Due to its geography, Balinese cuisine has its roots in Indonesian cuisine with various influences by the Chinese and Indian cuisines. Other than home-made meals or dining at restaurants, Bali has an abundance of night markets, food stands (warungs) and traditional restaurants to sample local cuisine.
Warungs are usually run by families and consist a budget-friendly option that serves both full course meals and snacks to munch on.
In Bali, there is something for everyone to indulge in. From Michelin star restaurants to generation "hole in the walls", the freshness of the produce, herbs and spices makes Bali an inspiring food destination even for the pickiest eaters!
Before every meal, the Balinese serve homemade deep fried crackers, similar to how bread is served in European restaurants. When in Bali, visitors must eat the Babi guling (roasted suckling pig - the specialty dish), Bebek Goreng (fried/smoked duck), Nasi Campur (mixed rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles) and Balinese Kopi (coffee) just to name a few.
Babi Guling (Suckling Pig)
Babi Guling (also known as "celeng guling") is a roasted pig stuffed with chili, turmeric, garlic and ginger. It is one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia, and in the Batak tradition, babi guling is a used as an offering wedding gift to a bride's family. Typically, babi guling is served with rice, pork sausage, sayur urap (coconut chili vegetable salad), and cooked for hours while roasting (normally a day). The most popular place to enjoy suckling pig is at Warung Ibu Oka, but before visiting, keep in mind that there are huge lines forming up everyday of people who visit it to sample this delicious dish. The best time to visit is for lunch as they aren't open late and will close shop once they have sold out for the day.
Bebek Goreng (Fried/Smoked Duck)
There are two types of fried/smoked ducks that are popular in Bali. Bebek Goreng is when the duck has been seasoned, steamed/boiled before being deep fried. Bebek Betutu is when the duck has been marinated and then smoked for a minimum of 24 hours. The result for both of these duck dishes is a lean, flavorful and flaky meat. Typically, duck is served with rice and local vegetables. A popular restaurant that serves this dish is called Bebek Bengil, which translates to dirty duck.
Nasi Campur (Mixed Rice)
This mixed dish with rice is a local favorite because it can be consumed all times of the day, either for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most commonly, nasi campur is made with ayam panggang (grilled chicken) or beef curry and topped with sambal (traditional hot chili sauce). However, many locals enjoy throwing in leftovers to mix with the rice. Mixed dishes typically come with Plecing Kacang Panjang (long beans steamed with fried peanuts), Urab Klelimun Kacang barak (coconut and cucumber salad) and Be Siap Megorent Base Manis (fried chicken in soy sauce). Warung Wardani is the restaurant recommended for some tasty nasi campur!
Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles)
In Bali, they take Indomie instant noodles to the next level. Mie goreng (fried noodles) is normally garnished with a fried egg, dried shallots, veggies, prawn crackers and satay skewers on top, making a perfect lunch! This dish can be found at almost every food stall or street vendor, although all places will find different ways to make it. Sometimes, it is even served as one of the components of the mixed rice.
Balinese Kopi (Coffee)
Coffee in Bali is unique because it grows in the north eastern region of the island with the fertile volcanic soil and coffee bean weather. Seniman Coffee is unique because not only do they sell their coffee, but they also export, roast, design and process their own beans in house!
Be warned that their coffee is a little more bitter than "normal" coffee, but the strong flavors will keep you coming back for more. They also have other espresso drinks like lattes if you prefer sweeter drinks. The best way to enjoy this coffee is to pair it with some traditional Balinese snacks, such as cashew chocolates or peanut butter cookies.
Pack your bags to Bali and get ready for a flavorful adventure!