With its predominantly Hindu inhabitants and the community of expats who calls Bali their home, visitors can expect an entirely different set of flavours to typical Indonesian cuisines found elsewhere on the archipelago. Let us introduce you to the flavours of the Islands of Gods.
A dish that tourists would be remiss not to try is Bali’s nasi pedas (loosely translated as spicy rice). A beloved popular local cuisine, the most famous nasi pedas stalls are crowded with hungry customers throughout the day. Diners can choose from a variety of dishes to accompany their rice, including fried chicken, spicy shredded chicken, grilled fish, lawar (Balinese salad), curried vegetables and other yummy dishes. The tantalising variety of dishes is accompanied with spicy house-made sambal matah (Balinese chili dip), for those who like it hot.
For frequent visitors to Bali, babi guling (suckling pig) is a much welcome pit stop after a gruelling long flight. Rarely found elsewhere in Indonesia, babi guling is a popular dish for the Balinese locals and tourists alike. A selection of pork crackling, chunks of aromatic suckling pig, pork dumplings and pork sate is served with steaming white rice, accompanied with lawar (Balinese salad) and sambal matah (Balinese chilli dip).
A Balinese meal is never complete without a dish of lawar, a traditional Balinese salad made from freshly grated coconut, minced green beans, coconut milk, herbs and spices. Whether one is dining in roadside warungs (hawkers) or in fine dining Balinese restaurants, the dish is a staple companion for any meal. Lawar is typically accompanied with jackfruit or protein such as pork and chicken.
A dish popular amongst tourists, iga bakar (barbecued pork ribs) is the Balinese take on the famous pork ribs beloved worldwide. The locally-inspired version uses a marinade of garlic, onion, ginger, honey, chilli sauce, oyster sauce as well as kecap manis (Indonesian soy sauce) amongst a variety of Indonesian spices and condiments. Try a bite and don’t be surprised finding yourself calling for seconds and thirds.
With the abundance of seafood right at the doorstep, visitors to Bali will be spoiled by the variety of fresh seafood available. The most popular seafood restaurants are congregated in the Jimbaran district, where one can enjoy fresh off-the-grill seafood while dipping one’s toes in the cool beach sand and admiring the waves rolling in. For those looking to enjoy the natural flavours of the seafood, ask for the ikan bakar (grilled fish) and enjoy it with a dip of freshly cut bird’s eye chilli drenched in kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). We like the lovely cumi goreng (calamari rings) too.