There are several memories you will bring back from a visit to Bali — the sights of the varied and stunning terrain, the smiles of the warm and welcoming people, and the sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline. One thing you may not anticipate is the distinctive and exciting cuisine. There are several fascinating Balinese foods you should try during your stay. Here are the top 5:
#1. Gado Gado
This is a uniquely Indonesian dish which is essentially a vegetable mixture covered in a peanut sauce. This is an incredibly common menu item from hawkers or stalls on the side of the road. While you can try this meal in Indonesian restaurants around the world, it is unique in Bali for its plethora of sauce. Not just a light dressing, the sauce covers and coats each single ingredient. The sauce is so common, in fact, that you can buy blocks of the paste in grocery stores and simply add hot water to make. Purchase a block as a souvenir to create your own Gado Gado when you return home!
#2. Godoh Gedang
You may not be able to tell what Godoh Gedang is until you take a bite. After that first taste, however, it’s impossible not to know that you’re eating a delicious fried banana. It is a very common snack sold by food vendors in Bali, as well as other Indonesian and Singaporean locations. This battered and then fried banana was introduced to the area in the 16th century by the Portuguese, and it has caught on to become almost a national dish. Try it covered with cinnamon sugar or fresh cream for a filling and sweet afternoon snack.
Although you might not ever even consume this fruit while you are in Bali, you will most certainly smell it. Known as the “king of fruits,” durian has a powerful odour that is most often described by visitors as highly unpleasant. However, locals consider it a delicacy, and the potent fruit has been said to have a nutty or custardy flavour. Bali holiday packages that include local day tours often include a fresh market stop where you can purchase the fruit. Try it if you dare!
#4. Bubuh Injin
This is a traditional dessert from Bali, and is a rice porridge. What make it different from Western rice porridges is that it is made from a local black rice. Coconut milk is also a major ingredient, making the entire dish incredibly rich and creamy. This is certainly the most popular dessert dish among visitors to Bali, and if you have a sweet tooth you absolutely must try it.
#5. Suckling Pig
This is a must-try food for every visitor to Bali. Many tourist restaurants and hotels will offer a special night complete with a roasted suckling pig, but for a true Balinese experience try it in a local restaurant instead (and save quite a bit of money, while you’re at it). The pig roasts on a spit for around 5 hours, and then in carried into the restaurant. Act quickly, because it may be gone within the hour–locals flock to the best places to fill up early!
What’s your favorite Indonesian food?
Photo by: Kazue Asano