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Since tasting the local food is one of my favorite “activities” while traveling, finding out what to eat in Bali was a “must do” for me.
But I have a confession to make: I don’t eat any kind of fish or seafood! I know. I know.
But I will do my best to describe what to eat in Bali at its most complete stage.
Let’s start with the main dishes that you can find at any warung, the typical small restaurant that serves local food.
I wish I could have a dish of nasi goreng right now! It’s so delicious.
Nasi means rice. Goreng means fried. So yes, fried rice.
It is normally served with some vegetables, peanut sauce and prawn crackers (which are my only exception to my no-seafood thing) and a fried egg on top.
It comes in 3 different versions: with meat (normally chicken but you can also have it with pork), with seafood (shrimps) or vegetarian (vegetables, fried tofu and tempe, which is a sort of soybeans cake).
Now that you know what goreng means you already got half of this meal.
Mie means noodles. Fried noodles!
It is served exactly like the nasi goreng and it comes in its 3 different versions as well.
One day I would be like “I like Nasi Goreng better” and the other day “I actually like Mie Goreng better”.
They are both delicious!
Nasi campur is a lighter version of the Nasi Goreng. The rice is steamed instead of fried.
Betutu is chicken or duck meat rolled in a banana leaf and topped with a Balinese sauce that consists of local spices.
Personally I didn’t like it too much. I don’t know if that’s because of the sauce, but it has a fishy flavor. But if you’re not a fish hater freak like me, you might like it!
The Sate is made with minced meat (normally chicken) on skewers, topped with a super yummy peanut sauce.
They serve them everywhere as an appetizer. Sometimes you can also have them in your nasi or mie goreng.
This is also a must eat in Bali. Babi guling is the suckling pig stuffed with different spices and vegetables and basted with coconut milk. It is roasted over the fire and cooked for 3 hours.
In the past it was cooked only for big ceremonies but now you can have it at some restaurants. Normally you have to order babi guling in advance (the day before). But there is a place near the Ubud Palace where you can taste babi guling every day with no reservation: IBU OKA.
In this warung they serve the babi guling in a bowl. It is a combination of steamed and fried chunks, fried skin and sausages served with white rice.
The meat is so tender and the skin is so crispy! An absolute delight!
If you are a vegetarian and got horrified by my description of the babi guling I apologize!
But I will try to make it up to you! Bali offers a lot of options for vegetarians!
One of them is Gado-Gado. It’s a salad of vegetables, boiled eggs, fried tofu, tempe and peanut sauce.
It is one of the few dishes in Bali that doesn’t come with rice, so if you want some just make sure you ask for it.
The Balinese coffee is also something you can’t miss.
It is normally served in a big cup and it’s pretty dark. Its taste is unique. Just watch out for the grounds in the bottom!
I have already talked about the Luwak Coffee in my itinerary. Once again: do not drink this coffee! Like Tony Wild said in his campaign against the production of this coffee: cut the crap!
The traditional Balinese dishes are found in Lombok as well.
This island will be a paradise for you if you love spicy food!
I had an amazing Ayam Taliwang, which is the most typical dish in Lombok. It is basically chicken cooked with a hot sauce that will really test your tongue! I was in tears and I even asked for a “mild” one.
These are just a few examples of dishes that you can have in Bali. Wherever you go each warung will have its “special” for you.
I really enjoyed the food in this part of the world. When I got back home the first thing I googled was: Balinese restaurants in Rome. The taste of Bali’s specialties is part of the amazing memories that you will take home with you.
The flavors are unique, just like Bali is.