Like most South East Asian countries, Indonesia is proud of its vibrant street-food culture. Growing out of necessity, road side stalls offers busy Indonesians on the go everything from a quick snack to a satisfying meal cheaply and conveniently. Across Indonesia’s many islands and provinces you can expect to find roadside vendors, known locally as warungs, all over the place dishing out sumptuous traditional fare. The warungs of Indonesia’s island province of Bali have always been popular not only among the locals but also, increasingly, for tourists.
Bali’s warungs have received a boost in recent years by being featured in globetrotting celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s highly popular travel show No Reservations. Famous for eschewing fussy, pretentious hotel meals for simple and honest local fare, Mr. Bourdain has enthusiastically given his mark of approval to the venerable Balinese warung. One such example is Naughty Nuri’s located near Ubud in central Bali. Not your typical Warung, Naughty Nuri is famous for its traditional Balinese barbecue dishes as well as tourist friendly martinis and sashimi specials.
Most warungs specialise in only one type of dish, and they do it very well. Another warung made popular by Bourdain, Ibu Oka, is the perfect example of this. Ibu Oka is known far and wide for their mouth watering tender roast pork stuffed with a secret blend of Balinese spices and spit-roasted over an open fire while basted with coconut milk. Nestled near the beach in a picturesque fishing village on Bali’s east coast, Meta Sari is a tiny warung renowned for a delicious spicy-sweet minced fish satay known locally as sate lilit ikan. Like the food, the settings of warungs are simple and unpretentious – if anything the rickety tables and thatched roofs are an essential component of an authentic Balinese street food experience.
Visitors to Indonesia’s island paradise of Bali are depriving themselves of a treat if they never make an attempt to eat at an authentic warung. Where else can you have a great meal in an unforgettable setting for just a few Dollars?