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10/12 Sunday 09:17PM

the charms of sri lembayung

text . Pauline Chan .

Padang cuisine originates from a town on the Sumatran Island of Indonesia called Padang. To have Nasi Padang is a very visual dining experience.  A variety of cooked food is displayed in one part of the restaurant and diners will have a full view of what's on offer and be able to choose their dishes to be eaten with plain rice.
Lembayung is an Indonesian word for the purplish colour of the rainbow.  It's also a name of a lilac-coloured flower and a vegetable.  Vegetable or rainbow colour, this multi-meaning name means just one thing to the owner, Farah Abdullah - it means that she can dip her hand into the cooking pot, so to speak.

Farah is an Indonesian Chinese who left her hometown for Brunei 20 years ago and all these years, she has been ferrying a suitcase full of frozen Padang food whenever she returned from a visit to Indonesia to satisfy her undying hankering for the original taste of Padang food. After so many years of eating her favourite cuisine out of her suitcase, she decided to retire that suitcase and finally open a restaurant in Seri Purnama Complex in Kiulap. (Easiest is to tell you that it is behind the Kiulap Hongkong Bank.)

Sri Lembayung aspires to incorporate the most traditional of cooking methods and ingredients to give Padang food fans in Brunei a sincere replication of the original flavours of Padang. If you find their food too spicy, don't even try to ask for a watered-down version because you'll be cheating yourself of a true Padang experience.

Some items you can see on the menu are ayam Pop (steamed Pop chicken), rendang daging (beef rendang), spicy sambal hijau (green sambal chili), gulai kepala ikan (gulai fish head), kikil (muscle) and their piéce de résistance - the ox brain delight, gulai otak.


Sri Lembayung's chefs are from Jakarta.  With over 10 years of Indonesian culinary experience, they do not settle for anything less than genuine Padang ingredients. Whatever ingredients that cannot be found in Brunei, Farah will just have to bring them in from Indonesia.

Authentic Padang food tends to be spicy and hot, and more often than not, they are cooked with a part of the fabulously fragrant coconut in typical Indonesian styles such as the gravy-abundant gulai, the fresh-red-chili-blend balado and thick-santan-rich rendang. In the Sri Lembayung kitchen, the fresh coconut lends its flavour to most of it's dishes with its juice, grated flesh, coconut milk, even the shell is used to to stoke the flames for the barbequed chicken giving it a special smoked aroma.

Sri Lembayung
A2, Ground Floor,
Seri Purnama Complex
Kiulap, Bandar Seri Begawan BE1518.

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