Unless you happen to dwell or grow up on the islands of Papua, the Maluccas, or Borneo, you will certainly hold Sago palm tree starch and the accompanying meal as a brilliant culinary novelty.
In Brunei Darussalam, the sago is a local staple and is known as Ambuyat. After searching out a traditional location to eat Ambuyat in Bandar Seri Begawan, I joyously ordered the combination meal from a cheerful family serving out of a food court eatery.
As the smiling waiter emerged from the kitchen with Ambuyat in hand, an overwhelming feeling of happiness swept over my being and I knew I was ready to have another great cuisine experience in the far-off and unique Brunei.
Here is a short video of how I managed to eat Ambuyat:
The transparent glue paste (ambuyat) is eaten with a utensil that is a double pronged bamboo stick (Candas), resembling a pair of amateur chopsticks where the two sticks automatically spring back together. The sticks are twirled into the ambuyat to create a bite size peice and dipped into the sauce.
Along with the sago paste, the meal deal came with a fish based soup (Ikan Rebus), a green leaf boiled vegetable (Sayur Bayam), and the craziest tasting sauce in the world (Cacah Binjai).
The cacah binjai sauce is made from the binjai fruit which resembles a mango but has been neglected throughout much of world except in parts of Borneo and is still thriving in Brunei. The sauce was one of the more intense flavors that I have ever come across in my life.
Try to imagine this; cream of fermented mushroom soup blended with a super shrimp paste, mixed with pickled sour ginger, and doused with a dash of vodka, just enough for a sharp bite. I was left speachless at the mercy of the powerful cacah binjai and loved every bite of super pungent excitement.
Much like a durian buffet, an ambuyat feast in Brunei is an imperative move for a gourmet guru.
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