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More on food :)

April 16, 2008

Brunei’s number one social activity is eating. Is that true or not? A friend once said that there’s nothing much to do in Brunei but eat. Even when we do our exercises or take part in walkathon, jogathon or whatever names that we created meaning en mass; may end with ‘refreshment’. This is not just light or finger foods we are talking about but heavy-weights like nasi goring (fried rice); mee goring (friend noodle); chicken boxing; and laksa.Another friend from abroad commented to me that she gained weight in Brunei because her local host fed her everyday, like 24/7. I am not surprised.


Bruneians are well-known for their hospitality. We are great hosts too. Just ask those youths who have been here in Brunei and adopted by Bruneian families on how were they treated? I am sure they would answer, well-fed.

I heard of a story from a tourist who wanted to see Kampong Ayer. He walked around in one of the villages and after awhile was confused with the walkways and the houses. Next thing he knew, he was entering someone’s kitchen. The house-owner though startled to see the tourist, welcomed him and invited him for some food. This story tells that Bruneians are not just friendly but trust any Tom, Dick or Harry.  

My mom always refer to those who suddenly appear or drop-by unannounced as orang sasat. In any meal, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or any event; she would set aside a portion of food for the orang sasat. She would feel sorry if there is nothing to offer to guests be it us her children, or grand-children and anyone basically. The first thing she would ask would be, sudah makan or have you eaten? I think any mother would be like that.

RSVP (repondez s’il vous plait, meaning “respond if you please”) will never work in Brunei. Sometimes people said they are coming but on the actual day, they didn’t turn up; or those who already said their regrets, suddenly turn up at your door-steps. However, we always welcome anyone, as I mentioned earlier.

This is the issue in Brunei that it would be difficult to estimate the quantity of food. Whenever we plan for an event, we estimated the number of guests we are going to invite. Then we inform the food caterer or for those who do their own cooking, will estimate on how many pikul or tones of meat are needed; how many bottles of water and those colorful, carbonated drinks that some people like to drink should be bought, and so on. When the big day comes, it turn out that there were more guests than food. Malu...Then there would be times when not many turn up for your event, here, at least guests can tapau or take home the left-over. Hmm…

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