Published on July 15th, 2013 | by Sakinah Abas
Fasting Month and the Hari Raya Celebration in Brunei
This article was written by one of the GIC interns. For more information about volunteering at the GIC, please contact the GIC at [email protected]
Brunei Darussalam is the land of peace and food. It is a very small country with a very small population. With an area of only 5,765 sq. km. and a population of less than 500,000 people, Brunei is well known for its tasty and delicious food.
The food in Brunei is mind-blowing and we Bruneians love to eat. Bruneians and food cannot be separated. Particularly during the fasting month in Ramadhan and the Hari Raya celebration, all we can think about is food.
In Islam, Ramadhan is our fasting month. There are two ways to spell the word “Ramadhan.” In Brunei we usually use the spelling with an “h” and hence, I prefer to use this spelling. However, in some other countries, Muslims use the spelling of Ramadan without the “h.” There is no difference in meaning, only the spelling is different.
This year, Ramadhan will fall on July. During this month, all Muslims cannot eat or drink from dawn until dusk. However, when it is time to break our fast, various types of food will be served on the table to be enjoyed with family and friends. Each day, different national dishes will be served. There are many favorite dishes of mine that I typically eat during Ramadhan.
The first dish is Nasi ayam, which is chicken rice. Rice is cooked with chicken broth and can be eaten with grilled or steamed chicken. It contains chili sauce and soy sauce, which is eaten together with the chicken and some cucumbers.
The second dish is called Soto. It is a dish with noodles and beef ribs soup. It is similar to the Korean food Udong. However, inside this Soto dish, one can find boiled egg, beef ribs, bean sprouts and cabbage. The taste of this dish is magnificent.
Finally, my most favorite dish of all time is called Laksa. It is also a noodle dish. The soup of the dish is made with curry. The taste of this dish is spicy, sweet, sour and salty. The taste is very balanced and appealing to the mouth. You can also find some cucumbers, beef or chicken in the dish. These dishes are a “must try” when visiting Brunei.
Cendol, Kueh Kusui, Putu Mayang, Kueh Sari Muka and Tapai are some of the “must have” traditional food dishes to try for dessert after fasting. During the whole fasting month, food festivals are held. People can be seen flocking to the food festivals to buy and look for the food that they have been craving. A sea of people can be seen buying a variety of food for breaking their fast.
At these festivals, there is a diversity of food that people can choose from at affordable prices. Other than going to the food festivals, friends and families can also be seen going to restaurants to eat. Advanced booking for the restaurants is necessary since all restaurants will be booked up during the fasting month.
Various buffet promotions from restaurants are also available. It is a competition among the restaurants during the fasting month. Many advertisements are made and exhibited to attract more customers to their restaurants. The fasting month is a very hectic season for restaurants in Brunei. During the fasting month, it is the time where families and friends can further tighten their relationships by going to the restaurants or enjoying food together during the pause in fasting.
In this month as well, tourists can also benefit from countless promotions from the restaurants. Tourists have different choices of food and can grab the opportunities of buffet promotions. That is why July is a very good month to go and visit Brunei, so you can taste the good food that Brunei offers.
Aside from going to the restaurants or buying from the food festivals for breaking the fast, some people also like to cook the food themselves at home. If you go to the houses in Brunei, you will be able to see that the mothers are busy in the kitchen cooking several menu items as the fasting during the day draws to a close. The mothers will be busy preparing the stuff to cook, starting at 3 p.m. Every day different dishes will be cooked and served. That is why every day my siblings and I are always anticipating what will our mother will prepare to eat.
When the fasting month is over, it is time for the Hari Raya celebration. It is the month where we celebrate our victory for fasting during Ramadhan. During this festive celebration, people will be visiting friends and families, asking for forgiveness. Food is a necessity during this festive celebration.
In the eve of the Hari Raya, families will be busy preparing for the Hari Raya celebration. Preparing and cooking the food for the first day of Hari Raya will be done. Some people even stay up late preparing the food for the first day of Hari Raya. During the first day of the Hari Raya celebration, cooking and serving chicken curry or rendang with nasi minyak and kelupis is a must in everyone’s meal. Friends and families will be cooking and serving delicious and mouth-watering food to people visiting their homes.
For the period of Hari Raya celebration, there is a day called the “open house” day. On this day, people will invite their families and friends to come to their houses and enjoy the food that they have prepared. In every house that we visit, different types of food will be served for the guests.
Food is a way of tightening the bonds and relationships between friends and families, especially during the fasting month and also during the Hari Raya celebration. So if you are planning to go and visit Brunei one day, come and enjoy the wonderful, tasty and scrumptious tastes of Bruneian food. Many good food dishes can be enjoyed and chosen for the satisfaction of, what will later be, your happy tummy.