Sure you know your nasi goreng from you mie goreng, but have you ever delved deeper into Bali’s unique cuisine? Here are 5 quintessential dishes to try in Bali.
Sure, Bali might only be one of the hundreds of islands that make up Indonesia, but in reality, Bali’s culture, religion, and traditions are unique. And with that, comes a unique culinary approach you’re unlikely to find outside of the island.
Perhaps the reason why Australian tourists aren’t as exposed to Bali’s traditional dishes is that they’re a little harder to come by. This is largely down to the fact that Balinese dishes are complex and can require up to 24 hours to prepare. So if you’re keen to go authentic, do a little research.
No doubt you’ve seen plenty of signs for babi guleng on your scooter rides.
That’s because babi guling, a suckling pig on a spit, is Bali’s most beloved dish.
According to a very specific recipe, the suckling pig is filled with lots of herbs and spice include coriander, chilli, garlic, ginger, shallots, turmeric, lemongrass, black pepper, shrimp paste and lime leaves. All this is served with white boiled rice.
If you’re in Ubud, make a beeline for Ibu Oka Warung, located opposite the former Royal Palace. This Ubud institution draws both locals and foodies from around the world, keen to try babi guling. The restaurant opens at around 10.30am and tables fill up quickly.
Want to know more? TripSavvy has the full scoop.
Since being ‘discovered’ by both Rick Stein and Anthony Bourdain, this local food stall has moved to larger premises with river valley views so as to cater to tourists. It’s famous for one dish: excellent Balinese-style roast babi guling (suckling pig). The set meal comes with pork, rice and soup.
– Lonely Planet
Sate Lilit – skewers of seafood on a stick of lemongrass
Familiar with the tangy peanut flavour of skewers laced in satay sauce? Bali has its own version called sate lilit. To make this popular street food skewer, all meat varieties are used including fish, however, the meat of choice is typically pork. Once again aromatic spices are part of the magic, like chili, turmeric, ginger, candlenut and coriander. To add even more flavour, the skewers themselves are sticks of lemongrass. Barbequed on a grill, sate lilit is served with peanut sauce or chili sauce.
Bali’s most famous dish is arguably bebek tutu – or smoked duck. Once the duck is seasoned with turmeric, ginger, galangal, lumbangana, nuts, coconut oil, onion, garlic and shrimp paste, its wrapped in banana leaves and smoked for around 24 hours. For authentic bebek betutu, look out for Bebek Bengil in Ubud.
This famous place is hugely popular for one reason: its crispy Balinese duck, which is marinated for 36 hours in spices, steamed and then fried. Those who don’t enjoy fried food can enjoy a duck salad, duck spring rolls or duck satay. You’ll eat in a huge open-air dining pavilion.
– Lonely Planet
Laklak is a traditional Balinese cake made from rice flour, coconut flakes, and sugar.Flapjack -like in texture, laklak is round and flat in shape and either white or light green. To make green Laklak cake, Pandan leaves are added to the dough.
Vegan friendly Laklak is usually served with grated coconut sprinkled on the surface of the snack, which is soft which is then doused with syrupy brown sugar sauce. You’ll find laklak just about everywhere in Bali, from traditional warungs to street carts.
Bubur injun is a Balinese sweet dessert made from black glutinous rice porridge with coconut milk and palm sugar or cane sugar. The black rice is boiled until soft, and then sugar and coconut milk is added.
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