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The Foods of Bali


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I am a new member, but quickly reading thru some of the forum, i was surprised not to find a topic on bali.

I am also a new visitor to Bali. But i was so blown away by my food experiences on this enchanted island, it made my trip even more enjoyable. I just was not expecting it.

Some of my highlights:

a beautiful evening of dining at 'Ku De Ta'. Beautiful setting on the ocean, superb service and the food i had was also above the mark. BBQ seafood was extravagant for 1 diner and the rice noodle salad was perfect for the tropical climate. i also remember the music wafting out of the speaker thru the warm night air.

another beautiful evening of dining at 'The Dining Room'. while the food was not that memorable, the garden setting in the open air paviliion with hundreds of candles burning around you was unforgettable.

a potato salad with feta cheese at Tekor on the beach.

i also seem to have prawn cocktails with chili/tomatoe sauce every second night. at approx $2/3 a go, it was fun to compare the different restaurants efforts at this retro classic.

going on a market tour and seeing the fresh pork still warm from slaughter. no white farmed meat here... red coloured organic flesh with at least an inch of fat on it. after seeing it and cooking it at the cooking class following, i end up eating pork for the rest of the week. good ol fashion pork taste i can remember from the farm. still living on tha memory 6 months later.

and of course the ice cold bintangs....

anybody else have some great food memories from bali?

cheers

ozmouse

melbourne

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OK, I'm a bit of a pleb, but at least 6 years has lapsed since I was last in Bali, and I still think of the Nasi Goreng (fried rice) at Made's Warung in Kuta.

I can't quite figure out what the x factor actually is, but I think they add some kicap manis (sweet soy sauce) to the fried rice and that makes it really delicious!

Maukitten

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I haven't been to Bali since 1976 and still remember the amazing babi guling my folks and I had in a hole-in-the-wall eatery in Denpasar. So spicy, so flavorful. I also remember Bali as the first place that I had fresh waterchestnuts that reminded me of crisp apples, in an otherwise not terribly noteworthy Chinese restaurant, also in Denpasar. The waterchestnuts, if I remember correctly, were served for dessert! And I believe they said they were grown locally.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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mau and pan you have reminded me of 2 more....

yes the fried rice from legian snacks opposite the logi grocery store in legian. we would leave the pool deck of the Padma walk all thru the property and order nasi goreng and bring it back for afternoon snacks, instead of pool service. our poolside neighbours were so envious!

i also think that mystery ingredient is what they call the 'breath of the wok' (or is is whisper!?). they can get their commerical cookers much hotter than our domestic gas stoves. that and the carmalization of that sweet soya as you say. that it the secret to the perfect fried rice i think, because i cant do it at home.

and mangosteens! i had never had them before. and since the local varieties here in oz are obvviously picked to early, because they do not have the lushiness of the ones i tasted in bali.

i missed out on the suckling pig pan. it was on my list, but just never got to try it. next time!!

also the bananas were great!!!

yummmm

Edited by ozmouse (log)

cheers

ozmouse

melbourne

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  • 2 months later...

Some food pics from a recent trip to Bali

Ayam Bumbu Bali (chicken cooked with spices served with jackfruit and rice) at Cafe Lotus in Ubud

gallery_3270_981_26412.jpg

Babi Guling (spit roasted pig) meal at Babi Guling Rebo on Raya Sesetan in Denpasar - a mixed plate of crackling, roast pork topped with a super spicy sambal, pork sate (it tasted more like char siu than the satay I know :raz:), deep-fried pig intestines and liver, veggies (long bean leaves, finely chopped long beans, jackfruit, chopped chillies, shredded coconut and chopped boiled pork skin) served with a spicy sour soup of pork ribs and banana stem and of course rice (more fried chillies and shallots on the side if you want it spicier).

gallery_3270_981_27122.jpg

Close-up of the mixed-plate

gallery_3270_981_13930.jpg

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ozmouse, I was completely charmed by your post. I have a trip to Bali coming up soon, I hope to be as enchanted as you were.

Shiewie - recent trip to Bali & you didn't get in touch with me? Ooohh, I feel neglected :sad:

Your photos are amazing, that yin yang rice looks quite festive, I might try something like that soon.

Oh yeah, when were you here?

Edited by spaghetttti (log)

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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Some food pics from a recent trip to Bali

Ayam Bumbu Bali (chicken cooked with spices served with jackfruit and rice) at Cafe Lotus in Ubud

gallery_3270_981_26412.jpg

That looks beautiful! Do you know how they get the red and yellow? From commercial food coloring, or do you suppose they use ingredients like turmeric (a little darker yellow, though, I think) and tomato juice or something?

And was the food tasty?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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ozmouse, I was completely charmed by your post.  I have a trip to Bali  coming up soon, I hope to be as enchanted as you were. 

Shiewie - recent trip to Bali & you didn't get in touch with me?  Ooohh, I feel neglected :sad:

Your photos are amazing, that yin yang rice looks quite festive, I might try something like that soon.

Oh yeah, when were you here?

Ooops sorry Yetty - I swear I did think of you when we flew past Java :biggrin: - hey Java and Bali are different islands and they're big ones too - it would've been difficult to hop, skip and jump across to visit ya :raz:. Bandung will have to be a separate visit - next time.

Thank you for the photo compliments :cool:. Didn't manage to get many pics of the other meals there as my hands are too wobbly to take close-up photos without the flash on in the evenings.

Anyway, these were the only 2 meals that we ate out while in Bali - we were on a family trip that one of my cousins had organized, a group of 15 with 6 kids under the age of eleven in tow, so you can imagine what an expedition it was to get everyone out of the house each time :wacko:.

We were there a couple of weekends ago - a 4 day visit but only 2 full days there as it was difficult to get the better-timed flights. But I managed to get some very nice emping buah belinjao (a bitterish cracker but somehow the bitterness goes quite well with the salt sprinkled on it) and vanilla beans (it's really difficult to get vanilla beans in Malaysia) from the big market in Denpasar.

Michael - you may remember emping buah belinjao as keropok buah sakok in Terengganu speak.

Yetty - when are you off to Bali?

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Some food pics from a recent trip to Bali

Ayam Bumbu Bali (chicken cooked with spices served with jackfruit and rice) at Cafe Lotus in Ubud

gallery_3270_981_26412.jpg

That looks beautiful! Do you know how they get the red and yellow? From commercial food coloring, or do you suppose they use ingredients like turmeric (a little darker yellow, though, I think) and tomato juice or something?

And was the food tasty?

Thanks Michael :smile:. The red rice is naturally so I think - my mum had a seafood fried rice with Balinese red rice at the same restaurant. The yellow is likely to be from turmeric - how yellow it gets depends on how long the raw rice is soaked with turmeric before it is cooked.

I have to confess that I edited the photo somewhat :raz: - turned up the yellow tones as the dish was plated on a reddish coconut wood plate on top of a banana leaf so the original picture had a purplish hue to it.

The food at Cafe Lotus was tasty but not particularly spicy - also tasted some chicken curry and fish curry - different from what we get in Malaysia - slightly different spice mixture and lighter (less santan). I think the heat of the dishes at Cafe Lotus there may have been toned down somewhat as the patrons were all tourists. This was definitely not the case at the Babi Guling place in Denpasar - it was all locals there and that sambal was searingly hot - couldn't finish the sambal and I didn't even touch the fried chillies served with the rice at all.

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I was shamefully unaware that Bali has its own distinctive cuisine (and on Bali itself, there are regional dishes) until a visit to the north last year. I think everyone knows urap, but some other outstanding Balinese dishes are lawar (with fresh blood if you can find that version) and various soups eg. with banana stem or star fruit leaves. And what about dadar (I dream of it)? For anyone willing to make the trip north beyond Ubud, consider a stop for a cooking class, or just a feast, at Bali Panorama in the hills above Sererit. Karsini runs the place with her husband Made, and if you phone ahead and make arrangements she'll do an all-Balinese menu in her (very very basic, but functional) kitchen at the cafe. Tel 081-756-3007 Otherwise the menu offers primarily the usual travellers' fare. After much fattening research I can testify that Karsini makes what may be the best dadar on Bali.

Closer to Denpasar, Tugu Bali Hotel (Cangu) offers the most amazing all-Balinese breakfast. Seems expensive at $15 or so, and I didn't expect much since food at really expensive hotels is often dumbed down --- but the breakfast consists of course after course of delicious, distinctive savory and sweet foods you might never have had before, perfectly prepared (it's not a buffet, it's prepared to order). I was so stuffed after that meal I could hardly move .... the hotel's food lunch/dinner offerings seemed much less inspired, by contrast.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Yamaguchis are going to Bali!!! :biggrin:

The airline tickets have been purchased and now I am trying to figure out the best place to stay. We will be there for 10 nights from December 27 to January 5. I have spent hours scouring the internet looking for hotels but there seem to be a couple different popular areas. I want a place with good food, preferably local foods. Nothing fancy as we are travelling with 3 children.

Is there an area that is better than all the others, with good places in walking distance?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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There is no better food than at the Inn at the Damai!!!!!!!! It is in the north end of the island. www.damai.com I can not say enough about the place. Just a few bungalows with a guide and driver for every day. One day I wanted the best roasted pig--he drove us to Ubed. One day the best satay(you definitly want a local for all street food to avoid eating a pet) he took us there. Every day I had a request and I was never disappointed. It is so peacefull I could live there forever.

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Hi Kris

I went to Bali recently (and forgot to hop across to Bandung to visit Yetty :raz:) - a short trip (but can't complain as one my cousins paid for the trip :biggrin: apart from our plane tickets). 10 days in Bali sounds excellent - lots of time to explore the island.

A very comprehensive dining guide to Bali is BaliEats.

I didn't get to use the guide though - we were there only for 4 days and ate out twice (Yetty has kindly posted a link to that thread) as most of our meals were at the villa where we stayed. But then again, there were no eating places within walking distance as we stayed in Canggu (between the Legian-Seminyak area and Tanah Lot) on the south-western part of the island, in a fairly rural area. It was also quite an expedition to get everyone out out of the house as we were a group of 15 including 6 kids between the ages of 2 and 11.

A great market to go to for food sights and smells is the pasar besar (big market) in Denpasar - I have some pics if you'd like a look.

You may want to hire a car and driver for some days as it's a lot easier to visit the further-out places that way than to haggle for a taxi to and from each destination - a car (generally a Kijang, which is like the Toyota Unser) and driver costs about USD35 a day. Distances between places in the southern part of the island is not that far but travelling takes quitea bit of time as a lot of the roads are narrow (but picturesque :biggrin:) meandering through villages and paddy fields.

If you're looking for kid-friendly activities while you're there, a couple of suggestions is a visit to the monkey forest (there are 2, the more wll-known one in Ubud where it seems the monkeys are more agressive and another near Tanah Lot) and a white-water rafting trip on the Ayung river (gentle enough for kids - the 11 y.o., 9 y.o., 8 y.o. and 6 y.o. went on it ... the two who were below 3 didn't get to go though).

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Thank you for the replies so far!

This is actually our first trip as a family and I am really unsure how to go about anything.

Since we are going to be there so long I was thinking about getting a place with a kitchen, but many hotels seem to offer free breakfasts. How are the food prices? better outside of the hotels I am assuming. Feeding 5 people for 10 days can add up and i reallt want to do as much as we can. Are there grocery stores near the hotel areas that I could even buy food?

The two places I am considering currently are

Bali Dynasty in Kuta and

Novotel Coralia Benoa Bali near the beach of Tanjung Benoa

I was thinking of doing 5 days each...

neither of these places ahs a kitchen though...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Since we are going to be there so long I was thinking about getting a place with a kitchen, but many hotels seem to offer free breakfasts. How are the food prices? better outside of the hotels I am assuming. Feeding 5 people for 10 days can add up and i reallt want to do as much as we can. Are there grocery stores near the hotel areas that I could even buy food?

Food prices in Bali, like most of South East Asia, are very reasonable if you don't go to the expensive places.

For example, the ayam bumbu bali dish that I had in Cafe Lotus in Ubud (which is listed as moderate pricing under the Bali Eats website) posted in the The Food of Bali thread costs between 35,000 - 39,000 rupiah (can't remember fo sure) which is around US$4... and this is a touristy place.

The babi guling meal (with bottled water) at Babi Guling Rebo, a local eatery in Denpasar cost only 12,000 rupiah per person which is around US$1.

There are lots of places with prices like Cafe Lotus all over Kuta. One that I can remember from a previous trip is Made's Warung - excellent thick gluggy mango juice (hopefully they're in season in Dec - Jan, they weren't in March :sad:).

There is a fairly big Bintang supermarket at Kuta Square where you can get groceries... hmmm you could also stock up on your rice supplies here as rice in SEA is much cheaper than Japan :biggrin:.

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Wow. Thanks for this thread and links. We’re headed to Lombok and Bali in August with two kids, 9 and 12. The circuit: Lombok, Candi Dasa, Ubud, Singapore, then home to California, where school starts 8am the next morning. Any tips would be appreciated.

Food sounds great. (Where’d you find that roast pig?) Since we’re Asian-mixed we’ll be in heaven. But, what about costs? In this thread and other sites, people say, “Cheap.” What does that mean in USD? Of course, our last family trip was in London last year, so anything is cheap after that!

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Kristin, I am one of the pickiest person in town but the Chef Toby at the Amankila can give any of these guys in New york a run for their money. Also, check out the Lotus Cafe in Ubud.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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gorgeous!

I wonder how much of that I can smuggle back to Japan.... :biggrin:

Now I am thinking I want to spend half my time at least in a place with a kitchen so I can get to try some of the fresh produce.

Really embarrassing question here:

How far will English get me outside of the hotel areas? :huh:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Now I am thinking I want to spend half my time at least in a place with a kitchen so I can get to try some of the fresh produce.

Ask what kitchen facilities there are if you're checking out holiday apartments as they may consist of only a fridge and microwave.

Really embarrassing question here:

How far will English get me outside of the hotel areas? :huh:

English is widely spoken at the shops and restaurants in the touristy areas of Bali.

Not all the stallholders at the big market in Denspasar speak English, however they all have agents who speak English - ladies who wait outside the market for tourists to assist (or rather steer :biggrin:) them to their stalls. That said, we're lucky that Indonesian is very similar to Malaysian (except for some words) and the Balinese all speak Indonesian in addition to Balinese.

Kris - remember to bargain when you're buying anything in the markets or shops (unless it's a shop that clearly states that prices are fixed or places like restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, upmarket boutiques). You are expected to bargain ... it's part of the buying experience as even locals need to bargain.

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Kris,

Congrats on the upcoming trip to Bali. I'm sure your family and you will have a blast. I did when I was there last November.

Two areas to stay IMO are Legian/Kuta and Ubud. Legian/Kuta is closer to the main town centre and many places for shopping and eating are within walking distance. Ubud is a small town unto itself and is a cultural centre (many resorts and hotels there too.

I agree that getting a place with a kitchen would be good but most hotels don't have that facility. I stayed at Club Bali Jayakarta (http://www.clubbali.com/) where our unit did have a small kitchenette. They have 2 bedroom units that'll fit your family. It's also near the beach.

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Food sounds great. (Where’d you find that roast pig?) Since we’re Asian-mixed we’ll be in heaven. But, what about costs? In this thread and other sites, people say, “Cheap.” What does that mean in USD?

Roast pig = babi guling. Best places to eat this are in Ubud.

In terms of prices, in most of the better cafes and restaurants a main dish would cost about US$3-4. At local places, maybe half that.

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Here's a place my wife and I stayed. Can't speak highly enough about it. It's just outside of Ubud.

http://www.alamindahbali.com/

We had our own little house, two floors, stunning views of the monkey forest. The people there we just fabulous.

If the Damai is Danish owned, I second the recommendation. We blundered into it and found ourselves in the middle of a photo shoot for a cookbook. A little western maybe-- air conditioners and cable tv etc. And frolicking Danes.

There is a group of resorts in Bali called Aman this or that. Amanwana, Amandari Amankila etc. They cost so much it kind of boggles the mind but the restaurants are not so expensive at all, at least by US standards. We had some incredibly good food at a couple of these joints and then went back to our hotel for $40 bucks a night and, anyway it was a great trip.

Stay out of Kuta if at all possible. Unless you find yourself wanting for pseudo-Niketown and a McDonald's hamburger.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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thank you everyone, this information is really helpful!

I am thinking to split our trip into 3 different areas, I want to stay at least a couple nights in one of the big hotels that has a kids club, so my husband and I can get away by ourselves for a bit. :biggrin:

I also want to stay in a place with a kitchen for a bit, preferably in an area with a good market nearby, so I can get to cook with all of the fresh foods I won't be able to take back with me.

Then finally about 2 nights somewhere quite and away from everything so we can just do nothing....

I haven't decided yet on areas or hotels.

I did find this wonderful cooking class though, it sounds even better than the one I listed above.

cooking class at bumbu bali

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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ozmouse here!

food and bali... to me the 2 go hand in hand. i fell in love with the place and that was before having such great food experiences.

firstly, thanks for mentioning my post. i did not think of it as memorable, but re-reading it did bring back some good memories. what still surprises me, is the breadth of food experiences you can have in bali. great indonesian food. or almost any other nationality as well. that was a bit of a surprise for me.

these are only my opionions, and i have only visited bali once, so take all this with a grain of salt.

my suggestion re accomodation and eating out, is to ensure you are not in one of the resort enclaves such as nusa dua or in an isolated resort. you just cant walk or get to the best restaurants easily. At the same time i would not stay in kuta - not my idea of a holiday

my preferred location would be legian or seminyak. nicer hotels and villas, and more to the point you can walk to whole streets of restaurants from your hotel door. NOTE: seminyak is becoming quite the hotspot for dining out!!

if staying in seminyak must meals imo are at

Ku De Ta restaurant

the dining room (beautiful garden setting with 100's of candles around you)

la lucciola (overlooking the ocean a bali tradition. breakfast is my favourite!)

the Bali Eats website is a great resource for restaurants.

i also hang at The Bali Travel Forum more than i do here. you can get everything you need to know about bali from these kind folks. if you go to Ozmouse Goes to Bali you will get the start of my trip report, with details of many beautiful meals! you will have to do a search for the other days, including one of the highlights of my trip The Bumbi Bali Cooking School

i could go on and on, but this is a food site not a travel site.

so any other further questions please ask!!! happy to give highly opionated comment!

cheers

ozmouse

melbourne

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