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    Post #1 - May 11th, 2007, 7:32 am
    Post #1 - May 11th, 2007, 7:32 am Post #1 - May 11th, 2007, 7:32 am
    I know Bali is not a common destination for travelers from the US, but I thought I'd see if anyone has any suggestions of great places to eat on the island. I will be there for several times and would love to go someplace that trusted LTHers can recommend.
  • Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 9:59 am
    Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 9:59 am Post #2 - May 11th, 2007, 9:59 am
    It has been a few years since I was there, but my top recommendation is Cafe Wayan in Ubud. The food is great, and the setting is even better. It actually winds through a hillside garden, with candles lighting the path and seating arrangements, either Asian or European, on either side of the path. Shrimp Ketut was memorable, if they still serve it. And I'm assuming you'll want to go to Ubud, artistic and cultural center of Bali -- though many tourists just go for the surfing on the south side of the island.

    And as an interesting cultural note, Wayan is the name of all firstborn children in Bali. Second born is Madé, then Nyoman, then Ketut. Four starts with Wayan again. Nicknames are given, to avoid confusion, and folks have multiple names, based on caste and personal characterisitcs, but you'll see these four names everywhere and often.

    Bali is not the best known of Indonesia's islands for cuisine, but most other Indonesian foods are available everywhere. I never found a really bad meal, with every little sidewalk chalk-scrawled blackboard revealing interesting options (and often humorous spellings) that never disappointed. Fruit is one of the great joys, as mangosteens and soursop are abundant.

    But definitely, in Ubud, try Cafe Wayan. Fabulous food, glorious setting.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 10:02 am Post #3 - May 11th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Thanks so much for the reco, I will definitely head to Cafe Wayan. It was fun to hear you explaining the names. One of the young ladies that worked for us when I lived in Indonesia was named Nyoman, and when the fourth child in my family was on the way we called her Ketut. Fun traditions.
  • Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 11:58 am
    Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 11:58 am Post #4 - May 11th, 2007, 11:58 am
    So you've encountered the naming conventions before.

    When I visited Bali, within a day of arrival, I met two guys named Wayan, and I figured it was a guy's name. Then I met a woman named Wayan, and I wondered if perhaps it was just a common name. All was made clear when I learned of the birth order connection.

    Have a great trip.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #5 - May 11th, 2007, 5:02 pm
    Post #5 - May 11th, 2007, 5:02 pm Post #5 - May 11th, 2007, 5:02 pm
    I think that it is worth going to Jimbaran. It is a town on the coast very close to the airport. Stall after stall of warungs. Tables and chairs are set up on the beach facing the water. You can watch a sunset with your toes in the sand while drinking cold beer and eating peanuts. They grill fish, crab, lobster, shrimp, squid, etc on coconunt husks and serve it with several different chili pastes. Very fresh and delicious. Definitely a tourist spot but excellent food. I'm getting wistful remembering it.

    In Ubud, there are some places that give daylong cooking lessons, if you are interested. I did one and I was the only student. We went to the market to look at ingredients and then cooked up about 7 or so dishes. I came away with a small cookbook of Balinese food. The one I went to is kitty corner from the big Ubud market. Maybe Bumbu Bali?

    Bebek (duck) is a specialty of Bali. I would definitely try several different preparations of it. Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of the places where I ate it. I wasn't in the habit of documenting my meals, in true lth fashion.

    In Ubud, there were several beautiful restaurants where tables were placed amongst rice paddies and lit by candles.

    Being a huge fan of Padang food, I also searched out Padang places. Cheaper than the tourist-oriented places and delicious. I had spent some time in West Sumatra and was missing it.

    hope you have a great time!
  • Post #6 - May 25th, 2007, 3:51 pm
    Post #6 - May 25th, 2007, 3:51 pm Post #6 - May 25th, 2007, 3:51 pm
    I'm amazed you sought out Padang places.... where are you from? I've only known a couple of Americans able to handle the mind-numbing spicyness. I am not one of them.
  • Post #7 - May 25th, 2007, 9:04 pm
    Post #7 - May 25th, 2007, 9:04 pm Post #7 - May 25th, 2007, 9:04 pm
    papua2001mk wrote:I'm amazed you sought out Padang places.... where are you from? I've only known a couple of Americans able to handle the mind-numbing spicyness. I am not one of them.


    I'm from Chicago. Are Rogers Park Jews known for their spice tolerance? There are all those jokes about Jews and Chinese food so maybe so...
    My dad particularly loves spicy food and I grew up trying to keep up with him. Now I'm trying not to be one of those tedious people who will only eat spicy food or has to add chili paste to everything but it is difficult. I just finished eating a piece of toast with chili oil on it. Guess I like my mind numb. :twisted:
  • Post #8 - June 19th, 2007, 12:07 am
    Post #8 - June 19th, 2007, 12:07 am Post #8 - June 19th, 2007, 12:07 am
    I was in Bali 2 years ago and these are the few places that was recommended to me:

    There are couple places in Ubud that you can try out. Warung Bu Oka is known for their babi guling (roast pork). Crispy skin and tender meat. Try to get there early since they run out of the babi guling pretty quickly.

    There is another warung known for their bebek/duck called bebek bengil. Ask the cab driver to drop you off at Bebek Bengil 1, the original, and not Bebek Bengil 2. It is set amongst a lush Balinese garden with paddy field set in the background.

    And if you are in the mood for shrimp gluttony, then I will suggest Kaka steamboat. For only Rp 60,000 you get all you can eat shrimp. They cast their net onto the pool and place all the shrimps caught in a bucket. Can't beat the freshness. For another Rp 60,000, total of Rp120,000, you can have an all-you-can-eat crab and shrimp, available only for dinner.

    Last recommendation is Warung Made , known for their nasi campur bali. It's around Kuta or Legian. Good luck and happy exploring.
  • Post #9 - March 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am
    Post #9 - March 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am Post #9 - March 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am
    papua2001mk wrote:Thanks so much for the reco, I will definitely head to Cafe Wayan.

    did you end up making your trips to Bali?, would be curious of your experiences.
    --
    comradelaura wrote:I think that it is worth going to Jimbaran. It is a town on the coast very close to the airport. Stall after stall of warungs. Tables and chairs are set up on the beach facing the water. You can watch a sunset with your toes in the sand while drinking cold beer and eating peanuts. They grill fish, crab, lobster, shrimp, squid, etc on coconunt husks and serve it with several different chili pastes. Very fresh and delicious. Definitely a tourist spot but excellent food. I'm getting wistful remembering it.

    In Ubud, there are some places that give daylong cooking lessons, if you are interested. I did one and I was the only student. We went to the market to look at ingredients and then cooked up about 7 or so dishes. I came away with a small cookbook of Balinese food. The one I went to is kitty corner from the big Ubud market. Maybe Bumbu Bali?

    Bebek (duck) is a specialty of Bali. I would definitely try several different preparations of it. Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of the places where I ate it. I wasn't in the habit of documenting my meals, in true lth fashion.


    I've read that some of the warungs are more inclined to rip off/be dishonest, someone suggested bringing a bottle of water to test accuracy of scales as they weigh the seafood. FWIW, those closer to the Intercontinental resort are supposed to be more honest. Does seem very geared towards the tourist, but dinner on a beach while barefoot sounds great to me.

    I am hoping to fit in a day cooking class, Bambu Bali was the restaurant I had read about in Ubud for these classes.

    Looking forward to the "dirty duck" (link to the story of dirty ducks here: http://www.balieats.com/full.cfm?id=325 ) at either Bebek Bengil 1 as hamph mentions or Satri’s Warung.

    trip is less than 1 week away, will report back on where we dined.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #10 - March 23rd, 2009, 10:11 am
    Post #10 - March 23rd, 2009, 10:11 am Post #10 - March 23rd, 2009, 10:11 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:Trip is less than 1 week away, will report back on where we dined.
    Will you be in Ubud? I was in Bali a bit over a year ago, before moving to Chicago and joining LTH.

    Suckling pig at Ibu Oka is a can't miss. One of the highlights of our five week adventure.

    Mozaic, an upscale spot run by a chef who worked at the French Laundry, was a complete disappointment both before, during, and after our meal. I'd share my negative experience there, but it would run afoul of LTH's posting policy. If you're considering Mozaic, feel free to PM me for more details.

    Safe travels,
    Ronna
  • Post #11 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:36 pm
    Post #11 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:36 pm Post #11 - March 23rd, 2009, 9:36 pm
    REB wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:Trip is less than 1 week away, will report back on where we dined.
    Will you be in Ubud? I was in Bali a bit over a year ago, before moving to Chicago and joining LTH.

    Suckling pig at Ibu Oka is a can't miss. One of the highlights of our five week adventure.

    Mozaic, an upscale spot run by a chef who worked at the French Laundry, was a complete disappointment both before, during, and after our meal. I'd share my negative experience there, but it would run afoul of LTH's posting policy. If you're considering Mozaic, feel free to PM me for more details.

    Safe travels,
    Ronna

    Hello Ronna, yes we have three nights in Ubud. Ibu Oka was on my list, Tony Bourdain's show solidified our going to dine here. Thanks for your candid comments on Mozaic, some friends had highly recommended it but after viewing their menu I just didn't get a "Baliesque" feeling about it. I currently have reservations (pun intended) but now plan to cancel them at Mozaic.

    some other places on Bali we are planning on dining is:

    Naughty Nuris just outside Ubud for Indonesian ribs.
    Satri's Wahrung off Monkey Forest Road (Ubud) for their banana chicken. Apparently need to call 24 hours in advance.

    Was thinkin of Ku De Ta but again after viewing the menu have decided just to go for drinks as the setting at night is supposed to be magical.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #12 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:35 pm
    Post #12 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:35 pm Post #12 - March 23rd, 2009, 11:35 pm
    Don't just go to fabulous restaurants. Leave yourself some time to just wander up the street and eat at funny little places with hand-written (and badly spelled) signs. Some places are better than others, but it's all wonderful.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 10:01 am
    Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 10:01 am Post #13 - March 24th, 2009, 10:01 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:
    REB wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:Trip is less than 1 week away, will report back on where we dined.
    Will you be in Ubud? I was in Bali a bit over a year ago, before moving to Chicago and joining LTH.

    Suckling pig at Ibu Oka is a can't miss. One of the highlights of our five week adventure.

    Mozaic, an upscale spot run by a chef who worked at the French Laundry, was a complete disappointment both before, during, and after our meal. I'd share my negative experience there, but it would run afoul of LTH's posting policy. If you're considering Mozaic, feel free to PM me for more details.

    Safe travels,
    Ronna

    Hello Ronna, yes we have three nights in Ubud. Ibu Oka was on my list, Tony Bourdain's show solidified our going to dine here. Thanks for your candid comments on Mozaic, some friends had highly recommended it but after viewing their menu I just didn't get a "Baliesque" feeling about it. I currently have reservations (pun intended) but now plan to cancel them at Mozaic.

    some other places on Bali we are planning on dining is:

    Naughty Nuris just outside Ubud for Indonesian ribs.
    Satri's Wahrung off Monkey Forest Road (Ubud) for their banana chicken. Apparently need to call 24 hours in advance.

    Was thinkin of Ku De Ta but again after viewing the menu have decided just to go for drinks as the setting at night is supposed to be magical.
    It sounds like you've done some good research.

    I suggest you try Ibu Oka early on. It's so good, you may want to have more than one meal there. We certainly did.

    We were in Ubud for 4-5 nights, but stayed out in the boonies, so we didn't eat every meal in town. We ate at some mediocre touristy places that I wouldn't recommend and cannot recall. We unfortunately had some Europeans traveling with us on a long day trip who wanted to have nothing to do with eating at locally-run, non-touristy establishments.

    The first place we stopped in town, when we had no idea where we were going to stay, was Coffee and Silver, on Monkey Forest Road. While it's western food, it's a lovely, spotless place to get a reasonably-priced breakfast. IIRC, you could get coffee, fresh juice, eggs, smoked salmon, bread, fruit, yogurt, and a dessert for $4-5. Plus, free wi-fi and an extremely helpful, friendly Danish owner. The owner made some phone calls and found us an amazing place to stay at a substantial discount.

    I mentioned to RAB that you were now planning to cancel at Mozaic, and he also thought that it's the way to go. Even if you look at just the food and ignore the many problems we had with them, the food wasn't Balinese-focused (as you noted), and didn't come close to any tasting menu we've had stateside in the past few years. I'd only recommend it to someone living in Indonesia - - not someone living in a major city like Chicago with many wonderful restaurants.

    Ronna
  • Post #14 - March 25th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    Post #14 - March 25th, 2009, 1:54 pm Post #14 - March 25th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    The aforementioned pig at Ibu Oka:

    Image
  • Post #15 - March 26th, 2009, 7:15 am
    Post #15 - March 26th, 2009, 7:15 am Post #15 - March 26th, 2009, 7:15 am
    REB wrote:The aforementioned pig at Ibu Oka:

    wow, looks great, emailing our driver to arrange to eat here after we arrive into DPS (seeing as we are staying in Ubud, it is right on the way)
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #16 - July 6th, 2014, 8:58 am
    Post #16 - July 6th, 2014, 8:58 am Post #16 - July 6th, 2014, 8:58 am
    Time to bump this.

    While we were not surprised to read that the largest proportion of visitors to Bali come from Australia (about a quarter), we were very surprised that the US was way down the list...in 10th spot, to be specific. Behind some logical others (largely Asian countries) but also behind the UK and Russia(!). We're going in October and, though we're mildly concern about heat and humidity, apparently rabies has become epidemic there since 2008...a somewhat greater cause for concern. Still, Bali is Bali and we're excited about the prospect of everything except the 15-hour legs between Chicago and Hong Kong. Despite two trips to Nepal each, neither of one us has been on a plane for such a long single leg of a journey.

    But, back to Bali. All very useful comments above duly noted (thank you). But given the passage of time, and with the preface that we will be based in Ubud for a week, all suggestions, updates, remarks, and other commentary are most sincerely welcomed.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #17 - July 6th, 2014, 11:38 pm
    Post #17 - July 6th, 2014, 11:38 pm Post #17 - July 6th, 2014, 11:38 pm
    Avoid the monkey forest -- the monkeys have become very aggressive.

    Eat at Cafe Wayan in Ubud. Gorgeous setting, great food.

    Buy a Kafka Kool Tie -- lowers your body temperature by about 10 degrees.

    Make sure there is a little room in your suitcase for fabulous souvenirs --batik, wood carvings, jewelry, artwork, and more. But don't buy any of the stuff made from turtle shell -- can't bring it back into the U.S.

    Have an amazing time.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #18 - July 7th, 2014, 1:45 pm
    Post #18 - July 7th, 2014, 1:45 pm Post #18 - July 7th, 2014, 1:45 pm
    It's a little strange for Bali; but one of the best Schnitzel's I've ever had was at Warung Schnitzel in Ubud.
    http://warungschnitzelubud.weebly.com/
  • Post #19 - July 7th, 2014, 10:11 pm
    Post #19 - July 7th, 2014, 10:11 pm Post #19 - July 7th, 2014, 10:11 pm
    Cynthia wrote:
    Buy a Kafka Kool Tie -- lowers your body temperature by about 10 degrees.


    I should probably be more specific -- buy the Kool Tie here before you go, especially since you have already expressed apprehension about the heat. Available at REI and online: http://kooltie.com/

    Additional (nonfood) tips. Directions are not given as north, south, east, and west, but rather as toward the mountain or toward the sea. Never say "maybe" when you mean "no," because in Bali, "maybe" means "yes," and you can have drivers and vendors show up at your hotel, expecting to do business. Oh -- and "morning price" is a good thing to know about -- never bargain if you aren't interested in buying, but this is particularly true if you're the first customer of the day, because it's bad luck to let the first customer walk out without buying. This can work to your advantage, as they want the sale, and saying "morning price" is the equivalent of saying "bargain," but it can really crush someone if you just breeze out of the shop after they've offered a fair price.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #20 - July 8th, 2014, 9:05 am
    Post #20 - July 8th, 2014, 9:05 am Post #20 - July 8th, 2014, 9:05 am
    Cynthia wrote:
    Cynthia wrote:
    Buy a Kafka Kool Tie -- lowers your body temperature by about 10 degrees.


    I should probably be more specific -- buy the Kool Tie here before you go, especially since you have already expressed apprehension about the heat. Available at REI and online: http://kooltie.com/


    Cynthia, thanks. Great stuff. We've been careful (and exhaustive) in doing our research and will continue that way. I expressed apprehension about the temperature because site after site I've consulted have all pretty much agreed that the temp that time of year will average around 90 and the heat index will be in the mid-70s. If that's wrong and you think I'm being overly concerned, by all means let me know.

    Also, given all the various health recommendations we've been reading, I'd been planning on (lightweight) long pants and long sleeves instead of shorts and short sleeves. Malaria seems to be less a concern these days, but dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are noted in a number of places are worth taking quite seriously. We'll slather ourselves with sunscreen and repellent, but still....

    Besides, the food will be worth a little discomfort!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #21 - July 8th, 2014, 9:22 am
    Post #21 - July 8th, 2014, 9:22 am Post #21 - July 8th, 2014, 9:22 am
    either rent a car or hire a driver (cheap & well worth it) to see the island. If you need a suggestion for a driver, message me.

    If you are staying in the Nusa Dua area (which is the primary tourist spot), do yourself a favor & stay somewhere else on the island . We stayed at Alam Shanti for $70 per night http://www.alamindahbali.com/alam_shanti.htm The vibe of smaller places away from the large resorts of Nusa Dua is well worth the effort.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #22 - July 8th, 2014, 9:52 am
    Post #22 - July 8th, 2014, 9:52 am Post #22 - July 8th, 2014, 9:52 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:either rent a car or hire a driver (cheap & well worth it) to see the island. If you need a suggestion for a driver, message me.

    Actually, we're trying to be somewhat "scientific" and rank the places/sites we're interested in seeing. We've noticed that in addition to treks and tours that we're interested in, hiring a car and driver is astonishingly cheap--around $40 or $50 a day, including gas. Plus you can go exactly where you want, when you want. All in all, a terrific opportunity.

    Sweet Willie wrote:If you are staying in the Nusa Dua area (which is the primary tourist spot), do yourself a favor & stay somewhere else on the island.

    Gypsy Boy wrote:...and with the preface that we will be based in Ubud for a week....

    We did our research before booking and everything we found made it pretty clear that Ubud was the wisest place to stay (for us, anyway). Nusa Dua and Seminyak just aren't for us. I doubt we'll even spend any time down there. Thanks for the confirmation.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #23 - July 8th, 2014, 9:14 pm
    Post #23 - July 8th, 2014, 9:14 pm Post #23 - July 8th, 2014, 9:14 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:either rent a car or hire a driver (cheap & well worth it) to see the island. If you need a suggestion for a driver, message me.

    If you are staying in the Nusa Dua area (which is the primary tourist spot), do yourself a favor & stay somewhere else on the island . We stayed at Alam Shanti for $70 per night http://www.alamindahbali.com/alam_shanti.htm The vibe of smaller places away from the large resorts of Nusa Dua is well worth the effort.


    I'd recommend hiring a driver -- or a driver and a guide, since the driver stays with the car, so you can leave luggage or gear. You can arrange something through a travel agent or (somewhat less reliably) hire someone off the street (they're everywhere, usually making the international sign for driving, with the invisible steering wheel). Streets are not well sign-posted, plus if you run over someone's goat in a rural area, the results can be unpleasant.

    Plus hiring a driver is much cheaper than renting a car. They really want you to hire a driver -- as it's one less unemployed guy for that day.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #24 - July 8th, 2014, 9:26 pm
    Post #24 - July 8th, 2014, 9:26 pm Post #24 - July 8th, 2014, 9:26 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:We did our research before booking and everything we found made it pretty clear that Ubud was the wisest place to stay (for us, anyway). Nusa Dua and Seminyak just aren't for us. I doubt we'll even spend any time down there. Thanks for the confirmation.


    Ubud is the cultural center of Bali -- so good choice. A night in Kuta is also useful, as it's near the airport -- plus a lot of the arts are practiced in that area (like a Barong dance).
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #25 - January 3rd, 2018, 5:15 pm
    Post #25 - January 3rd, 2018, 5:15 pm Post #25 - January 3rd, 2018, 5:15 pm
    Anyone have info from Bali from the last 3.5 years? Thanks!
  • Post #26 - January 4th, 2018, 12:03 pm
    Post #26 - January 4th, 2018, 12:03 pm Post #26 - January 4th, 2018, 12:03 pm
    We were there in October 2014 for about two weeks. PM me; happy to help however I can.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 12:29 pm
    Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 12:29 pm Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 12:29 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:We were there in October 2014 for about two weeks. PM me; happy to help however I can.

    GB-

    I'm sure we'd all benefit from your experiences if you're willing to put up a quick post. ;-)
    -Mary
  • Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 5:44 pm
    Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 5:44 pm Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 5:44 pm
    You're absolutely correct. :oops:

    I'm working on it. ...course I been workin' on it since we returned...notwithstanding the computer company which shall remain nameless (but begins with Asus) that managed to lose over 800 pictures for me...

    I will, though. I will. It's been started several times; maybe I'll actually finish it now.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #29 - January 8th, 2018, 4:58 pm
    Post #29 - January 8th, 2018, 4:58 pm Post #29 - January 8th, 2018, 4:58 pm
    MarlaCollins'Husband wrote:Anyone have info from Bali from the last 3.5 years? Thanks!
    Personally no (sadly), a number of friends have stayed at the Alam properties last year (one of which is referenced upthread) and these properties are still excellent.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #30 - March 6th, 2018, 9:56 pm
    Post #30 - March 6th, 2018, 9:56 pm Post #30 - March 6th, 2018, 9:56 pm
    While the Singapore portion of my recent SE Asia trip was jam-packed with stellar food, the Bali portion was, well, not so much. But while Bali couldn't match Singapore (I think few places can), there were some definite culinary highlights.

    Image
    All of the fruits! February is rainy season in Bali and it's prime time for fruit. In my five days there, I polished off 6 kilos of mangosteen, a kilo+ of rambutan, an entire durian (eaten 30 feet from the tree it grew on), a kilo of sour passionfruit, the best bananas I've eaten, papaya, salak (aka snake fruit - tastes like pineapple), sweet passionfruit, local grapes (rare even within Bali), lengkeng (aka longan), wani fruit aka white mango, pineapple, and tamarillo (tastes like tomato). My stomach is strong.

    Image
    The best cooked food I had in Bali was something that only crossed my lips because I had an early morning flight out and because I checked out the Lonely Planet guide to Bali from my local library (suck it, internet!). The airport is in a town that doesn't get much internet coverage, food or otherwise. Steps from the airport, among a handful of food stalls and carts, is one that sells three things: fried bananas with cheese, fried bananas with chocolate, and fried bananas with cheese and chocolate. I splurged for both toppings, taking my price from about 54 cents to about 62 cents. I don't know of adjectives to concisely describe how good the banana flavor was in these things. Tree-ripened bananas are like an entirely different fruit from the bananas we have here and these are given the steroid injection of being perfectly fried in a crisp batter kind of like a light tempura (probably rice flour?). Throw in chocolate and a little umami from the grated cheese and you have a spectacular dessert that was big enough for 3 people to share but which I happily inhaled by myself.

    Image
    Lucky for me, a second top Bali dish came from the same small market as the bananas. A guy wearing flip flops was manning a long thin grill cooking sate kambing (mutton satay) over live charcoals. The well-seasoned chunks of marinated meat were perfectly cooked down to the little chewy charred bits and were then doused in a sweet, rich, slightly spicy sauce.

    Image
    Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, is probably Bali's most famous meal. I tried it at 3 places in Ubud. Up first was Ibu Oka, the place put on the international map by Bourdain. It might have been good years ago, but with three locations and a dumbing down of the spice for tourists, it's an easy pass. My second babi guling (pictured above) was close by at Gung Cung, which serves enough tourists that I was given a printed menu (with higher prices than what locals pay) and they double-checked to make sure I could handle spicy food. Everything about this plate was better, especially the glass-like crunchy piece of skin.

    Image
    While I would have been happy with Gung Cung being my top babi guling experience, I had time on my last day to take a ride on a scooter to Ibu Moris which, unlike the other two, was definitely not in the center of town and didn't have a printed menu. While not as aesthetically pleasing as Gung Cung and with a piece of skin not quite as crispy, this was definitely the big winner from my babi guling trio. The chili sauce was really spicy but the heat was secondary to the wonderful flavor. I believe the primary (if not only) chili used was one called cabai burung ungu. Someone should start growing it here. The succulent meat was delicious even without the added heat, but all together these were some glorious bites of food.

    Image
    The tipat blayah at Hujan Locale, a "street food inspired" relatively upscale restaurant in Ubud, had the kind of complexity I loved about various curries and sauces in Singapore. The principles were the same - sweet, spicy, loaded with an intoxicating medley of flavors that were mixed in with and smoothed out by coconut milk. This dish had smoked chicken, Balinese urap egg, and cirspy chicken skin and basa genep spices. Had to google the spices and found a recipe that helps explain the complexity. Presumably there are a ton of variations but the one I found has pepper, garlic, onion, chilies, sesame seeds, nutmeg, shrimp paste, candlenuts, coriander, galangal, and ginger. Sounds about right. Would drink a tall glass of the stuff.

    Some more food pics from my trip as well as a whole bunch of temples, monkeys and more can be seen here.

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