Brunei cuisine shares many similarities with the neighbouring Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, due to their shared heritage as part of Borneo. Brunei itself doesn’t have a distinct food identity, and many of the dishes served in Bandar Seri Begawan can also be found in Malaysia and Thailand.
Food in Bandar Seri Begawan can be found in small cafes, mid-range restaurants and fine dining establishments. There aren’t many roadside stalls, but most street food is safe to eat, though tap water should always be boiled before consumption.
2. Hati Buyah
You can sample this unique dish at Halal restaurants or street food carts in Brunei. This exotic dish is for the adventurous and consists of marinated stir-fried beef lungs that offer a spicy and distinct flavor.
Katilapam is a traditional steamed savoury snack unique to Bandar Seri Begawan. Alternative versions in Brunei are often treated with food colouring to make it more attractive. This is a favourite among local labourers. I didn’t quite like it because it’s so filling, you can barely eat anything else!
4. Nasi Katok
Nasi Katok is another Muslim-friendly dish in Brunei that is both affordable and can be found at almost any restaurant that serves Asian cuisine. The dish consists of batter-fried chicken, usually served with chili sambal and steamed rice. A simple walk around the streets will let you find plenty of places to try this yummy dish.
5. Ayam Penyet
Ayam Penyet is another local dish – an affordable favorite that you must not miss! Though this dish is traditionally Indonesian, it is very popular in Brunei too. Ayam Penyet is a delicious chicken dish that is well marinated in herbs and spices. It is then smashed and deep fried; usually served with chili sambal and steamed rice for a complete and filling meal.
6. Bamboo Chicken
Bamboo Chicken is unquic to Borneo and has long been a secret of the Iban tribe. A bamboo cane is carefully taken down and expertly crafted to form a 1/2 meter long hollow pole. Then, cut marinated chicken is stuffed into the poles with onion and other spices and wedged shut with bamboo leaves. Next the bamboo is nestled atop an open fire, and a wonderful aroma fills the air as the chicken is slowly cooked to perfection. Couple with rice this dish is a favourite amongst our guests at the rainforest lodge.
7. Pulut Panggang
Pulut Panggang is an unusually delicious kind of dish, made of glutinous rice with prawn or beef floss and wrapped in banana leaf. The wraps are then grilled over charcoal and the flavours are simply infused to form this delicious Malay dish.
8. Belutak Daging
This interesting Malay dish is made of beef fat and minced meat, with plenty of spices to go! The taste of this local delicacy is both sour and spicy. There are Halal certified Belutak Daging available so keep an eye out for them!
9. Rendang Beef Tok
Rendang Beef Tok is a version of Rendang Beef, usually with a dry curry, and strongly spiced. It consists of beef cubes marinated in a mix of spices, and is traditionally served to the Royal Family. The resulting rendang is extremely tender, with a fragrant aroma.
10. Mee Goreng Brunei
Brunei’s Mee Goreng is very different from ours in terms of ingredients. Additionally, the use of soy sauce is more liberal here, resulting in a more savoury dish, and there is typically less garnishing than the Malaysian and Singaporean versions.