Bali is a foodie haven if you know where to look. The best restaurants in Bali range from a plethora of world-class dining venues and plenty of other dining options, from casual café brunches, great tex-mex, patisseries, local coffee and fresh seafood to authentic and cheap local fare. Bali also offers a wide variety of cuisines by region and level of sophistication, and they are often featured in unique locations with awe-inspiring views and artistic interiors.
Here, we have listed the best Balinese dishes you must try when you are in Bali.
1. Babi Guling
One of Bali’s most famed dishes, Babi Guling is a ceremonial dish of roasted suckling pig that is made for special occasions and needs to be ordered days in advance. The pig is stuffed with a spicy mixture of Balinese herbs like coriander seeds, lemongrass, pepper, garlic and turmeric, and is then spit roasted on traditional grill. The slow roasting process gives it the crispy skin and the tender smoky flavor of the herbs is infused into the meat. Usually served with rice and pan fried vegetables, Babi Guling is an experience every meat eater should have at least once. The most famous Babi Guling restaurant is Ibu Oka’s in Ubud, but places like Babi Guling Pak Malen in Seminyak and Warung Babi Guling in Sanur are a must try too.
2. Bebek Betutu
Bebek Betutu or Balinese dark duck is another speciality that demands a sit down meal. The duck is marinated with a paste of garlic and other spices, wrapped in coconut bark or banana leaves and slowly steamed over charcoal. The resulting baked meat infused with spices is a treat to the senses. Some of the best places to have bebek betutu in Bali are the Warung D’Sawah in Seminyak and Cafe Wayan in Ubud.
Lawar is a dish made up of vegetables like green beans, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and freshly grated coconut with local spices and herbs stir fried in coconut oil. The kicker though is fresh pig’s blood, which makes it lawar merah, or red lawar, although you also get slightly less exciting lawar putih or white lawar, sans the blood. It is commonly found in most warungs in Bali, and is a must try.
4. Tahu and Tempe
A vegetarian dish made with tofu and fermented soy cake, tahu and tempe is more of a midday snack that sometimes serves as an accompaniment for the main course.
5. Sambal Udang
Sometimes called the crown jewel of Balinese seafood, sambal udang is prawns cooked in spicy sambal sauce. Sambal is a ubiquitous local sauce made up of sauteed onions, green peppers and red chilli peppers. Large prawns are shallow fried in sambal sauce and tangy tamarind paste. Try this dish at its best in Bale Udang Mang Engking in Ubud.
6. Nasi Goreng and Nasi Campor
Fried rice and steamed rice respectively, nasi goreng and nasi campor are not strictly Balinese, but rather pan-Indonesian dishes that are found in almost all roadside eateries in Bali. The rice is mixed with various minced vegetables and meats to make a spicy concoction. Both make up for a cheap and succulent meal that can be had on the go.
Another Balinese roadside staple, Bakso is essentially noodle soup with meatballs that is daily fare for most working class Balinese. Try it at one of the moving vendor carts called kaki lima or five legs – three legs of the food cart and two of the vendor, for a cheap and filling meal.
Kopi Luwak is the Balinese coffee that you are bound to get addicted to. The rich volcanic soil of Bali is perfect for growing coffee beans, which were brought here from Lombok by traders. The speciality of Kopi Luwak is that it is coffee that is brewed from the beans collected from the feces of the wild civets. Also known as the most expensive coffee in the world, this mind boggling concoction is renowned for its taste and flavour. This is because the civet is supposed to choose the best coffee berries in the wild, and the undigested beans therefore become prized raw material to brew the perfect cup.
9. Bubur Sumsum
Bali has a lot to offer when it comes to people with a sweet tooth. Bubur sumsum is black rice pudding, involving slow cooked black glutinous rice with coconut milk, cream and palm sugar. Its a perfect end for a long and enchanting meal.
An innovative, sweet Balinese drink, Daluman tastes as intriguing as it looks. Made out of a mysterious leaf that is kept in water to make a jelly like substance, coconut milk and palm sugar, Daluman is a perfect way to beat the heat in Bali.
If you are a food connoisseur, Bali will give you an experience that you will never forget. Be sure to get in touch with TripFactory to plan your own trip to Bali @INR 39,999!