From fine international dishes in upscale restaurants to hearty, home-cooked local street food, cuisine in Brunei is influenced by the various cultures that settled the country, so you can expect to taste some Thai, Chinese, and Indonesian flavors. Traditional local specialties are largely Malaysian. There are plenty of eateries, bistros and cafés serving high-end fare at reasonable prices, showcasing the Bruneians’ love of good food and their huge appetites.
Bars and Pubbing in Brunei
The sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited so there are no casinos, nightclubs, pubs, bars, or discos in this dry country. If you’re in need of a drink, there are a few restaurants that serve a variation of alcohol. Non-Muslims and foreigners are allowed to bring two bottles through customs or 12 cans of beer every 48 hours. Those who wish to buy spirits across the border from Malaysia’s duty-free shops may secure permits while going through customs.
Several high-end and fine dining restaurants also let customers bring their own drinks. Though technically illegal, guests are advised to be discreet if they wish to consume alcohol in a public place. Tagz Lounge (Sheraton Utama Hotel, Bandar Seri Begawan) sells mixers and allows you to BYO, but it is exclusive to the Brunei elite and the country’s business society. Some Chinese eateries also disguise alcohol as a “special tea.”
Dining and Cuisine in Brunei
Pasar Gadong (Lr Sultan Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam) is the capital’s bustling night market where visitors can find a large variety of gastronomic treats. Situated near the shopping center of Gadong, it is an excellent place to enjoy no-nonsense street food, including kueh melayu (sugar, raisin, and peanut-filled sweet pancakes) and fried favorites like chicken wings, barbecue fish and satay. For fast food enthusiasts, there is Ayamku Restaurant (Jln Permancha Town Center, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam), which serves the legendary fried chicken that critics have described as “better than KFC.”
Delicious morning coffee and tea along with fresh roti and juice are served in Hajah Halima Restaurant (54 Jln Sultan Town Center, Bandar Seri Begawan) with other Indian-Muslim fare like nasi biryani or spiced rice for lunch and dinner.
The Royal Brunei Catering service runs six upscale restaurants. One is The Airport Restaurant (Brunei International Airport, Bandar Seri Begawan), which serves halal, Asian fusion and international cuisine. They also operate Seasons Restaurant (2nd Floor, Gadong Centerpoint, Jalan Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei), which is open throughout the week from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.