Thanis Lim is Brunei’s foremost food blogger (thanislim.com) and an accomplished chef who judges food competitions – when he’s not winning them. He took home the top dessert prize at an event for breast cancer awareness for his chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream and a regional pastry called kuih sapit, which means “love letter”.
Brunei has a big foodie scene thanks to social media. We are up to date with the latest food trends and you see a wide variety of choices. Besides our local food, which is centred around Borneo-style cooking, we are blessed with international cuisines, from Italian to Japanese. Besides our diverse choices of restaurants and cafes, there’s a lot of chefs selling their food from their homes using social media to establish a cult following.
“Visitors to Brunei must try ambuyat, a local starchy dish enjoyed with flavoursome dips and served with traditional Bruneian sausages and sun-dried spiced meats. A visit to our night markets can be a good introduction to our local food as well. Brunei has so many hidden gems that you might need to stay quite a long time to fully enjoy them.
“Chicken wings are a staple, and I like them deep fried – they must be crispy on the outside but make sure the flesh is not dry. One of the most perfect chicken wings I’ve tasted is done the Cantonese way of deep-frying and then tossing them in garlic oyster sauce, like at restaurants in Kota Kinabalu. They are lip-smacking good and I can eat around 20 wings on my own!
“I started my food blog to share tips on cooking, then moved on to help connect restaurants, cafes and food sellers to my followers. After writing for some time, I decided to do more travel posts where I introduce my tried and tested recommendations on where to eat in popular cities across Asia. My advice to aspiring food bloggers is to write not for the fame, but for the love of sharing good food and promoting the overall food culture, starting locally and then working your way across the globe! I also discourage being a food critic, as they don’t seem to foster a positive environment for our food scene and instead create a toxic environment for the food and beverage industry, which is already one of the toughest industries to be in.”