An epicurean adventure awaits you

Updated: 2012-02-23 13:05

By Zhang Zixuan (China Daily)

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As an epicure, I believe the most delicious snacks are found where locals crowd. In Brunei, the rallying point is Gadong Night Market.

The aroma and smoke from numerous mini charcoal grills greeted me long before I walked into the football pitch-sized market.

Before I tackled my first vendor I knew what the best eats would be: heart-shaped meatballs skewered on a stick and rubbed with golden-brown honey and spices, roasted over a sizzling charcoal fire.

I bit the top meatball, feeling its fat and meat and crunchy cartilage spread out in my mouth as I chewed. Its sweet and spicy flavor seemed to disperse the grease, and five minutes later I had finished the snack and was addicted.

The heart-shaped meatballs are made of chicken butts, and while some travelers hesitated to check them out, locals were having trouble leaving them alone.

I was with the locals but needed to sample the other snacks, too, such as seafood, rice cakes and shrimp crackers.

Then, I saw a drink stall with a rainbow hued arrangement of drinks in glass vats, called ABC ices.

After savoring a rose-flavored drink, my appetite finally surrendered. But, I figured, taking some tropical fruits for later would do no harm.

Vegetables and fruits like tomatoes were sold as groups on plastic plates, my tour guide said, as in Brunei, every Muslim man can marry four women. Such a marital structure indicates a big family, inevitably requiring large plates of vegetables and fruits.

The durian here is particularly delicious, and there are various durian-flavored snacks in Brunei, including the durian-chocolate, which is the No 1 seller at the Empire Hotel.