The foods eaten by the people of Brunei Darussalam

The culinary landscape of Brunei Darussalam is a blend of various influences including indigenous traditions, Malay culture, and international elements such as Chinese and Indian cuisines. Brunei, located on the island of Borneo, has a rich biodiversity, which influences its culinary traditions. Over the last 500 years, the cuisine has evolved but maintained a focus on locally available ingredients like rice, fish, and tropical fruits. Here's an overview:


  • Rice: A central component in Bruneian meals, often served steamed or fried.
  • Noodles: Varieties such as "bihun" (rice vermicelli) and "mee" (yellow noodles) are common.


  • Fish and Seafood: Given Brunei's coastal location, fish such as tuna, mackerel, and shrimp play a significant role in the diet.
  • Chicken: Commonly consumed, often in curries, stir-fries, or grilled.
  • Beef: Included in various dishes but less frequently than fish or chicken.


  • Durian, Rambutan, and Mango: Tropical fruits that are widely consumed.
  • Banana: Used both as a fruit and in cooked dishes like fried banana fritters ("cucur pisang").


  • Kangkong (Water Spinach), Okra, and Eggplant: Often stir-fried or included in soups and stews.


  • Tofu and Tempeh: Soy-based products that are commonly used in a variety of dishes.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Lemongrass, Turmeric, and Ginger: Frequently used in Bruneian cooking.
  • Chilies: Both fresh and dried forms are used for heat.

Sweets and Desserts:

  • Wajid: A sticky rice cake often flavored with brown sugar and coconut.
  • Kuih-Muih: A general term for traditional snacks and desserts, which can be sweet or savory.


  • Teh Tarik: Pulled tea with condensed milk, similar to the versions found in Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Coconut Water: Consumed fresh from the fruit.

Historical and External Influences:

  • Malay Influence: As a Malay state, Brunei shares many culinary traditions with Malaysia, including dishes like "nasi lemak" (coconut milk rice) and "rendang" (a type of meat stew).
  • Chinese Influence: Noodle dishes and stir-fries, as well as techniques like steaming and deep-frying, are part of the culinary landscape, likely influenced by Chinese immigrants.
  • Indian and Arabic Influences: The use of spices like turmeric and cumin, as well as dishes like biryani, reflect these broader Asian and Middle Eastern influences.

Over the last 500 years, the diet in Brunei Darussalam would have seen both continuity and change, with traditional foods remaining popular while new ingredients and culinary techniques were integrated into the cuisine. The focus on local, fresh ingredients has remained a constant, reflecting the country's geographical and cultural context.

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