When in Bali, do as the Balinese do and feast on the delicious cuisine the Indonesian island has to offer. Here are 10 foodie must haves during your next trip that will leave you exclaiming ‘sedap!’.
1. Babi Guling
A dish well-loved by the Balinese, Babi Guling is a Balinese style roast suckling pig. The whole pig is marinated with a variety of spices including turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic, and then traditionally split-roasted in fire and cooked to perfection. Babi Guling is commonly served with steamed white rice and lawar, which is concoction of chopped meat and vegetables mixed together with fragrant spices and herbs.
The Indonesian equivalent of what we know as satay, sate is basically marinated and seasoned chunks of meat that are skewered with bamboo sticks and barbecued atop a hot charcoal pit. The meal is served with a sweet and savoury peanut dipping sauce, often accompanied with bite-sized rice cakes and raw onions for those who like that extra oomph factor.
3. Sop Buntut
This Indonesian oxtail soup is perfect comfort food for a rainy day, or if you are nursing a hangover from partying too much the night before. The buntut (oxtail) is cooked in a clear but rich beef broth along with vegetables like potatoes, carrots and Chinese celery. Garnish with some fried shallots and a spritz of lime, and you are in for a tasty meal that will nourish your body, mind and soul.
4. Kopi Luwak
Kudos to the Asian civet cat, their diet of coffee berries and extraordinary digestive system, you can enjoy a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee in Bali. The coffee brew itself is said to be questionable, so be the judge and try it for yourself!
5. Nasi Campur
While we Singaporeans have our ‘Cai Peng’, the Balinese have their Nasi Campur. The dish comprises of a scoop of steamed white rice accompanied with many small portions of dishes including grilled and curried meats, stir-fried vegetables, tempeh (fermented soy beans), fried egg and shrimp krupuk (cracker). With so much Balinese flavours packed in one plate, this is a local must have during your next island visit.
6. Mee Bakso
Craving for something soupy? Mee Bakso might just hit the spot. This delicious soup based dish made with chicken stock, spices, mee (noodles), meatballs and beansprouts. Sometimes, the best dishes are the simplest ones. Be sure to enjoy it while its hot!
7. Bebek Betutu
A popular dish in Bali, Bebek Betutu features chicken or duck that is steamed or roasted, and doused in a signature rich bumbu betutu sauce. The bumbu betutu sauce comprises of shallots, garlic, tumeric, ginger, wild ginger, galangal, candlenuts, chili peppers, shrimp paste and peanuts. All of this is finely ground using mortar and pestle into a paste, which is then sauteed with coconut oil for maximum aroma and fragrance to create the delicious sauce that makes the dish.
8. Mini rijsttafel
Rijsttafel is a Dutch word that literally translates to rice table, which is really what this dish is all about. An adaptation of what the Dutch would serve at a colonial feast, the Indonesian rijsttafel consists of as many as forty side dishes served in petite portions, accompanied with rice prepared in a variety of ways. Some local favourites in this impressive feast include Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Nasi Kuning (Indonesian yellow rice), Gado-gado (see below), Krupuk (Shrimp crackers), Lumpia (Egg spring rolls), Babi kecap (Pork belly braised in sweet soy sauce), Bebek Betutu (see above) and Perkedel (Fried meat and potato patty).
The closest Indonesian version of a Western salad, Gado-gado comprises of a variety of vegetables boiled to al dente, hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu and tempeh (fermented soybeans), and lontong (rice cakes wrapped in banana leaf), drizzled with a rich peanut sauced and topped with krupuk (shrimp cracker) for that extra crunch. A perfect light and nutritious meal alternative after indulging in rich and heavy Indonesian food.
10. Pisang Goreng
Think sweet and ripe bananas dipped in batter and deep fried to golden perfection. It’s no wonder Pisang Goreng is one of the most popular snacks in Indonesia. This Indonesian banana fritter is often sold as it is by street vendors, and you can even find served with cheese, condensed milk and even chocolate at certain restaurants. Definitely an necessary indulgence during your next trip to Bali.