Aidil Adha 1430

Salam Aidil Adha, everyone!

Aidil Adha is the less-celebrated of the two Rayas in Brunei; perhaps because people feel rather dissociated with the Hajj event in Makkah, and they think only the pilgrims ‘feel’ this celebration of ultimate sacrifice, while others back home here don’t really.

But for as long as I can remember (perhaps since 1981?, when my dad first naik Haji), we’ve always celebrated Aidil Adha at home, beginning with Betakbir on the eve of Adha, cucul lights on, and an ‘openhouse’ in the morning after mass Adha prayers. So practically everyone from the mosque is welcome to our home for a bit of ‘breakfast’.

On the menu today was Nasi Briyani.

We also had Soto, a switch from the usual Satay. So, not a stick of Satay or Kelupis, or even Lemang, but the Soto was good and popular too.

Traditional favourites Cucur Nakan (Tibadak), Pulut Panggang and Karipap (Curry puff) were also offered.

Now, this was the first time I had Karipap with orange sweet potato filling. Its natural sweetness really complemented the spicy curry, and was absolutely delicious.

But, what’s Raya without cakes and biscuits? So there was the usual fare…

And of course fruit, Langsat and Satsumas.

The whole idea of the big feast is done in the name of sedakah as we’ve been taught that feeding people is a deed. It is also a great chance to reacquaint with friends and family we wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s a chance to reconnect with our roots, even if it’s just for one morning. The food is just a bonus. The embrace of family and friends is for keeps.

Selamat Hari Raya everyone, Maaf Zahir dan Batin!


Live from Cambodia!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 22 November, Sunday, 7.15pm.

Here for work. Cambodians like their long breaks. 1 hour of discussion, 45 min coffee break. Then discussion resumes, and then lunch break for 2 ½ hours. After an hour of discussion, coffee break lagi. 30 min this time. But I’m Bruneian, who am I to complain? We’re not exactly known for our punctuality or time-efficiency. But there really is a lot of long breaks here. I don’t normally write about other countries, but having seen its horrific history I feel compelled to project something positive about this nation in real time. Cambodia is a very poor country, but the people really do make up for their lack of wealth with their warm and generous hospitality, they have a very big heart indeed. For coffee we were offered four types of local sweets.

Sweet sticky rice with Santan

Clear kanji with lotus paste filling, wrapped in banana leaf

They’re not too dissimilar from Bruneian sweets either in taste or appearance. It’s just interesting that our humble foods are the same, but our fates couldn’t have been more different. Cambodians are not just resilient, but they are also a very forgiving people, completely unencumbered by the weight of their history, it seems. I wish them the best always. And we should count our blessings.

Durian Dinner

This blog should really be called Banyak pasal durian saja.

But here’s what I had for dinner last night.


That’s right, durian and rice. Well, durian dadahan and durian kuning with nasi putih and nasi kabun, to be exact.

The only other person I know who shares the same predilection for having durian with rice is Cousin Najul, who I caught sneaking in the kitchen gratifying his craving at 1am. Only one thing to do- join him. It’s very kampung-style, so what? The rice gives the soft durian some texture, volume and “bite”. Give it a go. In Bangkok they have sweet mango with sticky rice, so durian and rice is not as strange as you might think.

Behold The Red Durian!

No, I’m not talking about the Durian Otak Udang (“Prawn Brain”, after its colour), which is the normal durian whose flesh is deep orange colour – a prized catch nonetheless.


Otak Udang

That’s nothing compared to this rare durian I’m about to tell you about. In fact it’s so rare that even if you “googlificize” it, you’ll find only this link on it.

I’m talking about durian that’s actually red on the outside, and bright yellow on the inside. I found these at the Tutong tamu about two years ago (way before this blog came into being), and have just remembered I took photos because I was just so amazed by this very rare durian. When I first saw them, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes- they looked like overgrown red rambutan, or perhaps giant sea urchins.


Glorious rouge!

The fruit is NOT easy to open despite the natural seams between the “satars”. But as soon as you’ve pried them apart, you catch sight of the bright yellow flesh which contrast sharply with the deep red thorns.


Delicious yellowness


Despite its pleasing aesthetics, it’ll take someone with damaged taste buds and sense of smell to eat it because it is simply TOO wangi to consume!! The moment I put some in my mouth, it’s like getting a hit and you’re immediately high from the sweetness (aroma rather than taste) – I had to lie down. It is so wangi, you might as well chug down a bottle of perfume!! Erk. Perhaps the label “King of Fruit” is a misnomer. A “King” can’t be wangi coz wangi is a “feminine” quality – that’s a rather unpolitically correct statement that could lead to butch lesbians kicking my head in. Big L aside, my dad says that it’s a jungle fruit that’s not meant for human consumption. But even if I were a monkey, I think I’d rather lose grip of a tree branch and crashland onto to a porcupine on the ground than eat this. I’m exaggerating of course, you could still eat it, but in very little doses. For the first time in my life, I refused a second bite of the durian!