Interview with Thanis Lim

Makeup Artist by Karen Then, Photography by Riley Khoo


How do you determine one’s level of influence in today’s world? One way is to let Google be the judge. Search food guide for Bangkok, Guangzhou, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Manila or Hanoi, chances are, Bruneian Food Blogger Thanis Lim’s name will appear on the top 5 search results on Google. Thanis’s passion for food and enthusiasm to discover and share his culinary adventures have contributed to making him a well-respected authority in the world of culinary discovery both locally and abroad. His mouth-watering photos and impressive collection of recipes will seduce your appetite and help you to rekindle your passion for food even if you’re not a food lover. Thanis took the time to answer a few questions for us in this issue.

Photo courtesy of Thanis Lim

You are a prominent local food blogger, how significant is this role to locals and tourists?
I guess since I provide information about both local and international food scene, I make life easier for people to make their decision when thinking about what or where to eat. My food travel guides are written to reduce the hard work of finding out where and what to eat, and saving my readers precious time as well as give them an edge on the dining scene in Brunei and overseas.

Which chefs/ bloggers do you admire and why?
I am a big fan of Heston Blumenthal for his knowledge and dedication to not only good food but also invoking the imagination of eating. One of the most fascinating things I’ve seen was Heston single handedly beating three other Masterchef contestants in a cooking challenge! I had tried some of his recipes and the results turned out perfect and enjoyed his whimsical creations on television. It would be a dream come true to meet him in person one day!


What’s your favourite recipe?
This is a very difficult question to ask someone who loves to experiment and find new recipes! I must say my favourite dishes to cook are pasta based dishes and in my four cooking competitions I’ve joined and won first place, three of the dishes were pasta dishes. My salted yolks carbonara with mussels is always sold out at every pop up festival I’ve joined within half an hour.

What restaurants do you go to frequently?
I’m very flexible when it comes of places to eat. I had a bowl of soup noodles while squatting down with the locals in Vietnam before and I’ve eaten in fancy 3 Michelin star restaurants. For me, what’s important is not the place but the quality of the food – as long as the food is good, you will find me there happily eating with a big smile.

What kind of cuisine do you love and why?
I don’t really have a preference on the type of food as it depends on the mood. There are times when I want something rich and heavy like a plate of nasi lemak with sambal tahai and fried chicken, while sometimes a simple light Thai green papaya salad can satisfy my hunger. I guess given a choice, I love food with strong bold flavours that pack a punch!


How do you see the future of the food industry in Brunei?
The Brunei food industry has grown so much over the years and our population is slowly becoming more adventurous when it comes to trying new cuisines as you can see in recent pop up festivals where local vendors showcase their creative dishes to local foodies! I expect our food industry to grow in terms of cultural diversity and quality.

Is there anything that our local food industry can export to other countries?
There are actually quite a few local restaurants that have the potential to be exported as franchises to other countries as I felt the quality of the food is something other countries can’t match! I have a soft spot for our prawn crackers industry, as they are what I bring as souvenirs when I visit my friends overseas so I hope one day we will be exporting that and of course there’s our halal food industry which has potential to be exported internationally!

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to travel to more places in order to write more travel guides! There’s still so much to explore and food to eat! At the same time, I wish to not only focus on restaurants but also on introducing lifestyle products to my readers.

This article was published in the Jan-Feb 2017 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!