13 Jun Balinese food and its most popular dishes
People who are coming to Bali for the first time are very curious about traditional Balinese food. Someone thinks that there is not too much to eat, others can’t even choose anything among the whole variety and pick up something random or ask locals or expats what to eat. So we decided to help you with this food disorientation and made a list of the most popular dishes, that you can eat in warungs (local cafes). And yes, if after reading our review you will think that you are doomed to starvation, don’t worry, Bali is developed island and you will find thousands of cafes, bars and restaurants with plenty of different cuisines such as Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and so on.
Traditional Balinese food
Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng
Rice in Bali is the basis of most of local dishes. Can you imagine, that more than 90% of all the rice in the world is not only produced, but consumed in Asia, and among Asian countries Indonesia is on the second place. The chief dish made of rice is called Nasi Goreng or literally just fried rice . There are 3 main reasons why: first of all, it’s cheap, second it’s really delicious, and third it’s fast. To cook Nasi Goreng is not difficult at all: 1. Boil some rice; 2. Fry boiled rice on a special pan, adding spices, vegetables, chicken, pork or seafood on your choice. Very often Nasi Goreng comes with a fried egg on top and a few slices of tomato or cucumber. Will be even tastier to add some sweet soya sauce (aka kecap manis) that they have in every warung.
Mie Goreng is almost exactly the same, but rice replaced with mie, that means noodles. It’s same delicious, same popular and same fast to make. But just remember, if you are in Bali you definitely should try these two.
It’s a real Indonesian buffet lunch! The main constituents are of course white and yellow rice. But there is a lot of other Balinese food as well. For example, to rice you can add eggplants, string beans, and bean sprouts, mix of boiled vegetables, shrimps and different types of meat, like sweet sauce chicken, beef etc. In warungs with Nasi Campur you can find few types of tofu and boiled eggs, that were cooked in different sauces. Variety of Balinese food in Nasi Campur cafe is limited only by chef’s fantasy. Take as much as you want, because you will hardly spend even more than $5 USD.
Vegetable delight in a peanut sauce. Gado-gado consists of stewed vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, spinach, young corn, zucchini and beans), tofu, tempe and boiled eggs. If you like spicy food you can ask to add some chillies. The most important feature of gado-gado is a delicious peanut dressing. And at 99% places gado-gado comes with krupuk. Krupuk is local crackers, made of shrimps/fish and starch.
Probably you could think that Soto Ayam is just something like a chicken noodle soup. But it has its own features: they add rice noodles, that is thicker than regular, boiled egg, cabbage, celery and shallot. There are a lot of spices, that’s why this soup has such a yellow colour. Soto Ayam comes with boiled rice, lime and chilli, if you put all of above you will never forget this soup.
Sate one of the most typical Balinese food. It’s chicken, beef, pork or fish meat served on wood sticks. In some places you can order mix sate, for example, 2 sticks with chicken and 2 with beef. After it’s cooked on charcoal, it should be covered with peanut or spice sauce. You can buy sate on the streets, in local warungs, cafes or even in restaurants, because this Balinese food is super delicious.
Of course, being so close to the ocean and ignore seafood will be strange. The variety of seafood will satisfy and gourmet: shrimps, squids, crabs, octopuses, lobsters, all kinds of shellfishes and the richest choice of fish. Simple dishes you can have at small cafes, but for proper cooked better to go to tony restaurants. Of if you don’t like neither of simplicity or luxury, Jimbaran village will be perfect choice! First of all, it’s a fishing place, the biggest in Bali, so wherever you go 70% you will see fish from there on your plate. And point number two: there a lot of fish restaurants along all the coast.
Average price for dinner there is very different, but you always will be able to find something that suits your own budget. If you’re in a low budget just go to a fish market in Jimbaran. Despite of fish smell, this place is really authentic! More than, you can buy a tuna for $3 USD per kilo or a shark for $5 USD per kilo. If you don’t want to take your purchases home don’t hesitate to ask local people to cook it for you, they normally ask about $1,5-2 USD per kilo.
Hope now you know at least a little bit about Balinese food. But it is well said “you never know till you try”! Come to our surf camp and we will answer all your questions about this mysterious but still delicious Balinese food! Sea you!