Traditional Food of the Brunei’s Ambuyat
When you first google Ambuyat you may be a little taken aback. But don’t let its looks deter you, they can be very very deceiving. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting the kingdom of Brunei you’ll know that there are a number of dishes that you can try, and we bet that you know that the Ambuyat is the best of the best. In fact, it is the most famous dish they have.
The Culture of Brunei
The Ambuyat entré actually helps us depict some of the old society that makes up Brunei. The biggest tradition you will notice is in how it is served. This main part of the meal is served in one large bowl and then is separated out into smaller portions for every individual partaking in the dinner feast. Along with smaller bowls, guests are given Candas. These are two bamboo sticks used to eat the Ambuyat by dipping the prongs into the starch sauce. They are placed near the main bowl and are taking once the feast commences.
The main thing we learn from the way Ambuyat is set up is that the Brunei culture thrives on giving to one another, as well as the art of expressing how their emotions via the means of food. Brunei typically eats with family and friends, because this gives them a chance to express the importance of family and love.
And the best way to show this love is with Ambuyat dish
So What is Ambuyat?
Ambuyat consists of the sago palm, which is a solid white substance found inside the trunk Rumbia tree. Ambulung is the local term for Sago, however, in some areas, it is also known as Linut or Papeda.
While this is the national dish of Brunei, it doesn’t just stop there. It is also enjoyed by a multitude of Malaysian states, as well as Labuan and Sarawak.
The Taste of Ambuyat
The Ambuyat actually has a more mild, bland taste. Which, alongside its texture may through you off. However, this is done on purpose. And that is because it is paired with something called Cacah or an Ambuyat dip.
The taste of Cacah is spicy and sour, and when combined with Ambuyat, this combination will make you taste flavors you hadn’t even imagined possible, without coming on too strong.
So How Do You Prepare the Ambuyat Dish of Brunei?
While it may be intimidating at first, go ahead and give this recipe a try. It is definitely worth it!
1 lb sago starch/potato starch/tapioca starch
2 1/2 cups of water
1 Thai chili pepper
1 Tbsp shrimp paste
1 Tbsp dried shrimp
1 Tbsp durian
Directions – Ambuyat
- Chose either tapioca, sago or potato starch and add cold water
- Set it aside in the bowl for approximately 5 minutes
- Take boiling water and slowly pour on top of the starch
- Leave until it starts getting a glue-like texture
- Mix well with a wooden spoon
Directions – Tempoyak/Durian
Now it is time to prepare a Tempoyak or Durian sauce to compliment your Ambuyat dish.
- Take dried shrimp and crumble
- Add a dash of Thai chili pepper
- Combine these two in a mortar and pestle, or a Lasung
- Crush until it becomes a paste
- Add the shrimp and shrimp paste mixture
- Sprinkle a bit of salt to taste
- Transfer to a serving bowl
- Add boiling water slowly until desired consistency reached
You can now serve the famous Ambuyat of Brunei. Perfectly complemented by the shrimp sauce.
If you are looking to add a little more to your feast, there are no limits. You can add veggies, fish, or Belutak. As well you can have a variety of dipping sauces. This dish is about using your creativity and imagination while tapping into a culture that has perfected its ways.