Bali is home to many food delicacies which attracts lots of tourists as well as locals. This rich and delicate cuisine contains plenty of different spices and herbs that have been long known to be good for the body. When traveling, you will find “makan” (food) everywhere in “warungs” (small restaurants) and bigger restaurants alike. There’s plenty of dishes you’ll see on the menu that may be unfamiliar but to make sure that you get to know some of these Balinese goodies, we’ve created a compact 5 must-try-dishes that are very famous in Bali and which you need to try.
1. Nasi Goreng
Simple but incredibly delicious – that’s Indonesia’s national dish Nasi Goreng. Probably one of the most popular dishes that you can have, this tasty creation consists of Stir-fried rice, mixed with vegetables and Indonesian spices which is easy to cook and quick to prepare. From your simple “Warung” to fancy restaurant and even in all Kajane Hotels, you are bound to find this dish served on the menu. At Kajane, our chef combines his Nasi Goreng with other ingredients such as egg, chicken satay, onion rings, sambal (chilli paste) and krupuk (deep fried crackers). This gives the guest an added flavour to the dish loved by all Indonesians.
2. Temelung Afternoon Tea
Back in the old days of Ubud, local farmers used to take a break from their work in the paddy fields by having afternoon tea and snacks. And nowadays, this practice is still carried on which we call Temelung (which means banana leaf) which is prepared with black rice (jaje kukus), pumpkin with sticky rice (jaje waluh), tapioca (jaje sagu) and banana (jaje pisang) and served in a banana leave and added by grated coconut and palm sugar. The sweet treat also comes with black tea to wash it down before you go back to work or complete you afternoon shift – a truly authentic experience in Bali. So if you want to learn more about this old tradition, you can observe our staff during the process at Kajane Yangloni and enjoy the unique taste while gazing at the view of the paddy fields.
3. Pisang Rai and Jaja Uli
There are many different homemade cakes or “kuih” in Bali that come with lots of different ingredients, shapes, colors and textures but one (well two!) of our favorites include Pisang Rai and Jaja Uli. These two delicacies deserve a special mention because of how it represents the typical cakes made in Bali. Using pandan leaves as natural green coloring, Pisang Rai is made out of ripe bananas, shredded coconut and tapioca. This sweet treat is best accompanied with Jaja Uli which is made out of sticky rice and palm sugar because the flavours blend beautifully with your afternoon tea. We at Kajane serve our kuih fresh daily so if you happen to be nearby Kajane Mua in Ubud, drop by our Homemade Cafe & Restaurant for a taste!
4. Bebek Betutu
For something a little more savoury, Bebek Betutu (which means Smoked Duck) is a very unique Balinese dish, so it is definitely a must try during your stay. Cooking this delicious food takes about 12 hours of preparation under a low fire with smoke which is an obviously complicated method but once you taste those different and unique spices combined, it’s totally worth it. Depending on the restaurant you are going, spices such as shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, galangal, candlenuts, coconut oil and chilli are used and mixed together and is usually best eaten with rice and freshly cut vegetables.
5. Babi Guling
The sucking pig is one of Bali’s most famous dish. You will enjoy one of the crispiest pig in the world which took almost 24 hours to prepare before served fresh to your plate. The whole pork is stuffed with a paste out of many ingredients such as coriander seeds, lemongrass, chillies, black pepper, garlic, red shallots, ginger and galangal and then roasted. Once ready, the meat will be sliced and shredded and served with rice and other side dishes. When in Bali, remember that Babi Guling is signature to our culture so that’s why you will find it almost everywhere.
WHAT TO EAT EASILYWHILE YOU’RE IN BALI
If you find yourself in a local eatery and feel unsure what to order, ‘nasi campur’ is usually a good bet – it’s a plate of rice served with small helpings of three or four different dishes, and the variety is usually delicious (‘enak’).
It’s the native spices, fragrant roots and leaves that make Balinese cuisine unique. These can be overpowering at first, but it doesn’t take long to acquire the taste. Once that happens, look out, you’re hooked!