The sisters that brought you Geo Eats are broadening their horizons with the opening of Asian Shack, a new restaurant that promises to deliver a taste of the East that is affordable and on the go.
The newly-opened eatery is located on the ground floor of Hau Man Yong Complex in Kiulap, offering a modern twist on the classic “Nasi Campur”; home-cooked food that speaks to individuals who are always on the move and on a budget.
Two years running their mother branch in Jerudong, owners Nurul Nadiatul Hidayah and Nurul Munawarrah Hidayah Hj Sarifuddin felt that the menu in Geo Eats did not cater to a large audience.
For Nadia and Muna, although the concept of “dishes from around the world”, which is the slogan of Geo Eats, held a certain novelty in the sultanate’s food scene, it was still “too niche” for the average Bruneian thus limiting their market.
“We understand that (Bruneians) would always seek out Asian food at the end of the day, which is why we settled on the fast Asian food concept,” said 26-year-old Nadia in an interview with The Bruneian.
“Rice and noodles; these are foods that we gravitate towards and find comfort in. Fancy European and Western dishes are great, but for most people, these dishes are only sought out occasionally,” she added.
With this in mind, the culinary duo is hoping to cast a wider net for diners through Asian Shack which features a diverse spread of cuisines inspired from countries around the Southeast and East Asian regions.
From the Korean Bulgogi, the Chicken Adobo from the Philippines, and the Nasi Kerabu of the Malay Peninsula, the menu is earnestly crafted by Nadia and Muna with the Bruneian palate in mind.
Taking a page out of Asian fast-food chains in the West such as Panda Express from the US and Chopstix Noodle Bar from the UK, the freshly cooked dishes are available on display for diners to choose from.
Served in a build-your-own-bowl style, diners will have the option of choosing the regular bowl, which gives you a choice of one meat and one vegetable side, or the large bowl, which gives you two choices of meat with one choice of vegetable – all are served on a bed of rice or noodles.
The highest price point at Nadia and Muna’s latest food joint is $5, which is limited to a number of their set meals.
Meanwhile, the regular and large bowls are priced at $3 and $4 respectively. The one-dollar Bruneian staple, Nasi Katok is also available at Asian Shack.
“I actually went to Chopstix plenty of times when I was studying in Cardiff because it was fast, cheap and readily available. I wanted to bring that experience back here in Brunei,” said the 30-year-old Muna.
With Asian Shack, the sisters wanted to make sure that the dishes were not only appetising, but also affordable as they noticed the shift in spending behaviour among Bruneians.
This is even more apparent following a failed attempt at sustaining the second branch of Geo Eats called ‘Geo Eats Express’ last year when it closed down after 10 months of operations.
“With Asian Shack, it’s not just about expecting good food, we want our customers to also be happy with the prices we’ve set,” she added.
With their new endeavor up and running, Nadia and Muna are now determined for success, already anticipating the challenges ahead, especially in Brunei’s already highly competitive and oversaturated F&B industry.
Furthermore, the sisters are already looking at having delivery services in the near future and are aiming to update their menu on a monthly, if not, weekly basis.
“People can get bored easily, especially when it comes to food, so we have to be adaptable and keep the menu updated. Hopefully, we’ll be able to grow Asian Shack in due time,” added Muna.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN