It’s funny how as the years go by, I can still find something new and fascinating in Brunei that I didn’t know about before.
I have recently come to a new chapter in my life and what comes along with it are new and welcomed responsibilities in my adult life, one of which is sending my wife to work every morning.
It was during one of these daily drives, which I must emphasise was a rushed morning with no time to enjoy breakfast, that I was introduced to a whole new culinary scene, one that I can only describe as a grab-and-go breakfast spot.
When my spouse asked if I wanted to grab some food I was surprised as I didn’t think any shop would be open that early in the morning, apart perhaps from packaged buns and canned coffee from small convenience stores.
En route to her office, she asked me to go to Jalan Durian, which I did with some scepticism. After a quick turn and entering the junction, I could not believe my eyes as I saw a long line of cars in front of me waiting for a parking spot to be free.
Right at the end of the junction was a humble stall swarmed with people standing in line to grab their choice of meals.
Ranging from BND1 to less than BND5, there was a vast variety of pre-packed dishes to choose from which included the popular crispy popiah (spring rolls), homemade spaghetti, nasi lemak, a long list of Malay kuehs and of course the ever-popular local favourite nasi katok.
I spoke to some people who visits this place often,one of whom was nursery teacher Waddaah. She said, “I’ve known about the place for a while now. I used to drop by as early as six in the morning to grab breakfast before checking in at work.
“It’s one of the few places that has everything a person wants for breakfast or someone who wants to find treats to bring to work,” she added.
One is also likely to find familiar faces at the spot as its location is right near government offices and is a go-to area to grab budget-friendly meals to last throughout the day.
“Here at Jalan Durian (as most people fondly refer to) I can stretch out my budget, it’s affordable and you can never be disappointed with the food, it has saved me a couple of times from overspending on food during the working week,” said civil servant Ahmad Faizin.
If you see a person walking away with what you think is too much food for one person, it’s most likely someone’s turn to do a food run before work for their office mates.
Those familiar with Jalan Durian shared that the food stall is open as early as 6am and goes on until the afternoon if there is still food left for sale.
With my eyes now already open to this whole new scene, it turns out there is more than one grab-and-go breakfast spot.
Recently again while on the journey of my morning husband duty, we decided to stop by a small convenience store which is always swarmed with people early in the morning in our village, Kampong Kapok.
Again to my surprise, once I walked inside, a multitude of packed food was arranged on large tables right in front of the stores.
There were even cheesecakes, bottled teh tarik, coconut juice and any food imaginable, even pre-packed sunny-side eggs!
I asked how they acquired this amount of food for sale so early in the morning and the manager who declined to be named shared that sellers from near the area approach shops to sell their food.
The shop then offers space and take a small amount from the sales as payment for rent for space to sell the food at the store.
The convenience spot must be well known, as people from different walks of life come through the doors; parents with kids before heading to schools, truck drivers grabbing food either before the start or the end of their run and your regular blue-collared workers grabbing something for breakfast at the office.
I’m still surprised at what else can be found in my lovely country, finding out about gems such as these which genuinely pique my interest is always welcome.
As embarrassed as I am to only find out about this recently, I wonder if there are other affordable grab-and-go havens out there in the Sultanate.