It is no doubt that as one of Indonesia’s most popular islands, Bali attracts thousands of tourists from around the world annually for its booze and rave parties. But did you know that the modern and hip facade hides a unique land that is steeped in rich history and culture as well? With influences from India and China along with its rich Indonesian heritage, the spirit of Bali is an elaborate one. Balinese culture is reflected in varying aspects of the locals’ way of life – notably in the culinary scene.
The island boasts an interesting food heritage that takes inspiration from Indian and Chinese cuisine, thus making it significantly distinct from your standard Indonesian eats. Although beef is uncommon in the region due to the predominant Hindu population, you are bound to find appetising dishes that incorporate chicken, duck and pork cooked with various spices. From trendy cafes to local warungs , these food joints will take your taste buds for a ride. Get ready to feast!
1. Bebek Betutu
This steamed savoury duck is easily one of the more popular dishes here in Bali. Stuffed and rubbed with a medley of spices, such as garlic, chilli and the Betutu spice, this aromatic dish is slow-cooked in either banana leaf or coconut tree bark for more than eight hours! But all that effort into preparing the dish pays off when the tender duck meat melts in your mouth, delighting your taste buds with every bite!
Sample this high-class dish at Warung D’Sawah in Kerobokan, Seminyak. This rustic restaurant, designed with bamboo wood, provides patrons with the calming view of vast rice paddy fields while they dine. Since Bebek Betutu is one of their signature dishes, be sure to add this eatery to your list of must-try places!
2. Babi Guling
If Bali had its own national dish, it would be none other than Babi Guling ! This famous dish involves spit-roasting a whole suckling pig as it rotates over hot coconut shell charcoal. Babi Guling sees the marriage of this indigenous method of cooking with the stuffing of authentic Balinese spices, rendering this dish absolutely delicious! Since the whole pig is roasted, usually one can spot this food item during communal events where everyone gathers to share the roasted pork.
Due to its popularity, Babi Guling can be found almost in any warungs and restaurants. We suggest heading to The Damai for a sensational feast! The Damai Restaurant is an award-winning brasserie-styled dining haven where Western classics with tropical variations and authentic Balinese dishes are served.
Tuck into top dishes such as the Minced Pigeon Meat, Langoustine In Wonton and the golden spit-roasted Babi Guling , while looking out at the vast beauty of the cerulean sea. Prepared with in-house ingredients and the freshest catch of the day, the quality of food at The Damai Restaurant is unparalleled!
Apart from cooking up a culinary flare in their restaurants, The Damai is also home to a collection of resorts and villas located in the scenic Bedugul Highlands ! From pool studios to seaview villas, The Damai offers a luxurious range of rooms for their guests.
|Indulge in cash-saving promotions when when you book the ‘Damai and Dolphins Stay’ for USD 665. This popular package will not only get you a 2-night stay, a 60-minute couple spa session and a candlelight dinner, but also a trip to catch a dolphin safari. Go with ‘Damai Bliss’ at USD 1190 instead to add in two more nights and another 60 minutes to your couple spa, in addition to 60-minute individual massage session and a romantic flower bath.
But if you are looking to relish in different resort experiences, look no further and secure the ‘North and South’ package instead. This promotion package allows The Damai’s guests to spend three nights in their villas and four nights at their charming partner resort, Jamahal Private Resort and Spa! For USD 1698, explore the locales and also revel in the tranquil resort lifestyle with The Damai in Buleleng (Northern Bali) and Jamahal Private Resort and Spa in Jimbaran (Southern Bali).
3. Sate Lilit
Sate (grilled meat skewers) is a popular side dish in the region. As such, it is not surprising to find variants of the local comfort food in Bali. Sate Lilit is exclusive to Balinese cuisine and is the island’s own unique twist on the regional favourite. Instead of skewering the spiced meat into sticks, Sate Lilit involves a more elaborate process.The meat is minced, kneaded with local spices and grated coconut before being wrapped around lemongrass sticks to be grilled. The combination of sweet and savoury flavours will leave you hankering for more!
Although this street snack is sold at countless of Balinese markets, Made’s Warung in Seminyak is worth making a trip for their Sate Lilit Ikan (fish)! This popular eatery offers an extensive menu that will leave patrons in a dilemma. Although named warung , this place of more of a casual dining restaurant.
This mishmash of finely chopped vegetables and grated coconut bits mixed with minced meat results in a local dish called Lawar . There are two varieties namely Red Lawar or White Lawar , depending on whether there is any addition of animal blood. Moreover, White Lawar usually incorporates jackfruit and coconut milk without any incorporation of meat or animal blood. For those who love their meat, this delicacy can be paired with chicken, duck, pork, beef or even turtle meat! Street stalls serve this dish wrapped in banana leaf.
Warung Nasi Bali (Ibu Ketut Nari) in Seminyak dishes up a mean rendition of Chicken White Lawar . You can also order other kinds of Lawar varieties and pork dishes as this local warung serves a variety of Balinese cuisine for patrons to savour!
5. Jimbaran Seafood
One cannot miss out on local seafood when visiting an island. The seafood haven in Bali is none other than in Jimbaran. Sample seafood delicacies not limited to Barramundis, Super Crabs, lobsters and Jimbaran-style grilled prawns. Most of the seafood you’ll find in the area are fresh and caught on the day itself! These mouth-watering dishes are spruced up with Jimbaran seafood sauce and Balinese spices such as the popular red paste and sambal matah .
Jimbaran Bay Seafood constitutes over a whopping 30 restaurants! To ease the decision-making process, seek out Menega Cafe for its chill atmosphere and their extensive line-up of seafood dishes that prides itself in being exclusively Jimbaran-styled.
After all that seafood goodness, don’t forget to save some stomach space for roasted butter corn cob sold from small carts by the beach!
6. Nasi Campur
Nasi Campur , or mixed rice, is a bowl of rice paired with an assortment of side dishes including vegetables and meat. As simple as it may sound, Nasi Campur’ s specialty lies in the diversity of its side dishes. Common ones include tempeh (fermented soybean cake), grilled fish, stir-fried long beans, beef sambal, sate , eggs and shrimp crackers. Cooked with classic Balinese spices, the authentic local flavours really shine through. This bonanza on your plate will leave your palate very satisfied!
To get the best Nasi Campur in Bali, make a beeline for Warung Eny’s in Seminyak. Doling out authentic Balinese fare with ingredients fresh from the garden, this local warung is a must-visit spot.
Immerse yourself in Balinese cuisine when you visit Seminyak , Bali’s most notable food district. What better place to book your stay than with Amadea Resorts and Villa Seminyak Bali? Ideally located in the prime area of Seminyak, easily suss out a myriad of famous Balinese restaurants and bars from this perfect accommodation! Complete with rooms of different sizes, from Junior Suites to Rooftop Suites and even several Pool Villas, Amadea Resorts and Villa Seminyak Bali is perfect for anyone be it couples or small family groups.
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7. Tipat Blayag
A quintessential dish in Balinese cuisine is the Tipat Blayag . Traditionally served on a banana leaf, this dish comes with tipat (also known as ketupat ) that has been cooked in coconut leaf, alongside other ingredients such as shredded meat, mixed vegetables and egg. It is then generously doused with unique Balinese-inspired sauces, resulting in a dish so rich and flavourful, it will leave you wanting more!
Although this savoury dish originated in Buleleng (Northern Bali), it has grown to be so popular that many restaurants and warungs around Bali serve up this dish for locals and tourists alike! Head down to Warung Bu Agus at Jalan Tukad Yeh Aya at Denpasar area to treat yourself to some lip-smacking Tipat Blayag !
These little Balinese sweet tea cakes are made out of rice flour and cooked traditionally over fire. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, laklaks are bite-sized and cooked to perfection at roadside stalls and warungs around Bali. These local delicacies come in either white or green (when pandan leaves are added).
Nosh on these delectable desserts at Dapoer Buleleng in Gianyar. Drenched with red sugar syrup, coconut milk and sprinkled with coconut shreds, laklaks are an absolute sweet treat that make for a delightful end to any meal.
Originating from Klungkung, Serombotan is a rich amalgamation of boiled vegetables, such as long beans, spinach, water lily, bean sprouts and eggplants, paired with grated coconut and hot chilli sauce. This flavourful dish is usually served on its own as a savoury snack as it comes in small portions. Add in rice or tipat and this versatile dish instantly becomes a meal!
Commonly found in many markets and warungs , Serombotan is best savoured at a dining establishment that has been running for over 25 years, Ms. Nengah Purnawati, located in Jalan Tukad Pakerisan, Denpasar.
10. Nasi Sela
Bali saw the rise of the Nasi Sela when the dish’s hometown, Karangasem, was facing financial turmoil four decades ago. Due to the lack of rice during Karangasem’s “Great Depression”, this economical dish from Eastern Bali substitutes most of the staple rice in the dish with sela (sweet potatoes).
Served with sweet potatoes, vegetables, small shrimps and peanuts alongside sambal, Nasi Sela at Warung Mek Luh will definitely whet your appetite.
Also Read: Top 20 Fun & Free Things to do in Bali
Let Balinese flavours intrigue you and embark on your own Balinese gastronomical adventure. Note down these must-try spots and get ready to embrace a whirlwind of flavours on your palate!