The Island of the Gods might be home to some of the best restaurants in Indonesia, but frankly, you haven’t visited Bali until you’ve tried these some of the local Balinese food, which is famous as some of Indonesia’s best cuisine.
A famous traditional dish in Bali, Babi Guling used to be a dish found only at special festivals or occasions. However, its popularity among the locals and tourists has since made it an everyday dish you can find easily at warungs (small stalls) or restaurants. The dish consists of slices of suckling pig stuffed with spices and vegetables, which is cooked over a coal fire. The crispy skin, as well as its tender and juicy meat, is what makes this dish so popular amongst locals and tourists. For the best Babi Guling in Bali, see our feature here.
Sate and Sate Lilit
Sate, or more commonly spelled as satay, is barbecued, skewered meat. The meat – which includes pork, beef, goat, mutton, chicken, fish, turtle and also tofu – is marinated, skewered, and then grilled over a carefully watched-over coal fire. The cooked meat is then served with chunky peanut sauce. Comprising of minced meat mixed with coconut, coconut milk and a rich blend of vegetables and spices, Bali’s own version of sate is called sate lilit. Instead of being skewered with sticks, the meat is wrapped around bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass sticks and then grilled. Sate lilit can be enjoyed with or without sauce. You can usually find both sate and sate lilit at roadside stalls and restaurants.
Meaning “mixed rice”, nasi campur is another dish that you can find at many warungs and restaurants in this sunny island. This dish comes with steamed white rice (nasi putih), egg, one stick of satay, mixed vegetables, and different types of meat (duck, chicken, or pork). At some restaurants, you might get a bowl of soup to wash down your mixed rice meal. To add a little spiciness to the dish, there’ll be a side serving of sambal on the plate to eat with the rice and meat. Add that into your meal with care as the sambal is usually very spicy and a tiny portion will go a long way.
Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng
Nasi Goreng (fried rice) – steamed rice stir-fried with various meats and vegetables, sweet soy sauce, and chili sauce – and Mie Goreng (fried noodle) – the noodle version of nasi goreng – are practically the national dishes of Indonesia. Both dishes are usually plated with slices of tomato, cucumber and lettuce and fried shallots sprinkled on the top, and served with a side of krupuk (prawn crackers) and mixed pickles. Personally, we feel that this is an ideal dish for the undecided individual who doesn’t know what to eat!
Betutu is an iconic Balinese dish, where chicken or duck is steamed or roasted, and served on banana leaves. The meat is highly seasoned and spiced with a marinade of garlic, turmeric, shallots, ginger, lemongrass, chillies, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves, resulting in aromatic and flavoursome meat slices. Bali’s version of this dish is so popular that even domestic travellers within Indonesia would buy a few packets of Bebek or Ayam Betutu and bring it home as gifts.
What’s your favourite Balinese food? Let us know in the comments.
Top Image: Villa Semadhi Bali