For a typical Bruneian, the word Jinchu refers to a quaint little restaurant (actually named Chop Jing Chew) situated in a rather questionable part of Gadong. It’s Chinese-owned and for that reason, some regard its halalness rather dubious. It also does not help that there is no “halal” signage available in any visible part of the restaurant. However, for those who feel that this little factor stops them from entering the place, observe the phone conversation below.
B: Hello Jinchu ni?
[Hello, is that Jinchu?]
B: Sana ada sweet and sour pork?
[Do you serve sweet and sour pork?]
A: *bewildered* HAH? *raise voice* TIDA ADA BABI! INI RESTAURANT HALAL BAH!
[We don’t serve pork! This is a halal restaurant!]
B: Oh ok, terima kaseh ah.
[Ah alrighty, thanks]
A: *slams down phone receiver*
Yes, phone conversation above really did happen. And so, there you are, the restaurant is halal. Let us all calm down and enjoy the food.
What I care about is the Roti Kuning Kawin. Why talk about history when you can very well move on to more… (saliva) stimulating topics. For instance, the freshly baked bread, tinged yellow from egg yolks, which is puffy and warm to the touch. When you bite in it, you can feel yourself slicing through the fluffy bread straight into the cold butter and the richly creamy kaya.
Consume as soon as it is served. Drippages might occur.
Yum. After dessert (who says we can’t start with dessert!) is washed down with generous amounts of teh tarik ping, we are now ready to start on the main meal. A dish, in my humble opinion, that is the heart of Jinchu’s very existence.
The actual spelling of the dish is something I find quite an enigma. Some refer to it as the zeema kway teow, and some refer to it as, the seema kway teow. Of course it would have been better if the dish is actually listed on the green menu, but it is not. First timers: fear not. When ordering, just say whichever version quickly. You will be safe.
Anyway, what it basically consist of is, steaming hot, flat rice noodles, drenched in a soy-based sauce and topped with a sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds. Above the noodles, are generous pieces of battered fish, and cubes of tofu, deep fried to perfection.
For an extra kick, cut chilies and soy will satisfy even the worst, chili addicts.
Upon your first bite, the combination eventually, produce a delicious burst in your mouth as you taste the dark coloured sauce covering the mild and unintrusive flavor of the flat noodles, and as you bite into the crunchy on the outside and flaky on the inside fish pieces. Drool drool.
Get this, Jinchu is the only place I know in Brunei that offer this dish. So hey, if you are a restaurant owner, and if you think you can do better, drop me a comment.
Tip: Head on over during lunchtime if you prefer peace and quiet. Bruneians generally flock here in the mornings.