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BiG Appetite: For the Love of Malay Kuih

It’s pleasing to know that in spite of Brunei’s ever-growing variety of gastronomical choices available in the country (a must for a nation full of voracious eaters), we still shine a spotlight on our local delicacies. You will still find your favourite Malay kuih at a tamu or supermarkets, kopitiams and cafés, even in the dessert section of an international buffet.

Heated over coal embers, dried in the sun, deep-fried, or just plain baked – here are some local treats we love to nom on (cup of teh tarik optional but highly recommended).

Kueh Lapis

These days you’ll find a variety of deviations from the original recipe, with many bakers using inventive ingredients between the layers of soft textured cake with different flavours.


Heated over coal embers in brass moulds (typically handed down from generation to generation), these little bite-sized cakes come in different shapes and sizes.

Kueh Sapit

A staple in every household, the crispy and crunchy Kueh Sapit is made with a round metal mould, which is then heated over coal embers before they are carefully removed, and then folded or rolled.

Kueh Papan

Roughly translated to ‘wood cakes’, possibly named because the mould for these delicious biscuits is made from selangan batu wood. The mould is used to shape the dough before the dough is steamed, broiled on coal embers and then dried out in the sunlight.

Kek Batik

Basically a chocolate fudge non-bake cake layered with Marie biscuits, you will find many modern variations of this cake which is typically served during Aidilfitri, like the popular Kek Batik Dua Rasa which features two different layers of flavours and biscuits in one cake.

Tapak Kuda

Directly translated to ‘horse hoof’, so named because it resembles one, this modern kuih is a soft cake roll with a Nutella filling, and is an extremely popular local dessert. If you’re a fan of Nutella and Tapak Kuda, look out for the Tapak Gajah (elephant hoof), which has an even more abundant amount of Nutella filling.


A sweet soft cake made with coconut milk, rice flour and sugar, the original Bingka Susu has paved the way for many other variations on this popular Malay kuih, such as Bingka Beras, Bingka Keladi, and even Bingka Durian – all discernible by their different colours and smells.

Panganan Cincin

These crunchy delights are made with brown sugar and rice flour, shaped into five rings and deep-fried.


These little steamed red and green balls are made with coconut milk and rice flour, and filled with delicious grated coconut.


These brown, hat-shaped delights are made with rice flour and brown palm sugar fermented overnight, and then deep-fried before serving. It results in a sweet, sticky, soft and yet crunchy texture that is plain delicious.


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