From Ecuador to Brunei: Recipes to help you create a home away from home

WITH Melbourne’s diverse range of food, it’s easy to forget that there are other dishes from other nations worth talking about! Trinity College Foundation Studies students Samuel Chin and Bryan Haro show off their national dishes from Brunei and Ecuador.


Melbourne is a wonderful microcosm with people from all walks of life inhabiting the city.

It’s a city that displays high amount of respect to other cultures through celebrating the traditions and culture of its many multicultural inhabitants. One way Melbourne has achieved this is through food.

The universal language of food can often unite people from different cultures. In fact, people can learn a lot about a country from its food too! In this article, we take a look at two national dishes from Brunei and Ecuador and show you how to make it yourself!

Ambuyat Rolling (Brunei)


Ambuyat Rolling. Photo: Noranna via Flickr

Ambuyat is a traditional Bruneian dish, which looks like a white and clear goo-like substance. As prevalent food during the Japanese invasion of Brunei, it’s an extremely simple one made from sago and is eaten with a bamboo fork called a chandas. The starch can be rolled around and it can also be dipped into different sauces.

This dish is steeped in Bruneian history and signifies the country with many traditional stories surrounding it.

The most common one is that to make Ambuyat, you must be in a good mood. If you don’t feel joy when making it, the dish won’t turn out great when it’s done. This tale is intended to help people feel more joyful (especially back then during the time of war) and be grateful for the things around them – even when they eat this bland dish. Additionally, the dish is often eaten with many different side dishes to further bring out its flavours.

Ambuyat served on a traditional clay pot. Photo: Noranna via Flickr

Ambuyat served on a traditional clay pot. Photo: Noranna via Flickr


  • Sago powder
  • Water (both room temperature and boiling hot)


  1. Make sure the sago is extremely fine.
    If you have round beads of sago, you need to blend them first.
  2. Mix the sago powder with the room temperature water to make it gooey.
  3. Pour the hot water into the mixture and stir until it rises and becomes thick.

Ambuyat in the making. Photo: Samuel Chin

Colada Morada y Guaguas de Pan (Ecuador) 


Colada Morada and guaguas de pan. Photo: Agencia de Noticias ANDES via flickr

The “Colada morada y guagas de pan” is a traditional Ecuadorian dessert which has been passed down from generation to generation.

The dessert is often consumed by Ecuadorians during “The Day of Dead” on November 2 in Ecuador as a means of remembering relatives who have passed away.

“Colada morada” is a hot and thick purple beverage that represents the world of the dead. On the other hand, representing the world of the living is the “Guagua de pan”, a type of bread that looks like a child-like doll and is filled with sweet jelly.

Ecuadorian usually eat it at the graves of the deceased relatives as a way to remember and spend extra time with them as if they were alive. The tradition now has travelled from Ecuador to Australia, where an Ecuadorian girl named Tatiana prepares this dessert for all Ecuadorians living, working and studying in Melbourne. If you’d like to try the “Guagua de pan” yourself, you can head down to Don Fernando’s Pizza and Tacos (75 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121) and order some.

Below you’ll find the recipe to the “Colada morada”.


Ecuadorians enjoying the dessert on the November 2. Image via Facebook.


  • 1 cup of raw oats and 1 cup of water for soaking
  • Around 4 cups of water, depending on how thick you want the drink to be
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice, blueberry juice and brown sugar
  • 2 cups of blackberry or mulberry juice
  • 2 cups of diced strawberries, apples and peaches
  • 3 – 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 – 5 whole cloves and all-spice berries
  • 2 pieces of orange peel
  • A few lemongrass leaves (fresh or dry)


  1. Boil the 4 cups of water along with the sweet spices – cinnamon sticks, all-spice berries, whole cloves, lemongrass leaves and orange peels.
  2. Turn off the heat and strain the mixture into a container to remove the sweet spices.
  3. In a different container, soak the raw oats in water and add the fruit juice as well as the diced apple.
  4. Blend the raw oats mixture and strain it.
  5. Mix the first and second mixture in a pot and let it simmer until thickened.
    Add the brown sugar to taste.
  6. Stir in the chopped strawberries and peaches.
  7. Serve hot or cold with “Guaguas de pan”.

Colada morada’s preparation process. Photo: Andy / Andrew Fogg via Flickr


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