Bali Food is not just suckling pig and rice alone…
When you are going on a holiday in Bali you don’t have to worry about eating rice three times a day like the Balinese local people do. With the influence of expatriates in Bali you can buy about anything now, even typical products from your own country.
Restaurants, owned by foreigners, offer a large selection of top cuisine that will have you mouth water by the time you finish checking out the menu. Dishes from every corner of the world are presented, some mixed with an Indonesian or Balinese touch in order to create a sensational new twist.
Fortunately the authentic traditional Balinese and Indonesian food is still very much present on the menu in every restaurant, whether it’s owned by foreigners or by the Balinese themselves. But I must admit; the best places for Bali food are the places where you’ll find the Balinese crowd eating as well.
So in this case: do as the locals do.
For the real die hard cultural experience you can stroll over to any corner of the street where you will find someone selling all kinds of dishes on the spot. In the wooden crate tied on to the back of his bike, or in the little restaurant on wheels the seller manages to create a real feast with various types of dishes and rice.
You can either eat it on the spot or have it wrapped up in banana leave for you to take home.
You will mostly find these food sellers early in the morning, when the Balinese grab a bite just before work starts or around lunch time along any main road and even on Kuta and Legian beach.
But if this is somewhat too much for you (which I totally understand…you don’t want to get the famous “Bali Belly” on your holiday) there are other options as well. There are food Warungs (little Indonesian shops) that sell local delights at a local price.
And to stay on the safe side, there are even Warungs where the menu is in English, so these are the places where it can get really crowded with tourists.
In these types of restaurants you can either choose from the menu or walk over to the counter where dozens of dishes are displayed ranging from fish, chicken, and pork dishes, tofu and tempe prepared in all kinds of styles and vegetables that are often cooked in a creamy coconut sauce that is just great with white rice or nasi goreng (fried rice).
You can try everything you want because at the end you will pay for each dish separately. So you can decide yourself how much you want…or can resist. Great places to try this “warung-way” of eating are in Warung Makan in Poppies II Kuta and in Warung Ocha at Jalan Raya Seminyak.
These local Bali restaurants are influenced by the other Indonesian islands as well. So besides Bali food you can also discover dishes from the other islands as well.
A real Balinese dish is the Satay Lilit, which is mainly made out of snapper filet, prawns, coconut and various kinds of herbs. Many restaurants offer this dish so when you see it on the menu it is definitely worth the try.
Another typical Balinese dish you’ll often find on the menu is Bebek Betutu which is roasted duck in banana leaves. Many restaurants offer this on their menu however it takes a couple of hours to prepare so it is better to order it a day in advance.
But if you happen to be in Ubud head over to ‘Dirty Duck’ which serves this dish every day as it is their specialty.
But what I think is the most famous Balinese dish is Babi Guling, which is roasted suckling pig prepared together with a long list of spices. If you talk with any Balinese about food they are likely to ask if you have tasted Babi Guling already.
If this is not the case yet they will immediately recommend you to go to Ibu Oka in Ubud. She is definitely the most famous person who makes this dish. So go for it…
I could just go on and on about the Indonesian and Balinese food. Just as its culture their cuisine is just as rich. So while spending time in Bali you should definitely grab the opportunity to try their delicious food. “Selamat Makan.”