Julius was trying his best to convince me and my buddy with a meal at a local McDonald’s store nearby, I told him I wanted to try out legit Balinese food. I won. We all won.
I went to Bali during our Southeast Asian Backpacking Trip armed with the knowledge that the National Food of Indonesia is Mie Goreng, our favorite dish while we were in Kuala Lumpur. Me and my buddy were so excited as we went out on our very first day (night, technically) but sadly, nothing can match what we had in KL. With that, we got the chance to try out some new food discoveries that are worth craving for. Here’s a list on my favorite Balinese dishes.
Me and my buddies were staying at Rama Beach Resort & Villas in Kuta and decided to check out the beach scene at Kuta Beach. We easily grabbed a cab and immediately scanned the restaurants around but found nothing that could satisfy our cravings for local Balinese food. We went inside the fab gateway going to the beach and spotted some makeshift bars near the shore. A quick look and we realized that those umbrellas that swarmed the shore only serve beers and cocktails.
We walked some more and saw some locals feasting on a warung (eatery) near the gateway, we immediately joined the flock. We were told that they only serve Nasi Campur in which they happily showed us. We paid 10,000 Rupiah (US$ 0.75) each for this surprise dish at the beach.
We then settled on some lounge chairs under a shade and enjoyed the beach scene while waiting for our food to arrive.
Nasi Campur (mixed rice) is quite popular in Indonesia. This dish is mainly served with a cupful of steamed rice with an assortment of dishes in small portions on top of it (meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and other stuff). There are quite a number of variations depending where it originates on the archipelago. One of the famous is Nasi Campur Bali or simply, Nasi Bali.
|Nasi Campur Bali|
After finishing our food (with thoughts of having another round) we grabbed some Bintang Beers 25,000 Rupiah (US$ 1.87 | small) and basked in that late afternoon sun at the Kuta Beach. Life is good, really good.
This local dish was one of the must-try Balinese dishes according Julius, the best researcher in the world; well, no, just in our group. Haha . We had two different experiences with regard to this famous Balinese fare; one from a warung and one from a famous restaurant.
Babi Guling or suckling pig is reminiscent of the Philippines’ lechon so we were thrilled to know that Bali has its own version. The preparation for this dish is quite tedious. The whole pig is stuffed with a spicy mixture of herbs and spices (turmeric, garlic, black pepper, lemongrass and other stuff) that saturates each and every part of the swine before it goes to the roasting pit.
Nasi Babi Guling
After our quick dip at Nusa Dua Beach, we went to the parking area where our private van from Bali Golden Tour was waiting for us. We saw a warung opposite the parking lot and after a quick scan of the menu list, we decided to get some Mie Goreng for 20,000 Rupiah (US$ 1.50). But when my buddy saw this nicely wrapped food on the tray, we instantly asked the hawker of this particular dish. Apparently it was Nasi Babi Guling (Roasted pig with rice) that was wrapped for single serving which retails at 25,000 Rupiah (US$ 1.87) each.
|Not-so-happy Mie Goreng|
We immediately grabbed some of those wrapped delights. It was as if we were opening our Christmas gifts when we got our own share of this happy food. The aroma was telling us that the dish was really spicy. I tasted a spoonful of steamed rice, crunchy skin and tasty meat and boy, it was awesome. The explosion of flavors was so great that we were all going crazy on that very first bite. My buddies grabbed some more packs and finished it in no time; they seemed to really love it.
Babi Guling Spesial
We heard that the best suckling pigs were at the charming area of Ubud in Central Bali. It was lunch time and we went into one of the most famed restaurants in town, the Ibu Oka Restaurant. The place was packed with hungry diners that were all craving for babi guling. We grabbed a vacant table and ordered their Babi Guling Spesial for 55,000 Rupiah (US$ 4.12) each.
|Ibu Oka Restaurant|
Ayam Goreng and Ayam Satay
Ayam Goreng is basically your good old fried chicken, Ayam Satay, on the other hand, is grilled chicken smothered with some distinct peanut sauce (which I super love). When we were in Bali, we had some few stints with Ayam Goreng, but my favorite was from a warung in Kintamani while we’re doing our tours around Bali.
We had to stop somewhere for a decent lunch. The restaurants near the area of Kintamani are quite costly because of it being a prime spot (Mount Batur viewpoint). We then saw this unassuming warung somewhere and decided to try it out.
|The best Ayam Satay ever!|
Nasi Goreng is a famous Malay-Indonesian dish which literally means fried rice. I love fried rice; anything that departs from the standard steamed rice is cool for me. Dubbed as the National dish of Indonesia, we got to try out some good Nasi Gorengs around Bali. But one particular restaurant in Ubud stood out from the rest.
Borneo 8 is a chain of eateries around Bali that serves traditional Balinese dishes; luckily, we got to try out some of their dishes on their Ubud branch.
|Nasi Goreng Spesial - yummy!|
Mie Ayam Bakso
We were in the middle of our Bali temple tours when we got hungry. With no particular food cravings, we stopped by on a warung somewhere that serves noddle soup (the thought of having a bowl of hot soup that scorching afternoon was kinda weird but we were too hungry to check out some other places).
|Rock that soup|
Bintang Beer is the world-renowned beer of Indonesia. Literally means star beer, the beer is styled as an American Pale Lager that has malt and hop flavors. The taste is just simple and you’ll get buzzed up after finishing three or four bottles (or depending on your alcohol tolerance). The 4.7 % alcohol content is the standard. I heard that you could not get higher than that on local beers. I did try arak (20 % to 50% alcohol content) from my diving stint in Candidasa and loved the pristine taste of the local wine.
Late nights or even afternoon chill times were usually spent on guzzling some Bintang Beers. Depending on where you get it (standard store price ranges from 25,000 Rupiah | US$ 1.87 to 30,000 Rupiah | US$ 2.25), you’ll get the same beer flavor that everyone seems to love. We also scored some shirts with its the trademark printed on it –very Bali, I know.
|When in Bali...|
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