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What to Eat in Bali

Most people plan their first trip to Bali for the sun and beaches but they should definitely go back for the amazing food. Known for its surf worthy beaches, spiritual retreats and endless outdoor activities, Bali is also a foodie heaven if you know where to look.

1. Suckling Pig (Babi Guling)

Probably Bali’s most iconic dish, babi guling (also known as suckling pig) is one nose-to-tail delicacy that you have to try. It’s one of the Island’s most famous local dish, where pork is rubbed with turmeric, stuffed with a spice paste and then roasted on a spit over coconut husks or wood until super tender.

It’s usually served with rice, pork sausage, stewed vegetables, huge cuts of spice-rubbed, spit-roasted meat and the crispiest, crunchiest and most scrumptiously flavoured skin – all of which has been cooked to tender-perfection from hours upon hours of slow-roasting.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Babi Guling Bu Dayu - Jl. Raya Kuta No.116, Kuta 19.00 – 02.00

b) Babi Guling Pak Malen - Jl. Sunset Road No.554, Seminyak, Kuta 08.30 – 19.00

c) Babi Guling Selingling Cepaka - Jl. Desa Cepaka No.33, Cepaka 16.00 – 23.00

d) Babi Guling Ibu Oka – Jl. Suweta Gianyar, Ubud 11.00 – 18.00 / Jl. Raya Mas, Ubud

11.00 – 18.00 / Jl. Tegal Sari No.2, Ubud 11.00 – 18.00

2. Nasi Campur

A local favourite, Nasi Campur means “mixed rice” is a dish you will find on most menus in Bali which consists bit-of-everything. It features a scoop of white rice accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, including meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs, tofu, and fried shrimp. As there is no rule to how you make this dish, it will never taste the same twice. That is what makes it so fun – you never know exactly what you’re going to get.

You can find nasi campur in other parts of Indonesia as well but what makes nasi campur in Bali distinctive is the typical spices that are used in many Balinese dishes. For the best nasi campur experience, look for the buffet-style warungs that let you point to what you want to try from the glass cabinets.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Nasi Campur Ayam Bali Sukreni - Jl. Kediri, Kuta 07.30 – 23.00

b) Warung makan Bu Kadek Wati - Jl. Gatot Subroto Barat, Kota Denpasar 07.30 – 14.30 (Mon – Sat)

c) Warung Wardani - Jl. Yudistira No.2, Kota Denpasar 08.00 – 16.00

d) Warung Nasi Campur Bu Made - Jl. Setia Budi No.20, Kota Denpasar 07.00 – 23.00

3. Sate Lilit Ikan

We’ve all tried satay before – you can find them almost everywhere in Southeast Asia. But not everyone has had the pleasure of tasting traditional Balinese sate lilit ikan (fish satay). Skewered and spiced, minced fish is grilled over charcoal or an open fire and the result is a slightly sweet, slightly spicy and totally delicious morsel moulded around a lemongrass stalk or wooden stick. It’s best enjoyed with a healthy dose of sambal – naturally.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Warung Wardani - Jl. Yudistira No.2, Kota Denpasar 08.00 – 16.00

b) Laka Leke Hideaway Restaurant - Jl. Nyuh Bojog No. 32 Ubud 09.00 – 23.00

c) Sate Lilit Be Paseh – Jl. Pemuda III No.24, Denpasar Selatan 09.00 – 22.00

d) Warung Nasi Ayam Ibu Oki - Jl. Siligita No.27, Nusa Dua 08.00 – 21.00

4. Bebek Betutu

Unlike some of the other dishes on this list, Betutu is 100% Balinese and is probably one of the more unique dishes in Bali’s must-eat dish. Its steamed or roasted duck (bebek) in a rich bumbu betutu spice blend. Betutu is a specific spice mix of shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, wild ginger, galangal, candle nuts, chili peppers, shrimp paste, and peanuts all finely ground using a mortar and pestle.

Local ducks are rubbed and stuffed with betutu, wrapped in banana leaves and coconut husks, then traditionally cooked in a pit of embers underground for up to 24 hours. Most restaurants require one day’s notice since cooking takes so long. But the wait will surely be worth it! Expect the meat to be lean, flaking off the bone and incredibly tasty. All usually served with rice, sambals and local vegetable sides.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Chandi - Jl. Kayu Aya No.72, Seminyak 12.00 – 00.00

b) Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Dinner - Padang Tegal, Jl. Hanoman, Ubud 10.00 – 22.00 / ITDC Complex, Nusa Dua Beach, Benoa 10.00 – 23.00

5. Nasi / Mie Goreng

Practically the national dish of Indonesia, nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) are staples in the local diet. Mie goreng is often served with vegetables and a choice of chicken, shrimp or pork. Sometimes it served with a fried egg on top, chicken sate sticks, prawn crackers and peanut sauce. Oh, and don’t forget the pickled vegetables.

Similar to Mie Goreng, but fried rice instead of noodles. This is the most popular staple of the Balinese. They literally eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s essentially a leftovers dish of wok fried rice with whatever leftover veg and meat is available, mixed with garlic, ginger, kecap manis and some other spices. So simple yet so delicious.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Nasi Goreng 1001 Malam - Jl. Raya Sesetan No.341, Kota Denpasar 06.00 – 12.00

b) Warung Padmasari - Jl. Padma No.14, Legian, Kuta 09.30 – 11.00

c) Poppies – Jl. Poppies I No.19, Kuta 08.00 – 11.00

6. BBQ Pork Ribs

In case you haven’t realized already, Balinese love their pork. Who could say no to ribs? Especially when its juicy, marinated, cooked over charcoal and served hot from the BBQ pit. Maybe it’s because you’re on holiday or maybe it’s the fact that charcoal grilled meat is the best. Bali has a few well-known places notorious for serving up some of the best ribs, steaks and grilled items.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Naughty Nuri’s - Jl. Mertanadi No.62, Seminyak 12.00 – 21.00 / Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud 10.00 – 21.30

b) Hog Wild with Chef Bruno - Jl. Batu Belig No.41, Kuta Utara 11.00 – 22.00

7. Pisang Goreng

Goreng means fried in Indonesian. Pisang goreng is a deep fried banana that is covered in batter. It is a very popular snack that can be found throughout Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Many street vendors sell this on its own but you can also find it at restaurants or cafes.

Bali has such a variety of bananas from the small, sweet varieties to the large ones that look like a weapon. The different types make fried bananas a treat each time. Served with honey or palm sugar syrup, a little bit of flaked coconut or vanilla ice cream or just plain from the roadside stalls, nothing is better than Pisang Goreng.

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Dewi Sri Food Center - Jl. Raya Kuta No.59, Kuta 08.00 – 00.00

8. Balinese Coffee

Coffee or Kopi in Bali unlike other parts of Indonesia has traders from Lombok to thank, as they brought the first coffee plants to the island. The majority of coffee grows in the north eastern region of the island due to the fertile volcanic soil and ideal climate. An array of cafes and specialty coffee joints in Bali serve up top notch joe in all forms that will only set you back around $2 – $5 SGD.

If you find yourself walking around after dinner in central Ubud, do head over to Anomali Coffee as they are one of the coffee joints in the area to close later. Their ice blended coffees are seriously deadly delicious on humid hot nights!

Recommended place in Bali:

a) Revolver Espresso - Jl. Kayu Ana No.Gang 51, Seminyak 08.00 – 23.00

b) Seniman Coffee Studio - Jl. Sri Wedari No.5, Ubud 07.30 – 22.00

c) Anomali Voffee - Jl. Raya Ubud No.88, Ubud 07.00 22.00 / Jl. Dewi Sri No.23, Kuta 07.00 – 10.00

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