Brunei Restaurant Review: Aminah Arif Restaurant
When asked about what food signifies Brunei the most – one would always say AMBUYAT! The next question people would ask is – where to find good ambuyat? I personally have been a fan of ambuyat from Tarindak D Seni as it’s a good place to showcase a variety of Bruneian food as well as handicrafts. If you’ve never heard of Ambuyat – it’s a starchy like carb dish – made mainly from sago starch (ambulung) and warm water to make a sticky goop – in which you use chandas – chopstick like sticks – to make a ball from the Ambuyat and dip it with dipping sauces – you then swallow it without chewing. It is quite an important staple especially for Bruneians during the Second World War when rice was scarce but now it’s become an iconic part of our traditional cuisine.
Tarindak offers quite a variety of different dips for your ambuyat ~~ my favourite is a mix of binjai and tempoyak (fermented durian)
Now for this post – the main focus is on Aminah Arif – another place that locals would recommend to go for good old fashioned Bruneian cuisine. When the UK bloggers were invited by Royal Brunei Airlines to visit Brunei, I was asked to host an Ambuyat Session – and naturally – Aminah Arif is the chosen restaurant for this important task.
You can order their Ambuyat sets – which will consist of Ambuyat and dips as well as other traditional Bruneian dishes to accompany your meal. We ordered one Normal Set and One Special set because we had quite a lot of people to share the food. I’ll highlight some of the yummy dishes in the set ~~
Stir fried Pakis – our local wild fern is a good introduction to our Bruneian cuisine – that slightly crunchy slimy vegetable with a touch of spicy kick from the sambal ~~ priceless!
Pucuk Ubi are sweet potato leaves cooked in a spiced up coconut soupy gravy which goes super well with rice and of course Ambuyat!
This oily greasy looking dish is a favourite for many but shunned by doctors or health gurus – the Urat Goreng Kunyit – the trimming of the beef cooked in turmeric and other spices – tender, delicious and addictive…. this should come with a health warning but many cannot resist this yummy goodness – comfort food with an element of YOLO!
We also had quite a number of fish dishes such as the Assam Fish and the Ikan Goreng (deep fried fish fry)
Hati Buyah: sliced beef lungs, either dried or deep fried is another Bruneian delicacy that’s part of the set. I personally prefer the dark saucy versions but these are pretty good!
A Bruneian meal is never complete without Pais – meat marinated, wrapped in banana leaves or aluminum foil then grilled or baked.
Daging Lalap is type of local beef jerky – usually dried and then deep fried. I love the texture and taste of daging lalap – one of my favourite dishes here.
Belutak – which is a local sausage – comprised of beef trimmings and other innards of the cow – has quite a pungent flavour and is an acquired taste. They serve stir fried or deep fried belutak here but I love my belutak with fried rice. The Nasi Goreng Belutak will allow you to enjoy the depth of flavour from Brunei’s traditional sausage!
Butter Chicken is another one of their trademark dishes ~ the UK bloggers love this dish but I’m not as impressed – perhaps I preferred the wet version – buttermilk chicken ~~
It was a fun night for Brunei bloggers and UK bloggers to gather while enjoying a traditional Bruneian meal for locals.
Blogger: Niamh from Eat Like a Girl having a go at using Chandas to eat Ambuyat ~~
The UK bloggers really enjoyed the Bruneian meal and I hope they will visit again – next time I hope to bring them to try out more restaurants in Brunei!
We also brought them to our Pasar Malam Gadong to try out a lot of cheap and good local hawker food! I must commend Royal Brunei Airlines for organizing such events! Travel and food bloggers are an important marketing tool to improve tourism for our country!
This is a big fan moment for me as Niamh is actually a top 10 food blogger voted by the Times. It’s indeed a pleasure for a foodie to meet someone so prestigious. I hope one day I would achieve global recognition like her.
Aminah Arif is a good place to introduce local Bruneian cuisine to any visitor – or if you’ve never tried it – do pop over and order your Ambuyat set! For this blog post – we visited the Kiulap Branch.
Address: Unit 2 & 3 Blk B Ground Floor,
Bangunan Hj Abd Rahman, Simpang 88,
Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan