Brunei Gastronomy Week launched

|     Aziz Idris     |

IN CONJUCTION with the upcoming Brunei Gastronomy Week slated for February 22-26, top players from the hospitality industry will present a smorgasbord of great Bruneian culinary hallmarks prepared in the most glorified fashion.

The event, which will also coincide with the upcoming 33rd National Day celebrations, was officially launched by Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) on Wednesday, during which he handed over certificates to participating hoteliers and restaurants. Also present during the launching were ambassadors, high commissioners and other members of the diplomatic corps.

A total of 16 hoteliers and restaurants will be participating during the week-long event, offering patrons specially designed and delicious menus at their respective establishments.

One of the participating restaurants, Charcoal BBQ & Grill Restaurant, created the aromatic Grilled Hoisin Lamb Cutlets with double sweet potatoes puree served with plum and mint sauce and mild chilli paste. According to Chef Liska Tumbelaka, Executive Chef at the restaurant, all ingredients used are commonly found in local dishes, but cooked over the fire with a western technique. She revealed that grilled lamb dishes have always been a popular dish among her customers.

Chef Nandar Sunandar from the The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, who has nearly 10 years of experience in western kitchen, has created the Linguine Pasta with chicken breast and served with pumpkin and lady fingers. The dish is a fusion of Asian ingredients infused with timeless Italian cooking.

Experienced Chef Lai Kim Hin from MyTown Restaurant with a background of Asian cuisines revealed his latest Special Kolo Mee during the launching. He has substituted the Kolo Mee sauce with thick curry sauce and served with smashed (penyet) tiger prawns topped with crispy chicken skins.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism in a group photo with the chefs. - PHOTOS: DEAM KASSIM
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism in a group photo with the chefs. – PHOTOS: DEAM KASSIM
Chef Liska Tumbelaka, Executive Chef of Charcoal BBQ & Grill Restaurant with her dish.
Chef Liska Tumbelaka, Executive Chef of Charcoal BBQ & Grill Restaurant with her dish.
Chef Lai Kim Hin (LEFT), from MyTown Restaurant and Devesh Dabral (RIGHT), Executive Chef of Radisson Hotel with their special dishes
Chef Lai Kim Hin (LEFT), from MyTown Restaurant and Devesh Dabral (RIGHT), Executive Chef of Radisson Hotel with their special dishes

On February 23, national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) will be serving local cuisines in regional flights exclusively prepared by Royal Brunei Catering (RBC). Travel agents have also joined the bandwagon to help promote the promotion to tourists and passengers visiting Brunei. Passengers on that day can have the taste of Brunei’s popular Nasi Katok as the main entree served with Acar and Bubur Si Bujang (short haul flights) and Wajid Temburong (long haul flights) for dessert.

Chefs from RBC also prepared an exquisite buffet menu at the Seasons Restaurant at The Centrepoint Gadong available for hi-tea and dinner including Rojak Brunei, Soto Rindu, Umai and Belutak Fried Rice, just to name a few.

A new comer to the hospitality industry is URBN Kitchen with their own interpretation of the popular Nasi Katok dubbed as the ‘Deconstructed Nasi Katok’. The steam rice is rolled and wrapped with cucumber, similar to the Japanese sushi and served in a bed of crispy boneless chicken thigh with a generous amount of sambal (spicy gravy). ‘Bubuk’, one of the main ingredients to make ‘sambal’, are fried and sprinkled on top of the dish, instead of typically cooking it together with the sambal.

The Brunei Hotel, located in the heart of the capital will entice guests with their ala carte version of the Bamboo Chicken and Nasi Katok, two of the well-known dishes in Brunei.

Both Tarindak d’Seni and Tarindak d’Polo will roll out their best buffet menu for lunch, dinner and hi-tea comprising of local delicacies and sweet treats only available during the Brunei Gastronomy Week.

Meanwhile, other participating hoteliers such as the D’Anggrek Service Apartment, The Empire Hotel & Country Club, Orchid Garden Hotel, Radisson Hotel, The Rizqun International Hotel as well as hotels in Kuala Belait, V-Plaza Hotel and Keoja Hotel will also provide an extensive buffet menu highlighting on authentic Bruneian cuisines. Among them include Acar Buah-Buahan, Sup Kembayau, Sup Tahai, Ambuyat, Soto Brunei, Daging Masak Kunyit and not forgetting Brunei’s sweet-treats such as Wajid, Cendol and Selurut. All dishes are presented in more innovative ways to enhance its aesthetic appeal without jeopardising the great taste.

Organisers hope to create more awareness on local cuisines and also promote the restaurants and cafes to better improve the quality of the local dishes.

Among the objectives is to celebrate and create awareness on Bruneian cuisine as well as to encourage more hotels and restaurants to serve Bruneian cuisine in a more sophisticated way.

This will in turn help to elevate the presentation of Bruneian dishes to that of fine dining and it’s a way to provide a unique Bruneian gastronomical experience to visitors within and outside Brunei.