One of the many aspects that makes Bali a sensational place to visit is the availability of cheap and tasty food. The most common type of eating establishment in Bali is the warung, the small local cafe type places that traditionally serve local food, but have adapted to accommodate foreign palletes.
•Roadside Balinese snack places:
Driving around you will come across many small locally operated warungs ranging from the most simple Balinese places, offering only longtong (compacted rolled rice) with bean spouts, ground peanuts, lime juice, salt and many hot chilis. This type of snack is served cold and you can find it all over the island at roadside places that are barely warungs. These type of places often look more like a disorganized local snack shop and only people who like super spicy food will enjoy it. The cost is likely to be only a few thousand rupiah.
The next step up are the Padang food places, also called rumah makan (house eat), originating from Sumatra. These Muslim run warungs never serve alcohol and often run 24 hours a day. You will be served a plate of nasi putih (white rice) and then asked to choose from the pyramids of food in the shop window. As often is the case, simple vegetable items are free, the valuable items being fish, meat, tofu, tempe and potato cakes (perkedel). A Padang style warung will add up the bill when you approach the cash register after eating, the staff often desperately trying to remember what you ate. One of the best is Pondok Duo located on upper Jl. Seminyak. A plate of food might be 12,000rp.
•Ayam bakar / ikan bakar:
One type of warung that Indonesians love and tourist should try is the ayam bakar / ikan bakar. These places offer grilled chicken and grilled fish and can be affordable as well as great places to socialize and eat. Your order will be taken and often there is a choice of tables and chairs, or Asian style low tables. Local always go for the cozy floor space over the more formal table and chairs. If you knees can take it, the low tables make for a more enjoyable group interaction. Ordering is really simple, you’ll have a choice of grilled of fried chicken (grilled is better as it comes doused in tasty dark brown sauce), fish, usually a snapper type fish butterfly cut open. To this you can add a plate of tofu, tempe and eggplant. The food is completed by steaming hot nasi putih (white rice) and lalapan (raw cabbage, green beans, mint leave and sliced cucumber). One of the most popular places is Plecing on Jl. Raya Tuban. You are looking at 25,000rp for 1 piece of chicken, rice, vegetable, rice and drink.
Another great one is located on Gang Plawa, across Jl. Seminyak from Jl. Dhyana Pura. You are looking at 15,000rp for 2 pieces of chicken, rice, vegetable, tempe, and tofu plate, plus drink.
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Javanese warungs (also called warung nasi campur) often advertise the fact that the cooking in is the style of Javanese food (masakan khas Jawa). You will line up, be asked if you prefer nasi putih (white rice) or nasi kuning (yellow rice), which are a slightly different price, because nasi kuning contians coconut milk and other spices. After that its ‘kid in a candy store’, the customer being able to choose from items in the display cabinet, which include a variety of animal parts and vegetables in some wonderful sauces. Pork is never on the menu at a Javanese warung. Javanese warungs are often run by Muslim people, but sometimes serve Bintang beer. Two great examples of Javanese warungs are Warung Nikmat behind Jl. Bakung Sari in Tuban and Warung Kolega on Jl. Petitenget in Kerobokan. Both places will serve you a heaping plate of your choice for around 15,000rp.
Tourist areas in Bali enjoy a wealth of warungs serving basic Indonesian fare including nasi goreng (fried rice) and gado gado (steamed vegetables, boiled potato, boiled egg and peanut sauce) along with a sprawling selection of simple international dishes ranging from burgers and sandwiches to steak and spaghetti. One of the most famous is Warung 96 on Jl. Benesari in Kuta. A burger might cost you 15,000rp.
•Warungs vs. restorans.
Many places call themsleves warungs for tax purposes. In Bali simply labelling your business a restoran means higher taxation. A good example of high end ‘warung‘ that is really a very popular restoran is Warung Made (Made’s Warung) in Seminyak. A main course might cost you 50,000rp and up.
•Are warungs safe to eat at?:
People who live in Bali eat at local warungs for a variety of reasons. They enjoy the food, like the staff, appreciate the time saving of not having to shop/cook and love the prices. People rarely get sick, although as always, take a moment to see which dishes are looking the best on a particular day.