Garlic Chicken Pizza in Brunei?

HUNGRY HIPPO BRUNEI
Unit 7-9. Block A, Little Soho, Simpang 73-5-8, Batu Bersurat
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/hungryhippo.bn/
https://www.instagram.com/hungryhippo.bn/

Belutak Daging

This dish. composed of minced beef and spices, is also a good meal option in Brunei. Other food stalls have it served in a brown paper like nasi katok.

Where to get Belutak Daging in Brunei?

BELUTAK KONTINA
https://www.facebook.com/belutak.kontina
https://www.instagram.com/belutak.kontina/

Ayam Penyet

Not your ordinary chicken meal! Ayam penyet is my go-to Indonesian dish, but it is also widely available in Brunei. Ayam penyet is fried chicken with spices and usually served with rice and sambal. I like my ayam penyet swimming in sambal sauce!

Where to get Ayam Penyet in Brunei?

what to eat in brunei: ayam penyet
What to eat in Brunei? Ayam Penyet at Waroeng Penyet Brunei

WAROENG PENYET BRUNEI
Several branches around Brunei
https://www.instagram.com/waroengpenyet.brunei/

Roti

Chances are, you may have heard roti as part of the Indian cuisine. You are absolutely right. But since Brunei cuisine is partly influenced by Indian cuisine, here comes roti, or bread. You will find several breakfast restaurants serving different kinds of roti around Brunei. Depending on the type of roti, you can find variations such as roti canai (something I tried in Singapore and Manila!) and roti murtabak. It’s best dipped in a curry. Yum!

Where to get roti in Brunei?

ROTI CULTURE
Block H, Unit 8 & 9, Ground Floor, Kg Pengkalan Gadong, Brunei-Muara, Brunei Darussalam
https://www.facebook.com/RotiCultureBrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/roticulturebrunei/

Acar Buah

Acar buah is a spicy fruit chutney that is also popular in Malaysia. It also belongs to the categories of pickle and sweet sambal.

Kembayau

It might not look like a typical kind of food when served, but kembayau is an underutilized exotic food that is only found in Borneo, hence popular in Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan, and of course, Brunei. A lot of dishes can be made from it, including sup kembayau.

Sambal Tahai

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"..SANANG DIANGGUNG SAMBAL TAHAI ANI..KE MANA SAJA..NDADA LAGI ALASAN PAYAH MENCARI MAKANAN TAIM BELARAI DI LUAR NEGARA.." β€’ β€’ Orang Tua, Orang Muda, Kanak-Kanak..ampit sudah membagi feedback..kata durang nyaman nya..pebaik makan sama nasi saja..ada lagi yang meratah ganya sambal atu cematu ganya.. β€’ β€’ Taim musim belarai kn cuti skulah ani, bisai tah biskita menyimbat di kadai2 yang bejual sambal kami ani ataupun kontek kami tarus..kadai2 yang bejual sambal kami: [BRUNEI MUARA]. πŸ”΅ Jaya Centrepoint Hypermart (Rimba Point)-NEW πŸ”΅ Supasave Riverside (Jln Gadong)-NEW πŸ”΅ Hua Ho One City Mall (Sg Hanching)-NEW πŸ”΅ SKH (Sengkurong)-NEW πŸ”΅ SKH (Kiulap)-NEW πŸ”΅ Ya Nur (Salambigar)-NEW πŸ”΅ Jaya Centrepoint Hypermart (Gadong) πŸ”΅ Utama Grand The Mall (Gadong) πŸ”΅ Hua Ho Department Store (Kiulap) πŸ”΅ Hua Ho Department Store (Delima) πŸ”΅ Seri Nova (Airport departure hall) πŸ”΅ Hua Ho Department Store (Manggis) πŸ”΅ Hua Ho Department Store (Tanjung Bunut) πŸ”΅ Supasave (Mabohai) πŸ”΅ Supasave (Mata-mata Gadong) πŸ”΅ Perusahaan Yazid Bersaudara (Bengkurong) πŸ”΅ TM Majeed Supermarket (Kilanas) πŸ”΅ Atlanta Supermarket (Kg. Katimahar) πŸ”΅ Fairozdin Minimart (Jerudong) πŸ”΅ Syarikat Halimun Bersaudara (Kg. Mata-Mata) πŸ”΅ Hama Department Store (Kg. Tungku) πŸ”΅ Syarikat Labisah Sdn. Bhd. (Kg. Tungku) πŸ”΅ Syarikat Labisah Sdn. Bhd. (Kota Batu) πŸ”΅ Faizee Trading Co. (Rimba) πŸ”΅ Saimajaya Trading Co. (Lambak, berhadapan Sri Azlina) πŸ”΅ Orbit Supermarket (Salambigar) πŸ”΅ Noorfathima Supermarket Sdn Bhd (Mentiri) πŸ”΅ One Station Sdn. Bhd. Supermarket (Kg. Mentiri) πŸ”΅ Pertama Jaya Department Store (Lambak Kanan) πŸ”΅ SNaaz- Products and Souvenir Centre- above FRESH store (Bandar) . [Tutong] βšͺ️ Teguh Raya Department Store (Bangunan Baru Depan Dst) βšͺ️ Usaha Tasbih Mini Mart (Kg. Keriam) . [KUALA BELAIT] πŸ”΄Supasave (Seria) πŸ”΄ Perusahaan Yazid Bersaudara Sdn Bhd (Jalan Setia DiRaja) πŸ”΄ Ya-Nur Trading Company Sdn Bhd Supermarket (Jalan Pandan 5) πŸ”΄ Ya-Nur Trading Company Sdn Bhd Supermarket (Lumut) πŸ”΄ JE Enterprise Sdn Bhd (Lumut, berdekatan Masjid Zainab) . Sebarang pertanyaan lanjut atau tempahan bolehlah menghubungi: +6738199666 atau +6738638173

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Sambal tahai is a smoked local small fish that you can eat in itself or use as a condiment. Aside from Brunei, it is also popular at Sarawak area.

Where to get sambal tahai in Brunei?

RIZQUS SALAM
+673 8638173
https://www.instagram.com/rizqussalam.bn/

Soto Brunei

MyTown Eating House Soto Brunei
MyTown Eating House Soto Brunei

Soto is a popular local Bruneian noodle soup with beef (but sometimes served with chicken), is a must-try! I have tasted many soto ayams in Indonesia, but I have to say I liked soto Brunei better.

My first time eating soto was when a Bruneian friend took me to a Western-ish looking restaurant when I asked him to take me to a restaurant serving local food. He said the soto is good there that’s why. And yes, I eventually agreed with what he was claiming.

Where to get soto in Brunei?

MYTOWN EATING HOUSE
Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, Km 2.5, Jalan Tutong,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BA1712
+673 2241770 / 2241880
https://www.facebook.com/mytownbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/mytownbrunei/
www.mytownbrunei.com

Daging Kunyit

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Come and try our Daging Kunyit Gagawi today

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Daging kunyit is beef cooked in turmeric that is also popular in Brunei.

Where to get daging kunyit in Brunei?

SOTO GAGAWI
Unit G10 @ THE BOX, Telanai Point, Brunei
https://www.facebook.com/soto.gagawi
https://www.instagram.com/sotogagawi/

Wajid

Also called wajik in Indonesia, wajid is a sweet sticky rice steamed with palm sugar, coconut milk, and pandan leaves.

Cendol

Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that is similar to ais batu campur or ABC, except that it is not served with shaved ice, so don’t get confused! πŸ™‚ It is common to most parts of Southeast Asia and comes in different names, but it is more commonly found in Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Where to get cendol in Brunei?

MYTOWN EATING HOUSE
Ground Floor, The Crown Princess Complex, Km 2.5, Jalan Tutong,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei BA1712
+673 2241770 / 2241880
https://www.facebook.com/mytownbrunei/
https://www.instagram.com/mytownbrunei/
www.mytownbrunei.com

Pajeri Nenas

Pajeri nenas is a braised pineapple dish that has Indian roots. It can be made with any fruit of vegetable usually served with rice and curry.

There you have it! I hope this post was able to guide you to the best of local Bruneian cuisine. People usually advice us to try some local delicacies when we travel to other places, right? Now that I have told you where to eat in Brunei, it’s time to eat! Happy eating and traveling!

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