Wednesday, 15 August 2007

dining out in bali

I thought I'd share some of the delicious meals that Jonas and I enjoyed during our Balinese honeymoon.

Sit back and salivate . . .

Nasi Campur
This effectively translates to “mixed rice” and is an Indonesian (and Malaysian) institution. Rice is topped with a variety of curries, sambals and salads. This particular version had a boiled egg that had been deep fried then topped with chilli sauce; chicken skewers; tempeh, tofu stuffed with meat and vegetables then battered and fried; stir-fried vegetables; fish curry; and beef rendang.

Ayam Goreng Kalasan
A sweet, fried chicken dish from Java. Flavoured with chilli, coconut juice, tomato, shallots, salam leaves, galangal & palm sugar. It was wonderful: one of the best things I ate in Bali.

Daluman (V)
I picked this drink up at Ubud markets. It’s made from natural chlorophyll jelly, coconut milk and some kind of pink goop. After tasting it I decided it needed more sugar, more coconut milk, more pink goop and less swamp muck. It also needed a lot less ants and dirt swimming in the pots it was made from. Not to mention that everyone used the same cups over and over and over and . . . you get the picture, I wasn’t too keen.

Tuna w Balinese Sauce
Tuna is by far the most popular fish in Bali and this dish was an interesting fusion of Balinese spices and European serving styles. The fish was peppered then lightly seared and served on boiled and salted new potatoes. Everything floated on a pool of thick, creamy sauce spiced with chilli, tumeric and ginger.

Mixed skewers of pork, chicken and beef are served smoking on hot coals. On a side plate came a large bowl of spicy peanut sauce, urab and rice.

Pelecing (V)
Kangkung (or water spinach) is steamed and then stir fried with garlic, mung beans and soy sauce. This vegetable side dish is warm and comforting and would be very easy to replicate.

Pisang Goreng (V)
Ripe bananas are battered, fried and served warm with fresh coconut and palm sugar syrup. Delish!

Vanilla & Brandy Martini
It’s worth showing this photo simply to illustrate how unimportant vanilla is in Balinese cuisine when they use a whole pod as a garnish. The locals don’t use it in their cooking at all and grow it purely for export. While one vanilla bean would fetch around AUD$5 in Sydney, we bought about 10 pods for 65c!!!

Soto Ayam
Ayam means chicken and soto means soup and Indonesia’s version is smooth and hearty. Chicken broth is filled with vermicelli noodles, slices of fresh tomato, chunks of boiled egg, crispy fried shallots (bawang goreng) and fresh herbs. The yellow hue in the broth gives away the presence of tumeric too.

Tempe Urab (V)
I covered urab in my cooking school post, but since this was one of the best things Jonas ate on the trip I thought it was worth showing the happy snap and mentioning again. It’s a salad that alternates the vegetables but always seems to include the same "seasoning" of shredded, roasted coconut and kaffir lime with sambal goreng (fried chilli sauce of shallots, chilli & garlic). This version had tempeh too.

Tempeh & Tofu Chips (V)
This is a fun snack of curry flavoured batter around pieces of tempeh and tofu which are then deep fried and served with a salsa or sambal.

Ikan Bakar
Grilled fish with sambals is the simple way of describing it, but basically the fish had been rubbed with a sweet, spicy marinade and grilled until sticky but still moist.

Lemongrass & Ginger Drink
Young lemongrass stalks, fresh ginger and black pepper are boiled into a concentrate then served with sugar and water as a refreshing drink.

Mie Goreng (V)
Another Indonesian staple of fried noodles. This, alongside nasi goreng, is the most common breakfast option. It came with a fried egg, very spicy sambals and fresh cucumber and tomato.

Otak Otak
These fish cakes are found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and are made by turning fish into a paste, seasoning with spices and then wrapping the paste in banana leaves before grilling or steaming. These were made from tenggiri (Spanish mackerel) and came with a spicy sate dipping sauce.

Babi Bali
Boiled pork is smothered in a delicious, spicy sauce flavoured with tumeric and ginger. It’s served with rice and vegetables.

Bebek Betutu
Smoked duck is a Balinese specialty and is usually served only on special occasions. A paste is made of various ingredients (most importantly lemongrass, candlenuts, turmeric, kencur, and shrimp paste) and is spread all over the duck and inside the cavity. It’s then wrapped in banana leaves and roasted until moist. In this case it was served with pakis (fern shoots) and red rice.

Gado Gado (V)
This salad is probably one of Indonesia’s most famous dishes. Steamed or boiled vegetables are topped with a spicy peanut sauce as well as tofu, boiled eggs and tofu crackers. It’s warming, filling and incredibly tasty. A vegetarian delight!

Here are some of the restaurants, from our travels, worth recommending:

Café Jaya (Monkey Forest Rd)
Casa Luna (Jalan Raya)
The Waroeng (Monkey Forest Rd)

Hu’u (Jalan Pantai Kaya Aya)
Ku Dé Ta (Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi)
Kuni’s (Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi)
La Lucciola (Jalan Pantai Kaya Aya)
Trattoria (Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi)
Tuesday Pizza Club (Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi)
Warung Murah (Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi)



  1. Great score on the vanilla beans. I don't know much about Indonesian food, and your descriptions are excellent. Seems like a lot of interesting dishes.

  2. After looking at all of the gorgeous photos I feel like a food virgin....peaking into a 'House of Heavenly Delights'.

  3. OK, I sat back and I salivated. Now, may I please be rewarded with some of that Gado-Gado? It's one of my all-time favorites. :)

  4. Thanks for this wonderful culinary virtual trip!!

  5. bali is so wonderful. hope u can get here again someday :)


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