Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Brunei Restaurant Review: Thiam Hock Restaurant

It’s funny how I never blogged about Thiam Hock. They are probably the most prominent Chinese restaurant in Brunei, having a long history where the boss started selling their famous Curry Fish Head – to what most of the Brunei Chinese community referred to as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Brunei. (Lucky Restaurant, I-Lotus, All Seasons and Sri Kemayan are other notable family dining establishments for Chinese family dinners)

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Perhaps one of the reasons for not blogging about Thiam Hock is that it’s already a well established restaurant and I see no need to blog about them. They are listed as one of Asia’s finest restaurants and it’s no surprise ~ a lot of celebrities from Hong Kong and Taiwan had dined in this restaurant before.

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Thiam Hock is located at the Yong Siang Hai building – the block right behind the Mall, Gadong. They reserve parking for customers but these slots are usually taken pretty quick and finding parking here during the weekend can be difficult – be prepared to park a bit further and walk.

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The restaurant has two floors – for big family dinners – we usually would book a table on the 1st floor while for a quick dinner or lunch, it’s at ground floor.

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The 1st floor includes a private room which could be closed off and even offers karaoke entertainment to cater for family dinners.

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I for one like the paintings, the Chinese calligraphy, the potted plants which gives extra points to their dining ambience. Loving their lighting – stunning dragon drawing ~~ but quite subtle.

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They have quite a big menu so you are bound to find something you like – from ordering dishes for dinner or simple a la carte quick meals ~~ suitable for many occasions. We decided to have my brother’s birthday dinner with the family here ~ so here are some of the food we had.

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Crispy chicken with sour plum salt. Crispy skin, moist flesh – dipped on an appetizing sour salt – yum!

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Salted Fish fried rice with chicken.

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Deep fried salt and pepper squid. I would had preferred the batter to be crispier but the texture of the squid is spot on and the flavour’s good.

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One of my favourite dishes to order – their shallots and ginger stir fried deer meat slices. Thinly sliced and goes very well with the shallots. hmm ~~

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We never fail to order sweet and sour fish when we have family dinners. The Thiam Hock version does not disappoint with their fresh fish, crispy batter which is well balanced with the sweet and sour sauce.

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Their Hei Wang Pai Kut (Guiness Stout Pork Ribs) has great texture and taste. One of their signatures – tender enough for my grandmother to chew but not too mushy.

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Claypot braised tofu stew. The parents love this dish but it’s not my favourite tofu dish – I usually ordered their Zhao Pai Tofu (signature seafood tofu – mashed tofu with seafood, steamed and fried again – highly recommended) but we ordered too much deep fried items and my parents wouldn’t be able to stomache all that!

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Last but not least is this Thai Style Soft Shell Crabs. They mixed it up with pork floss and managed to fry them up till super crispy! I’ve eaten A LOT of soft shell crabs in different restaurants but this is my vote for BEST soft shell crab dish in Brunei. Forget the simple battered soft shell crab – forget the very popular butter soft shell crab – the 2nd best salted yolk soft shell crab, this is the best reason to dine in Thiam Hock – Thai style Soft Shell Crabs. A MUST TRY!

Other suggestions not featured on this blog: Special Kailan fried kailan, Curry Fish Head (you can request for fish fillet if fish head is not your thing – the curry goes very well with hot steamy rice), German Pork Trotter (for those who love their pork) and look out for their Chinese style sweet soups or tongsui such as Xue Ger Gao. Below are some pictures taken by Edda – writer of A Housewife’s Tale and a fellow foodie friend whose having great food adventures in the States and Canada (LUCKY GIRL!! T.T)

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German Pork Trotter (picture from Edda’s blog)

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Curry Fish Head (picture from Edda’s blog)

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Zhao Pai Tofu - Signature seafood crispy tofu (picture from Edda’s blog)

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Thiam Hock provides good service as well when it comes to birthdays. Food came out pretty fast and the birthday cake my sister bought – Yam Ice Cream cake from sweet delis was yum~ a great finish to our dinner.

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Address and contact number for the restaurant.

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