Clueless about what to chow down on when in Bali? We’ve got Babi Guiling, Tum Bali, and of course, no food guide is complete without dessert… Presenting Laklak! Read up on our introductory guide to iconic Balinese dishes, as well as the best places to find them!
Known for its lush nature and water sports activities, Bali is a popular destination choice for those seeking serenity and a peaceful retreat. The island’s emphasis on natural elements and its rich cultural heritage are sure to bring about excitement and colour to any Bali trip. We get that it may be daunting when choosing the type of food that would suit your tastebuds due to the island’s extensive assortment of dishes and rich traditional cuisine. But don’t worry because we’ve got you covered in this guide to Balinese cuisine!
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1. Babi Guling
Image credits: Kaum Inc
When it comes to traditional Balinese dishes, the Babi Guling is a must-try treat that you shouldn’t miss out on. Roughly translating to “rolling pork”, the dish used to only be served during celebrations and religious ceremonies but has since become a staple food for both the Balinese locals and tourists.
It’s prepared by first marinating a whole pig with aromatic traditional spices and vegetables before slowly spit-roasting the pig over a charcoal fire. This ultimately gives you the finished product of crispy brown skin and tender succulent meat.
We Recommend: Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3
Opening Hours: Daily, 11 AM – 6 PM
Address: Jl. Tegal Sari No.2, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3 for good Babi Guling!
2. Sate (Satay)
Image credits: detikFood
Owing to its versatility in cooking methods and numerous variations, most South-East Asians would be relatively familiar with the next item on our list — Satay or as the Balinese call it, Sate. No matter the origin, most variants of Sate usually involve the grilling of marinated skewered meat over a flame before serving it with a dipping sauce unique to the taste of the locals. Balinese Sate is no exception to this but incorporates its own twist to spice up the dish. Though several varieties of Sate can be found in Bali, the two varieties that we highly recommend are Sate Lilit and Sate Pentul.
Unlike the conventionally used chunks or cubed meat, Sate Lilit is made by wrapping sticks with minced meat. It’s then mixed with marinating rich spices and coconut milk before being grilled over a fire. This process ensures that all the flavours of the marinate are sealed within the juicy interior, enabling the Sate to be enjoyed even without the need for a dipping sauce.
Similar to Sate Lilit, Sate Pentul also makes use of the concept of wrapping minced meat around a stick but replaces the commonly used bamboo or wooden sticks with rolled-up lemongrass. This infuses an additional aroma during grilling and introduces a new element of flavour to the already fragrant meat.
We Recommend: Gourmet Sate House
Opening Hours: Daily, 11.30 AM – 11 PM,
Address: Jl. Dewi Sri No.101, Legian, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Gourmet Sate House for Sate
3. Nasi Campur
Image credits: Trevallog
A dish that can often be found in warungs (small informal eateries) all throughout Bali, Nasi Campur roughly translates to “mixed rice” and can provide different experiences depending on where and what variety you consume. The dish usually features rice with small portions of meat varieties, tofu, tempeh (flat tofu-like pieces made from fermented soybeans), and urab (a type of local vegetable salad).
Often paired with the earlier mentioned, Babi Guling and Sate, nothing is more simple yet fulfilling than this customizable meal. No wonder it’s a hot favourite amongst the locals!
We Recommend: Nook
Opening Hours: Mondays to Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays, 8 AM – 11 PM. Thursdays, 10 AM – 11 PM. Sundays, 8 AM – 9 PM.
Address: Jl. Umalas 1 No.3, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Nook for the best Nasi Campur
4. Ayam Betutu
Image credits: Pikiran Rakyat Media Network
Originating from Gilimanuk, Bali’s harbour city, Ayam Betutu is a traditional dish of slow-cooked chicken that appeals to the Muslim population of Bali who doesn’t consume pork. This iconic dish is prepared by wrapping a whole chicken that has been stuffed with a blend of spices in banana leaves before baking the whole package in a charcoal fire for six to seven hours.
The mouth-watering fragrance of the Ayam Betutu wafts out from the package after the long cooking process resulting in flavourful meat so tender that it almost slips off the bones!
We Recommend: Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk Stall
Opening Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 10 PM
Address: Jl. Raya Tuban No.2X, Tuban, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk Stall for some Ayam Betutu
5. Tum Bali
Image credits: IDN Times
Another dish that heavily features the use of banana leaves is the Tum Bali, or simply Tum. However, unlike the Ayam Betutu which is baked in fire, the Tum is prepared by steaming.
In this dish, minced chicken, beef, or sometimes pork is mixed thoroughly with shrimp paste as well as herbs and spices like garlic, chillis, shallots, and lemongrass to create a rich blend of flavours that seep from its savoury juices. Being compact in a wrapped banana leaf, this dish is a popular take-out option which has made it a staple among many Balinese households.
We Recommend: Warung Dandelion
Opening Hours: Daily, 2 PM – 10 PM
Address: Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.10, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Warung Dandelion for Tum Bali
6. Bubur Mengguh
Image credits: KSM Tour
The next dish on our list is the Babur Mengguh. Originating in Buleleng, this rice porridge dish is often consumed for breakfast due to its savoury yet refreshing taste. The porridge itself is often simmered in coconut oil, bay leaves, and garnished with shallots, garlic, chilli pepper, and roasted peanuts.
You can often find street vendors and warungs serving this dish paired with some Urab in the early morning. But some restaurants serve it throughout the day as it is an important traditional meal for the Balinese people.
We Recommend: Warung Makan Nikmat
Opening Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 9 PM
Address: Jl. Bakung Sari, Gg. Biduri No.6A, Kuta, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Warung Makan Nikmat for some Babur Megguh
Image credits: Palm Living
And what is a food introductory guide without some desserts? These bite-sized cakes topped with shredded coconut and drizzled in melted brown sugar are a tradition in Bali. Made out of rice flour and found in street markets all across the island, the Laklak is often found in two colours — green and white.
The green pigment comes from the suji and pandan leaf water, presenting a fragrant aroma that makes them that much more inviting. The smooth texture and savoury flavour of the cakes coupled with the contrastingly sweet coconut topping make these desserts to die for. Try it for yourself!
We Recommend: Laklak Bali “Laku 168”
Opening Hours: Daily, 7 AM – 5 PM
Address: Jl. Tukad Sanghyang No.7, Panjer, Denpasar Sel., Kota Denpasar, Bali, Dauh Puri Klod, Kec. Denpasar Bar., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80224
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Laklak Bali “Laku 168” for some Laklak
8. Batun Bedil
Image credits: PT Garuda Nyala Fajar Indonesia
Ending off this list with yet another dessert, the Batun Bedil is a departure from the often savoury or spicy traditional Balinese dishes. But this sweet soup containing chewy tapioca balls is not unlike any Chinese Tang Yuan you’ve ever tasted. What sets it apart is its chewy disc-shaped balls as well as the additional topping of shredded coconut.
The soup component of the dish is made by boiling coconut milk, brown sugar, and pandan leaves in a pan before adding water and rice flour to the mixture. While the chewy consistency of the balls is achieved by mixing tapioca with sticky rice flour, creating a dish that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
We Recommend: Bumbu Bali Restaurant & Cooking School
Opening Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 9 PM
Address: Jl. Pratama, Tanjung, Benoa, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80363
An Intro To Balinese Cuisine 2023: Head to Bumbu Bali Restaurant & Cooking School for Batun Bedil
Time To Stuff Your Bellies In Bali!
Image credits: Lori Sorrentino, Travelinmad
Now that you’ve got a Bali food guide locked and loaded, you’re ready to start checking items off your foodie list! And when you’re paying for those mouthwatering Bali dishes, don’t forget to use your YouTrip Card to lock in our ever-reliable wholesale exchange rates!
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Stay safe and happy eating!
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