If you’re not sampling the local food when you’re in Bali you’re seriously missing out, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Available at local market stalls, roadside warungs or fancy restaurants, Balinese food is easy to find and it’s delicious and cheap.
• Nasi Campur
Campur means “mixed” and that’s indeed what you’ll find when you order this dish which is a real favourite with locals and visitors. Almost every restaurant has their own take on this dish, so it does differ from place to place. The centrepiece is white rice, surrounded by selections of beef rendang, grilled chicken, tempeh, fried or hard-boiled eggs, a selection of vegetables (sayur urab) and sometimes a satay stick. Served with a classic Balinese spicy sambal and a crunchy prawn cracker it’s very tasty.
This dish is simply a showcase of all the best food you’ll find across Bali. A great way to sample different foods.
Where to Eat: Made’s Warung , Jalan Raya Seminyak, Seminyak.
What it Costs: $9.50.
• Babi Guling
Being that Bali is predominantly Hindu it’s not surprising to find that one of the most eaten meals is this pork dish. In the past a babi guling feast was reserved for big celebrations, today it’s one of the most sought-after dishes for locals and expats alike.
The suckling pig is cooked for hours, slow-turned over a hot-coal fire. It’s coated in a spice mix of garlic, ginger, turmeric and other ingredients which make up a paste called basa gede—giving a delicious spicy flavour to the meat and crispy skin. Always served with white fluffy rice, stewed vegetables and a few pieces of crispy skin, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Where to Eat: Warung Ibu Oka, Jalan Tegal Sari, Ubud.
What it Costs: $5.50.
• Nasi & Mie Goreng
This would have to be classed as a national dish in Indonesia. The nasi (rice) or mie (noodle) goreng is a local favourite and also for many of us who visit Bali. There are so many variations to this dish dependant on where you’re dining. Generally, it’s rice mixed with vegetables then topped with a fried or scrambled egg and dried shallots. Sides include pickles, prawn crackers, and sticks of either chicken or beef satay, with sliced tomatoes and cucumber on the side. When you find one you love, you’ll be hooked. My favourite is this one!
Where to Eat: Warung Beach Breeze , Jalan Cemara, Sanur.
What it Costs: $4.50.
This is one of our favourite street foods to eat in Bali, sweet or savoury, watching this dish being made is almost as good as eating it. Once your order is placed, the vendor will prepare the filling with eggs and vegetables. Then a ball of dough is placed onto an oiled surface, stretched until it’s very thin and fried in a shallow pan. It bubbles instantly then filled with the omelette mixture, sliced green onions and cilantro. It cooks fast, the dough is folded around the mixture until a neat rectangle is formed. Once cooked, it’s sliced into squares and served with hot chillies and pickled vegetables.
The sweet version looks more like a giant crumpet and comes with fillings such as chocolate, condensed milk and cheese. Delicious.
Where to Eat: Try at your closest local food market.
What it Costs: $2.50.
• Dadar Gulung
This is my favourite Balinese dessert. Thick crepes, coloured green with pandan leaves, are filled with fresh coconut and palm sugar. They are so fresh and light and made even better with a dollop of vanilla ice cream!
Where to Eat – Café Wayan , Jalan Monkey Forest Road, Ubud.
If you’re ever in Sanur, the Sunday market at Café Batur Jimbar on Jalan Tambligan, is a great way to sample a variety of local foods. Cooked fresh, selections include spring rolls, wantons, sweet pandanus cakes and a selection of nasi campur.