10th October 2010
When you arrived in Brunei, the first thing you will notice is that, all the buildings have Arabic writing on them. Like HSBC here. Probably a smart move – since there are many rich middle eastern tourists flocking Asian countries nowadays!
HSBC in Arabic
After idling for awhile at the Illy’s Café, we made a stop at Hua Ho Department Store at Manggis Plaza. Yes, another supermarket.. again. Haha! Anyway, the things here showed that Bruneians are simply living in luxury. We could see many imported cars. Who would drive a sports car to go shopping? In the parking lot alone, we see many luxury cars line-up. It’s like going to a motor show. Since Brunei is so rich, even the parking is free! We don’t need to pay parking or toll at all in Brunei!
Bruneians are so rich that, even their shopping carts are coated in gold.
If these are used in Malaysia, long time hilang liao.
You can also find many imported goods here, though not as many as Miri – including the pineapple tarts from Taiwan.
After loitering around Hua Ho for awhile, we decided to eat again. This time, we looked for ambuyat – a local specialty. Again, we drove around using the GPS to find Aminah Arif restaurant along Jalan Gadong but were led to an empty tyre workshop instead.
“So we are having tyres for dinner?” me being sarcastic to the GPS.
Then, we passed by Sumbangsih Medan Selera so, decided to stop there for a meal but there was only one shop opened. It’s a Sunday and the whole town was empty. Sigh. However, we managed to find out from nice local people on where is the nearest Aminah Arif restaurant.
Colorful, diabetic inducing macarons
While getting lost, we bumped into Fleur de Lys, where they sell scones and macarons. I haven’t tried macarons before so I decided to hop down the car to buy some. Ended buying 10 macarons for BN$19.50. That’s pretty steep for small, little pretty things. However, they were too sweet that I had a sudden sugar rush! I don’t think I want to try anymore macarons in future!
The very susah nak cari Ambuyat
We finally found Aminah Arif! If you ask me for directions again, I am really sorry coz I don’t remember! At Aminah Arif, we ordered the local dish – ambuyat. It’s actually made from sago, in gluey mass form. It reminds me of my younger days of making kite, using kanji. Haha! The sago gluey mass is eaten with other dishes of choice – we had the beef tumis, paku sambal belacan, ulam and belutak. Belutak is also one of their special dish. I thought it was made from some cow intestines. I didn’t like the taste but eating it just for the sake of trying. Then I was told that it was actually cooked cow’s intestine encased in sheep’s intestines. Yucks. It was slightly bitter with pungent beefy smell. Not entirely bad lah.
Since it was almost 7 pm and the immigration closes at 9 pm, we quickly ate and made our way to Ayamku – another local delight to pack away 5 chicken wings and a drum stick! All for only BN$7.50. We pray that the GPS will not lead us to another wild goose chase.
Good Bye, Brunei!
We got really stressed up when the GPS didn’t say a word. “Please say something!” JS asked in exasperation. The GPS then said, “Please observe your speed limit”. Well, this is not what we wanted to hear lah. But at least, the GPS said something! We managed to get to the checkpoint, 22 minutes before closure. The checkpoint was rather empty and the officers were also too tired to even be looking at our faces. We even mistook the dilapidated booths at the Miri checkpoint as toilets.
e-Mart, where the small city never sleeps
We made a short stop at e-Mart to go to the toilet. There was a fun fair going on there and it was really happening. Then we found out that, actually, they were gambling there. Haha!
We tried to go to the Miri wet market to have the chicken porridge but unfortunately, it ran out of chicken porridge. Two uncles who were sitting with us, advised us to come when the shop opens at 7.30 pm. The porridge ran out by 9.30 pm, so you should have guessed how good it must be! Perhaps, in our next trip to Miri! We had the noodles instead the tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken! They were equally good.
That’s about it for our Brunei trip. Eat, bad GPS, eat, bad directions, eat, going round and round, eat, annoying “please observe your speed limit!”, eat, empty city, restaurants mostly closed, eat, good selection supermarkets, eat. It was overall a fruitful “overseas” trip, nevertheless. Haha!