Founders and chefs of Temurun.bn, Mohd Zulafiq Mohd Yusof and Aainaa Zawani Yusuf both shared a strong vision and passion for food.
From the couple’s signature nasi lemak to Laksa Sarawak, which Aainaa learnt from her family heritage, the husband and wife pair got the idea to open Temurun.bn by the simple joys of home cooking.
According to the founders, many of their menu items were inspired by the meals their family used to make when they were younger. They both grew up with parents who had a background in food and beverage.
From the menu to the flavours of the dishes, Temurun.bn is a nod to a generation of recipe passed down to both Zul and his wife, Aainaa, early in their lives
Their parents learned their recipes from their own parents and grandparents. And now the duo are following in their family’s footsteps, taking those inherited recipes, often putting their own spin to it.
According to the couple their home-cooked dishes are a labour of love and a way to share it with the next generation.
“As we both are mostly taught by our parents who were taught by their parents about the ethics and ways in the kitchen and cooking, we believe we are the bi-products of “turun-temurun” hence the name “Temurun,” said Zul.
“We also wanted to showcase our family’s favorite food as well as what we like as the ‘new generation’. Turun-temurun sums up the drives and passion that we have in continuing the tradition our parents have done all this time. We decided to use Temurun as it’s simple yet meaningful, staying true to our roots,” he said,
Zul was born in Johor, but raised in Brunei since he was 9-years-old. He shared that growing up in the housing schemes in Kg Ayer helped shape him
The 36-year-old grew up in Kg Bolkiah A and learned how to cook by watching his parents and grandparents prepare meals on a daily basis.
“We made a living by selling traditional cakes to shops in Bandar from Kueh Pao, Lenggang, Karipap, Bingka etc. My two brothers and I would wake up at 4 to 5am every morning to help our family pack the traditional cakes and then send them to different shops and after that, we would get ready for school,” he shared
“That has been our morning routine since I was 10 years old. We didn’t have a car but owned a boat living in Kg Bolkiah A. So our daily income was generated using that boat. From fishing to fish netting to water taxis and selling our traditional cakes to construction workers building houses now known as Kg Sungai Bunga. As kids, we (my brothers and I) enjoyed it,” he said.
For Aainaa, her greatest influence on her food and cooking is her mother, who is from Sarawak.
Baking has always been an integral part of Aainaa’s household. Many of her childhood memories include the wonderful smells of raya cookies and biscuits baking in the kitchen.
“I have a big passion for baking which was taught by my own mother who is a housewife. We used to bake a lot of biscuits for Hari Raya for us to sell. The rest of the year we would bake cakes to share with the rest of the family and my friends and teachers at school. I would also spend the afternoon either cycling around the neighborhood or in the kitchen baking with my friends,” she said.
The 34-year-old would spend hours revising and attempting to capture the flavours and textures of her mother’s recipes.
“Looking through my mother’s recipe books has been a hobby since I could remember. And I would always challenge myself to see what I could bake with the very limited ingredients we had at the time. And when Zul and I decided to get married, we even baked our own 6 tier wedding cake,” she shared fondly.
Before opening Temurun.bn, the couple started with a small scale dining experience collaboration with their good friend at Kupipiks Kupihaus in Kiarong which became beloved for its ‘The Wagyu Experience’.
The success of the three-course ‘The Wagyu Experience’ became a motivation for the couple to embark in their journey to establish Temurun.bn
The husband-wife duo would also invite their friends and family home and cook for them. They all loved their food and suggested that they open their own eatery, which they did in 2020.
“With the spare time we had during the pandemic, we decided to finally give it a go. During that time, a few other factors kind of ‘lined up’ perfectly to give us the right reason to proceed with Temurun.bn. By introducing Temurun.bn, we also provide opportunities for our siblings to join us (since they are unemployed at the time), one of them is a graduate at LCB Culinary College,” said Zul.
The couple started off with serving coffee and then eventually designed a menu of their family favourite recipes that the couple both learned growing up.
These fond memories have led Zul and Aainaa to include their childhood favourites, like the Sarawak Laksa, for example, is Aainaa’s family heirloom that has since been passed down to her.
According to the duo, the family-owned business is popular for their Wagyu Ribeye/Sirloin seared to golden brown perfection and their fan-favourite flavourful signature nasi lemak.
On the sweeter side, their Tort Medovik and Black Forest cake, is also a popular among their growing customers.
The road to becoming a food entrepreneur has not gone without challenges, and the duo learnt the hard way that it would take more than just passion to build a successful business
“We didn’t have a proper business management background. So I think that aspect of the business is the most challenging. Luckily we have a group of friends who are generous in helping us to develop and giving us tips along the way. The learning never stops. From time to time, we will reflect and see where and what we can/need to improve,” Zul explained.
“But mainly it’s our passion of enjoying good food and sharing it with others that keeps us going. Before Temurun.bn, we usually look for excuses to invite family and friends over and cook for them. It’s a way for us to get their opinion on where to improve and build up our own confidence in the food we provide,” he further continued.
Zul and Aainaa are always thinking of what to do next. When asked about the business’s future plans, the founders said they hinted at the possibility of opening a proper restaurant in the future.
“Hopefully insya Allah, we want to be able to open up our own restaurant/cafe and have our siblings whom we have groomed to run and manage the place. A lot of work needs to be done but it’s always good to have a goal so that there is something for us to aim for,” they shared,
This article was first published on 30 April 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 191 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN