Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Greetings from Bali


Recommended Posts

Hello and greetings from Bali,

My husband and I have gone out on the limb of a coconut palm and moved ourselves to Bali in Indonesia. So far, things have been great! We have been keeping track of all our favourite restaurants and eats and I hope (if the wireless network gods bless me) to be able to share our findings with you all really soon.

The figurative honeymoon is over and it is time for me to start cooking again. Eating out, although cheaper than cheap, will quickly put us in the poor house if we are not careful. I have attempted three meals so far. A Japanese chicken curry, a chicken in cream sauce pasta and a Thai green curry (no I didn’t use chicken!! :raz: ) I used prawns.

Our housemate is Muslim so I am trying to cook things that he can eat as well as things that I can do easily and quickly when it is hotter than Hades.

The kitchen I am in currently has no sharp knives, plastic plates and lots of Bintang beer mugs in various sizes. There is a wok and a tiny fry pan but that is about it. I have already purchased one big stock pot (to cook the pasta in) and that in itself was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to buy aluminum and with the exception of the copper bottomed beauty that I spent way to many Rupiah on, there wasn’t much of a selection. My housemate never cooked so the dishes (not the exquisite Bintang collection :huh: ) is leftover from the previous tenants (who left years ago!)

My biggest concern here is that I don’t make everyone sick. How do I go about being hygienic other than the obvious nail brush and bottled water techniques? How do I keep the ants out of the kitchen?

I was deathly ill here six years ago. I spent four or five days on the floor of the bathroom with my head beside the toilet. I know, it isn’t a pretty picture - but I will paint it , to show you how much I don’t want to repeat that experience.

My other problem is that I don’t really like Indonesian food. I have always found it cheaper and easier to eat whatever the locals eat but I will put on 10 kilos fast if my diet is goreng this and goreng that everyday. I like fresh foood and I dont eat meat. I am happy to cook meat for the boys but I find myself surviving on rocket salads and poached eggs with the occasional bowl of muesli.

So kind folks, help a sister out! What should I do to ensure the safety of my diners? How do I choose veg that looks good on the outside and isn’t rotting or full of worms on the inside? Any suggestions for things I can prepare using local ingredients? Any suggestions at all?

I look forward to your responses.

Kira

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to see you back online! I've been wondering how you were doing.

First of all, you don't say where in Bali you are. I would imagine your access to resources would be quite different if you were in Dempasar (or in its environs) vs. some small town up north. If you can, try to hook up with a local who can help you navigate the markets. They're used to the produce and such, so they can help you learn what's good and what just looks good. When torakris and I were in Ubud, we did a cooking class which included a tour of the market (neither of us made it to that part, though). If you were able to do something like that, you could ask very specific questions to the group leader.

About cooking utensils and tools, is there any way you could get someone to ship some of your stuff from Japan to you? Or do you think you might make it back for Oshogatsu? Pack light, then fill your bags with cooking supplies for the return!

I don't think you have to be that much more conscious about food safety there as you did in Japan. Think of the food-safety things you did during hot and humid Osaka summers. I would think that would be a good start.

About ants, in my experience in SEAsia, there is no keeping ants out of your kitchen. But if you really want to try, you can try boric acid mixed with some sugar (concentrates vary, but anywhere from 10-30% boric acid would be good). Don't try this if you have pets or children around, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bless! Thanks so much for the reply.

We are in Kerobokan just outside Seminyak. I guess part of my hygiene issues are due to the fear of "Bali belly" and me being the one to give it to people! :blink:

I will take some cooking courses later this month and do a tour of the fish market in Jimbaran and the vegetable markets as well. Everything is so new and I havent got the language skills yet to make a friend who will show me the ropes. All in good time I guess!

I am going back for OShogatsu and you better believe I am coming back with a suitcase full of pots, utensils and possibly my Le Creuset grill pan (it weighs a lot!). I am paranoid about packing my knives though. I guess if they are in a suitcase full of cooking implements it wont seem odd to customs.

We only have a bike and Mr Eastern isnt up to riding in Denpasar yet. Youve been here so I think you know what I mean! Crazy crazy drivers :wacko:

I have to keep reminding myself to cover everything when doing food prep. I gave Mr Eastern a glass of juice yesterday and watch him drink, then spit it back in the glass - becauase a lizard had time to poo in it between me pouring and him drinking! Oh the glamour of it all :raz:

Tonight I made Chicken Tikka Masala with Gobi (Cauliflower) Fry. I think the boys (husband and Muslim housemate) are going to be sick of chicken pretty soon. Tomorrow I am planning to use tempeh to make greek pitas.....cant have chicken everyday now can they?!

Kira

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm struggling with the same issues as you, although lizards haven't pooed in any of our drinks yet (There's a sentence I never thought I'd type). There is no getting rid of ants, it's true, although they adore limes but eschew garlic and chilis, I find that cleaning up immediately after food prep is the key. I keep a soapy cloth with me and wipe it over everything as I finish. I have a friend who translated a book on ants, and he told me they follow scent trails, but that soap erases scent trails. I also find that talking encouragingly to the geckos every time I see them helps to keep their numbers up and hunting. If they're pooing in your drinks, though.....I also keep all of our food in the fridge. Everything. The bugs get to everything else. I'm getting used to cold muesli.

As for food, I cook almost exclusively vegetarian at home, not because we like it, but because I don't trust the meat that's been on the street for hours in the heat by the time I get to it. I also use a lot of smoked pork tenderloin and bacon, because my local supermarket keeps those refrigerated. You have a Muslim housemate, though, so that's not an option for you. My egg recipes have expanded dramatically, though, because I know they're ok outside for a few hours, and I can buy them fresh every day. Pasta with fresh egg and Parmesan is lovely! I rely quite a bit on the local "foreign food" store, because they sell frozen chicken breasts and the like - which I can't buy on the street - but because we have a motorcycle and can drive all around we have that luxury. If I were you, I'd learn how to drive one as soon as possible. You'll have the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever, and get out of the house...it's been really liberating for us! Just get a helmet (and wear it - no matter how much they laugh) and accept that you will get hit and fall off at some point. The driving here is similar to Bali!

I'm just beginning to fully experience living in Vietnam, and learning to ride a motorcycle has opened so many doors for me. What I've come to realize, too, it's that I won't be able to fully access the culture, and take advantage of all the great things that Vietnam has to offer until I can speak the language; I can't learn how to cook the local food properly, or shop properly...so that's the next step. Until that, I guess I just have to be patient. I order in a lot, but Hanoi has the advantage of being well set up for expats, since it's the capital, and so many foreigners live here. Embassy prices, suck, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Nakji :biggrin:

It is nice to know I am not the only one playing "keep the ants out"! I love the geckos although at least once a day I am startled by a little green lurker who darts out from behind the fridge, under the toaster, etc. I talk to them too :cool: Today it was "Now I am just going to get some milk from the fridge so dont poo in the coffee!"

I never used to like muesli but it is great for filling up our tummies when it is too hot to move, let alone make an omelette.

Expat prices *do* suck but there are so many self-catering tourists here willing to pay.....the shops are making a fortune I reckon. We have a supermarket that has what looks to be ok poultry and seafood but the beef scares me and I dont recognize any of the cuts.

Like you I am trying to learn the language as fast as possible. I already know how to say chicken breasts and chicken thighs! Today I had my first telephone conversation in Indonesian so I am quite proud of myself. I dont think it was grammatically correct but the other party seemed to understand what I was trying to say so I am looking at it as a success.

I do need to get on the front of a bike one of these days. I am terrified but I agree that it will make life a lot easier. I heard they are building a Carrefour close to where we live but who knows how long that will take. I like the idea of being able to shop in the local markets but sometimes a little recognition adds a whole lot of comfort doesnt it?

Good luck to you in Vietnam!

Kira

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The geckos will get into your food and eat and crap in it, too. Let me tell you a story:

As some of you know, I lived in rural Malaysia for two years in the 70s. We bought a cabinet and stored various things in it. We found that ants climbed into it, no matter how well we thought we sealed it. So we got little plastic cups, filled them with water, and put the legs of the cabinet on top of them. Then, mosquitoes were breeding in the cups, so we had to add salt to the water. Finally, we found geckos and their excrement in the cereal boxes and such. We sealed the cabinet as well as we could but found it impossible to fully prevent things from getting into food by dropping from the ceiling, etc., etc.

The tropics are very fertile and luxuriant with life. Lots of wonderful foodstuffs grow and are used for wonderful cuisines there. But because of all the rapidly-breeding, well-adapted life forms that teem in that area, it isn't really possible to fully eliminate contamination. You will coexist with roaches, mosquitoes, flies, ants, termites, geckos, moths, and all sorts of other creatures. That's the way it is. Do what you can and enjoy yourself in spite of the impossibility of declaring victory.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great story! I am just keeping everything (except the garlic) in the fridge but I wont be surprised one day if I find someone/thing in there too. We arent out to eat bugs but these days when we find one in or near our food we just yell "protein!"

When I lived in India I devised this method of keeping food in my room - sealed things that hadnt been opened only, wrapped in cling wrap, in a plastic bag, in a plastic jar with a seal. It worked but what a lot of effort just so that I could have munchies in my room!

I think your point is so valid. Nothing can be done so just live with the critters in harmony as best I can. Great advice.

Pan, I dont suppose you have a good laksa recipe you can share with me do you?

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'll have to make a decision at some point of how "local" you want to be about your intestinal system.

Drawing upon several years in Egypt.....

This may sound horrible, but consider bleaching your food. Yeah, yeah, it sounds way to Michael Jackson, but give a quick rinse in bleach, and then let them sit for the chlorine to evaporate. This'll generally safeguard against a lot of problems with fresh veggies, and the chlorine does evaporate very quickly.

Avoid watermelons. The cell structure will allow amoebic penetration through the rind.

For the beef (it's probably water buffalo), order only the fillet, or tenderloin. Put it in marinade, and freeze it in the marinade. This'll soften it up.

Be cautious of meat and poultry sections without flies in expat markets. Often they'll come in and spray raid on the food in the morning to make it more palatable to the foreigners.

Also, be careful of ice cream. Repeated freeze and thaw can introduce many problems.

Sieve your flour.

If the black bits in your rice break up softly, they're not rocks. You might want to pick these out before they make a second incredible journey through an intestinal track.

Or......relax! Weight loss through dysentry is still weight loss, say I.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How expensive is it to hire a cook? When we lived in Bangkok in the 60's and 70's it was the only way to navigate the intricacies of the Thai market. Bugs everywhere: woke up one morning to find an entire wall covered with a migrating colony of ants; when the flying termites swarmed, you could be guaranteed a few in your bah mee nahm. The finest restaurants served water buffalo; they marinated it and called it Kobe beef.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great story!  I am just keeping everything (except the garlic) in the fridge but I wont be surprised one day if I find someone/thing in there too.  We arent out to eat bugs but these days when we find one in or near our food we just yell "protein!"

When I lived in India I devised this method of keeping food in my room - sealed things that hadnt been opened only, wrapped in cling wrap, in a plastic bag, in a plastic jar with a seal.  It worked but what a lot of effort just so that I could have munchies in my room!

I think your point is so valid.  Nothing can be done so just live with the critters in harmony as best I can.  Great advice.

Pan, I dont suppose you have a good laksa recipe you can share with me do you?

I've only eaten laksa, never made it. You could try recipes on kuali.com: Laksa recipes. There are various different types of laksa, characteristic of different parts of Malaysia.

Re: WHS's mention of the alate stage of the termites: They got into EVERYTHING! They were gross!

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This morning: a gecko in the coffee pot.

Unfortunately, some dregs of coffee were still in there as well. I didn't see him until I dumped the pot out. His foot was broken or something, and is now dying a slow death in my sink as I try not to think about it too much.

Washed the coffee pot out and carried on, though. Nothing keeps me from my coffee!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This morning: a gecko in the coffee pot.

Unfortunately, some dregs of coffee were still in there as well. I didn't see him until I dumped the pot out. His foot was broken or something, and is now dying a slow death in my sink as I try not to think about it too much.

Washed the coffee pot out and carried on, though. Nothing keeps me from my coffee!

It's not a bad way to go.

There must be an element of karma here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nakji :smile: , What? You didnt try to fix his broken foot with a little tiny splint?? :biggrin:

I bought a special sponge for the surfaces and wiped up leaving a bit of a soap film over everything and the ants do not like it. I watched them as they came up to the soapy areas and spun around like little bumper cars when they got too close. This is my new best defense.

I didnt have any lizard issues yesterday but I did get a big flying insect up the nose as I spun around from the sink to check the pasta in its last minutes on the stove. All I could think was - flying thing in nose but hey! the pasta will be overcooked if I dont drain it this instant! True dedication to al dente I tell you!

Arent used yughurt tubs the best? Mine are quickly becoming storage containers for just about everything. Would that be water buffalo yoghurt, btw? It says 100% bovine on the label. As opposed to what :blink: ?

Peter :smile: I think I will have to pass on the bleach :sad: . I just couldnt do it. I have decided that only lettuce needs to be washed in bottled water and the other veggies can be washed in regular water as long as I dry them off afterwards. Doubt there is any logic in that but we arent sick yet and I have been eating salads almost everyday.

The idea that someone is spraying the chicken is, to me, disgusting and more ammunition in my arsenal against eating meat. Ahem...Not that there is anything wrong with it - says the girl who is up at 5 this morning because she had to play catch and release with a transyvannian mosquito who had infliltrated her mesh fortress and left welts over 40% of her body. :raz:

When I was in India there were some kind of tablets or something that you could soak the veggies in that would render all the bugs harmless and some of the backpacker places would advertise that they used this method to ensure safe salads and such...does anyone know what I am talking about?

Kira

This morning: a gecko in the coffee pot.

Unfortunately, some dregs of coffee were still in there as well. I didn't see him until I dumped the pot out. His foot was broken or something, and is now dying a slow death in my sink as I try not to think about it too much.

Washed the coffee pot out and carried on, though. Nothing keeps me from my coffee!

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was in India there were some kind of tablets or something that you could soak the veggies in that would render all the bugs harmless and some of the backpacker places would advertise that they used this method to ensure safe salads and such...does anyone know what I am talking about?

Kira

Would that be potassium permanganate?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_permanganate

Look way down in the section on "miscellaneous uses",

the 5th bulleted point.

Milagai

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This morning: a gecko in the coffee pot.

Unfortunately, some dregs of coffee were still in there as well. I didn't see him until I dumped the pot out. His foot was broken or something, and is now dying a slow death in my sink as I try not to think about it too much.

Washed the coffee pot out and carried on, though. Nothing keeps me from my coffee!

Old Asia Hand here. Geckos love toasters - where they get to eat the crumbs. Always check the inside of your toaster before using. I inadvertently roasted many geckos over the years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kira, get some citronella coils (sold as "Ubat Nyamuk" = "Mosquito Medicine") and burn them (not on fire but as embers) before going to sleep. They should help keep the mosquitoes away.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello and greetings from Bali,

My husband and I have gone out on the limb of a coconut palm and moved ourselves to Bali in Indonesia.  So far, things have been great!  We have been keeping track of all our favourite restaurants and eats and I hope (if the wireless network gods bless me) to be able to share our findings with you all really soon.

The figurative honeymoon is over and it is time for me to start cooking again.  Eating out, although cheaper than cheap, will quickly put us in the poor house if we are not careful.  I have attempted three meals so far.  A Japanese chicken curry, a chicken in cream sauce pasta and a Thai green curry (no I didn’t use chicken!!  :raz: ) I used prawns. 

Our housemate is Muslim so I am trying to cook things that he can eat as well as things that I can do easily and quickly when it is hotter than Hades.

The kitchen I am in currently has no sharp knives, plastic plates and lots of Bintang beer mugs in various sizes.  There is a wok and a tiny fry pan but that is about it.  I have already purchased one big stock pot (to cook the pasta in) and that in itself was a bit of a challenge.  I didn’t want to buy aluminum and with the exception of the copper bottomed beauty that I spent way to many Rupiah on, there wasn’t much of a selection.  My housemate never cooked so the dishes (not the exquisite Bintang collection :huh: ) is leftover from the previous tenants (who left years ago!)

My biggest concern here is that I don’t make everyone sick.  How do I go about being hygienic other than the obvious nail brush and bottled water techniques?  How do I keep the ants out of the kitchen? 

I was deathly ill here six years ago.  I spent four or five days on the floor of the bathroom with my head beside the toilet.  I know, it isn’t a pretty picture - but I will paint it , to show you how much I don’t want to repeat that experience.

My other problem is that I don’t really like Indonesian food.  I have always found it cheaper and easier to eat whatever the locals eat but I will put on 10 kilos fast if my diet is goreng this and goreng that everyday.  I like fresh foood and I dont eat meat.  I am happy to cook meat for the boys but I find myself surviving on rocket salads and poached eggs with the occasional bowl of muesli.

So kind folks, help a sister out!  What should I do to ensure the safety of my diners?  How do I choose veg that looks good on the outside and isn’t rotting or full of worms on the inside?  Any suggestions for things I can prepare using local ingredients?  Any suggestions at all?

I look forward to your responses.

Kira

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello and greetings from Bali,

My husband and I have gone out on the limb of a coconut palm and moved ourselves to Bali in Indonesia.  So far, things have been great!  We have been keeping track of all our favourite restaurants and eats and I hope (if the wireless network gods bless me) to be able to share our findings with you all really soon.

The figurative honeymoon is over and it is time for me to start cooking again.  Eating out, although cheaper than cheap, will quickly put us in the poor house if we are not careful.  I have attempted three meals so far.  A Japanese chicken curry, a chicken in cream sauce pasta and a Thai green curry (no I didn’t use chicken!!  :raz: ) I used prawns. 

Our housemate is Muslim so I am trying to cook things that he can eat as well as things that I can do easily and quickly when it is hotter than Hades.

The kitchen I am in currently has no sharp knives, plastic plates and lots of Bintang beer mugs in various sizes.  There is a wok and a tiny fry pan but that is about it.  I have already purchased one big stock pot (to cook the pasta in) and that in itself was a bit of a challenge.  I didn’t want to buy aluminum and with the exception of the copper bottomed beauty that I spent way to many Rupiah on, there wasn’t much of a selection.  My housemate never cooked so the dishes (not the exquisite Bintang collection :huh: ) is leftover from the previous tenants (who left years ago!)

My biggest concern here is that I don’t make everyone sick.  How do I go about being hygienic other than the obvious nail brush and bottled water techniques?  How do I keep the ants out of the kitchen? 

I was deathly ill here six years ago.  I spent four or five days on the floor of the bathroom with my head beside the toilet.  I know, it isn’t a pretty picture - but I will paint it , to show you how much I don’t want to repeat that experience.

My other problem is that I don’t really like Indonesian food.  I have always found it cheaper and easier to eat whatever the locals eat but I will put on 10 kilos fast if my diet is goreng this and goreng that everyday.  I like fresh foood and I dont eat meat.  I am happy to cook meat for the boys but I find myself surviving on rocket salads and poached eggs with the occasional bowl of muesli.

So kind folks, help a sister out!  What should I do to ensure the safety of my diners?  How do I choose veg that looks good on the outside and isn’t rotting or full of worms on the inside?  Any suggestions for things I can prepare using local ingredients?  Any suggestions at all?

I look forward to your responses.

Kira

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bleach idea is a good one. Its ok to dilute it to 10% bleach (I'll check the hypochlorite conc later, in case the bleach you can get is a diff conc than we get here).

I use it when I get gift packs of vast quantities of fruit. It kills most of the microbes on the skin and gets me much longer shelf life, no effect on flavor.

I wouldnt think twice about using bleach as a weapon against Bali Belly.

Bleach breaks down to water and salt over time, so even if you dont wipe off every drop, no harm done.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's if it doesn't break down before you eat it when you should be worried.

You can buy 'vegetable soap.' I don't know what it's actually called, but it's a liquid used for washing fruits and veggies.

Be careful with KMNO4. The stuff stains like you wouldn't believe.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

easternsun,

I have lived in Indonesia for 12 years, I have never washed my vegetables in bleach or other chemicals, I have only once had an upset stomach, and that was in my first week here. Too many chemicals on your food will just lower your resistance to the local microbial load and will in fact make you more prone to sickness.

I just use normal practices to keep ants at bay (seal up your sugar and don't leave anything sugary laying around) and you won't have a problem with ants.

I have tops for all cups, pots etc, to avoid reptilian excreta! Once you learn to cover cups and pots to deflect the dropping's the geckos will become you friends, have you seen how many mosquitos they can eat in an evening!

I do a lot of shopping in the local market and I even eat on the street side stalls, I enjoy some of the most wonderfully varied cuisine in the world and at a reasonable cost as I refuse to shop in the Expat Stores!

Just kick back a little, and enjoy this opportunity! :wink:

"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

easternsun,

I have lived in Indonesia for 12 years, I have never washed my vegetables in bleach or other chemicals, I have only once had an upset stomach, and that was in my first week here. Too many chemicals on your food will just lower your resistance to the local microbial load and will in fact make you more prone to sickness.

I just use normal practices to keep ants at bay (seal up your sugar and don't leave anything sugary laying around) and you won't have a problem with ants.

I have tops for all cups, pots etc, to avoid reptilian excreta!  Once you learn to cover cups and pots to deflect the dropping's the geckos will become you friends, have you seen how many mosquitos they can eat in an evening!

I do a lot of shopping in the local market and I even eat on the street side stalls, I enjoy some of the most wonderfully varied cuisine in the world and at a reasonable cost as I refuse to shop in the Expat Stores!

Just kick back a little, and enjoy this opportunity! :wink:

Tristar does have a good point. Just buckle down, get sick, get over it, and then it's relatively clear sailing.

One of the benefits of living in Egypt for awhile is that I can now go anywhere, eat most anything, and (outside of the odd, wee parasite) not suffer too terribly.

Plus, if nothing else, there's nothing wrong with weight loss through dysentery!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hi there! I have to say that your post really struck a cord in me because I too am a new resident of Bali (I just pass my year 1 mark). While my experience has not been as traumatic as yours (but a geko did poop on me the first month I arrived as well as finding a large, dead, cooked fly in my plate of food), I also have to adjust to the new lifestyle.

Since we live with the in laws who are awesome by the way, they have helps who cook and take care of the house. I haven't had the experience of buying veg and meats from the local market, but it is significantly cheaper than local supermarkets and import stores. I make a huge effort in finding as much of the ingredients in local places, but sometimes I do need to buy stuff at the import stores, though I despise the ridiculous price these stores charge. Even among import stores, there is a huge price range. My person favorite is Papya in Kuta which carries a huge variety of Japanese goods, and I noticed that, unlike the other import stores, this store does not jack up the price of locally produced goods.

As for your concern about food safety, I totally understand because I too had a huge stomach problem once during my first visit to Indo (but I got sick in Jakarta, not Bali). I found that people here aren't as worried about hygiene so I'm trying my best to teach them some seemingly basic stuff, such as don't keep non-local food out on the counter for the entire day. I haven't gotten any major stomach ailment for the entire year I'm here even though I've had street vendor food, warung food, restaurant food, home cooking, etc. I think the reason is the in laws already found fairly reputable street vendors that they trust. I wouldn't try a random street vendor because I fear what else is in the food. I am still pretty paranoid when it comes to me cooking. Because I am not a huge fan of most Indo foods and I miss comfort food, I end up doing quite a bit of cooking. I rewash all the pots and any equiptment that I'll be using right before I cook (but I did this too when I lived in US). I have a thorough check of all the ingredients and wash them again if necessary. I cut out bits that don't look very good. And so on... Our household use filtered well water from our own well for washing things that food will touch, and we drink bottled water. Thank goodness I haven't made anyone sick yet, though once the sister-in-law's Japanese food made me run to the bathroom.

I was pretty shocked by how ugly/grubby some of the fruits and vegetables looked when I first got here, but a lot of the fruits and vegetables actually tasted better than what I had in US. I do miss some things like good apples, cherries, lemons, and other produce, but I am enjoying trying out new fruits as well as finding childhood favorites. It's mango season right now so I'm totally gorging on those right now. Venturing to local markets to find produce might be better than going to the supermarkets though the local supermarkets carry surprisingly varied imported goods too.

Sorry about the long message, but I just want to share my experience with local food and stuff. :) If you have more questions, feel free to ask me. I'm also interested in learning about how other expats feel about food and cooking in Indo/Bali.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies. I havent been able to post due to p/c problems.

I have become accumstomed to having guests in the kitchen when I cook.....all sorts of creatures including bats that swoop in from the open living space and garden. My husband hates bats because when he was 12 years old a bat flew in his mouth. How is that for an egullet story? I think they are kind of cute but then again I never had one in my mouth.

I bought a few cookbooks and have been experimenting a lot with Malaysian, Indian, Vietnamese and Indonesian cooking. The ingredients are available and cheap - it has been a great learning opportunity. I have mastered pho and think it makes a wonderful meal at anytime of the day. I have done quite a bit of Thai cooking as well.

Our friends showed up for a couple weeks and took turns being quite ill. They were just going for it and eating everything they saw. I nursed them both back to health with probiotic drinks and grapefruit seed. I swear by grapefruit seed extract as both were well within a day of taking three doses. Great stuff for killing stomach bugs. I gave it to heaps of people in India who were suffering with Dehli belly. If you dont know what I am talking about click here. Tastes horrid but it works.

I returned to Japan a few days ago to "open the new year" and see the rellies. We will head back to Bali mid-Jan. I am taking a full suitcase of food with me. :rolleyes: Just the basics: miso, shoyu, mirin, sake, nori, a 20 kg bag of rice........ :wacko:

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in Singapore, and was an itty bitty child waaay back when non-UHT milk was an amazing treat and non-canned button mushrooms were unheard of.

We covered everything and the storecupboard had quite a lot of Tupperware-style containers that helped keep dry goods lasting longer.

We also boiled our drinking water, keeping it in a thermos for use during the day. Most people don't do that any more (except as a matter of taste, since the local water is heavily chlorinated), though those of my grandparent's generation swore by it.

Basically, any protein/fat-rich foods went into the fridge, and anything else was okay for outside. As long as it had a lid or cover on it. We even draped a dry dishcloth over the fruit

Don't know if this helps you much.

I do second the statement that you should expect to get moderately ill once, then get better. It's just your system getting used to the new regime. I remember when we moved to Australia it took me a good three months to get used to the lack of familiar bugs. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. :rolleyes:

" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...