For us, food is one of the reasons we travel. We are curious and we like to try the more traditional dishes.
The Balinese cuisine is based on a multitude of spices found in each dish, from vegetables to meat and fish.
Indonesia is mainly a Muslim country, therefore vegetarian. But in Bali, most of the population is practicing a kind of Hinduism combined with local traditions. And the pig, normally banned in Muslim countries, is accepted in Bali.
There are hundreds of dishes in Indonesian cuisine, but when you come here just on vacation it would be hard to try it all. So we made a shortlist of the most traditional dishes, but also our favorites.
Babi Guling – Suckling Pig
Babi Guling is a roasted pig, in direct translation. It is rotated manually above the fire. But what really makes it special is the stuffing of vegetables and spices: onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric chili, coriander, salt and shrimp paste, plus a few more local spices. In the old days, it was a dish that was served only on special occasions, such as weddings, the new year, funerals. But with time it became a very commercial dish. The most delicious Suckling Pig, from our point of view, you will find in Ubud, at Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka. When you order this dish you will receive a piece of meat, crispy pork skin, and vegetable stuffing, along with a serving of rice. But it will be a surprise what part of the pig you will receive.
Mie Goreng – Stir-Fried Noodles
Mie Goreng is a Southeast Asia specific food, not just in Bali. You will find it in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Burma. The main ingredient is fried noodles with garlic and onion, chili, cabbage, tomatoes, eggs, and other vegetables. And it can be a vegetarian, with chicken, pig or shrimp. It can be found at any local restaurant, from warungs to expensive restaurants.
Nasi Goreng – Fried Rice
Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian rice dish with vegetables and meat. The spices that make this dish to be very tasty are soy sauce, shrimp paste, tamarind, and chili. Like Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng can be vegetarian, with meat or seafood. It is a fairly simple and tasty dish, perfect for any time of the day. Especially because it’s filling and cheap.
A simple dish. Spicy grilled meat served with a sweet soy sauce. The meat is placed on a coconut or bamboo stick and is cooked on the grill. Sate is a delicacy in Indonesia, being one of the national dishes.
Laklak – Balinese Pancakes
This is a traditional dessert, like a pancake, but in Balinese style. Laklak is made with rice flour, coconut milk, a little sugar, and suji leaves. Because of the suji leaves, it turns the color green and has an incredible flavor. They are perfect for breakfast, served with coconut and palm sugar, along with fresh fruit.
Another traditional food in Bali is tempe. But probably it’ not for everyone, because the taste is very strong. Tempe is a fermented soybean dish. And it’s a good source of protein. Unlike tofu, tempe has the whole soybean and a different texture. One of the ways to serve it is with a spicy sauce on top.
The BBq Ribg are not a traditional food in Bali, but we discovered it in Ubud at a small restaurant that makes some absolutely delicious ribs. So good that the meat if felling of the bones.
Location: Warung Pondok Madu, Ubud
Coconut trees are everywhere in Bali. That’s why you’ll find a lot of coconut dishes. But our favorite way of enjoying them is fresh and cold. Coconut water is full of potassium and sugars perfect to hydrate yourself.
The best way to taste as many Balinese specialties as you can is in a warung. You’ll have to choose between 2-3 kinds of rice, and then you choose whatever looks delicious from the display. And the portions are big, delicious, and incredibly cheap. We for one of these full plates paid less than 2-3 Euros.
One of our favorite restaurants that we recommend is: Warung Indonesia, Kuta.