As a foodie, one reason for traveling is to try cuisines all around the world. My first food travel for 2020 was in Bali, Indonesia. After that experience, I can say that Bali is a food paradise! First, there were different foods I had no idea about. Second, each food I ate did wonders in my tastebuds. I haven’t stopped thinking of Bali’s cuisine since.Fellow foodies, here are the 20 best foods in Bali you should try.
20. Babi Guling
This is a dish that mixes all parts of the pig – pork skin, pork blood sausage, pork meat, and other obscure pieces. I admit I was a bit nervous to try it. But once I bit into it, the crunchy skin, the tender meat, and the mixture of all the spices changed my mind right away. It was one of the most mouthwatering dishes I have tried.
19. Bebek Bengil
This is another of my favorite Balinese dishes. I love my crispy-on-the-outside tender-on-the-inside dishes. And the Bebek Bengil did not disappoint. What I love about it is that it comes in big servings – half a duck! You can enhance the flavor if you eat it with rice or mashed potatoes. I tried eating it with both and it was so tasty.
18. Nasi Goreng
Nasi goreng translates as “fried rice”. And that is exactly what it is. I noticed that the Balinese offer this dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can find it in street stalls or fancy restaurants. It’s so popular because rice is grown all year round in Bali. The thing that caught my attention was that, no matter what was in the rice, it tasted splendid. I tried Nasi Goreng with plain rice and Nasi Goreng garnished with eggs and spices. Each mouthful was a delight despite the ingredients.
See also: Things to Do in Bali
17. Mie Goreng
This dish is like Nasi Goreng. The only difference is that instead of rice, Mie Goreng comes with noodles.
At first glance, Bali sate looks like your common barbecue on a stick. It might use the same cooking techniques, but the ingredients and taste are a new experience. It’s made from mashed chicken blended in with grated coconut and Bali spices. After that, it’s melded onto lemongrass sticks and barbecued. You can choose to eat this dish with two sauces – the sweet peanut sauce or the fresh shrimp paste. The fresh shrimp paste has coconut milk and other spices mixed in. I can’t describe the taste but it left me looking for more during my stay there.
15. Nasi Campur
This is one of the most fun dishes I’ve tried in Bali. It’s a rice dish mixed with different vegetables and meats. It is a fun dish because there are no “right” ingredients. Anyone can put any combination of flavors. This makes it never the same twice. In my time here in Bali, I haven’t tasted a Nasi Campur that had the same taste, flavor, ingredients. You never know what to expect with this dish.
For all the vegetarians out there, Gado-Gado is your Bali dish to enjoy. I’m not keen on vegetable salads, but this was unlike anything I ever had. The vegetables – usually boiled beans, spinach, potato, corn, bean sprouts, and cucumber – bathe in peanut sauce. Some Gado-Gado dishes include eggs, tofu, and tempeh. A delicious and healthy meal to try.
This dish is an accompaniment for another dish, like the Babi Guling. But you can also eat it alone. The dish is a mixture of vegetables, grated coconut meat, minced meat, herbs and spices, and fresh blood. Don’t feel put off by the fresh blood. I know I was when I heard the ingredients. To my surprise, the fresh blood added great flavor, freshness, and texture. It’s strange saying that, but it did.
12. Bebek Betutu
This is a unique duck dish served in Bali. It’s so unique because you have to order it one day in advance. It needs at least 12 hours of cooking time. Tamarind puree and salt purify and tenderize the duck meat. After marination, the stuffings go in- eggs, cassava leaves, and a specific spice mix. Then, they wrap the duck in betel nut husks or banana leaves. The slow cook process is long due to waiting until the meat falls off the bones. This dish is worth the wait though!
11. Ikan Bakar
Though not an authentic Balinese dish, it’s still enjoyed all around. Ikan Bakar is perfect for seafood lovers. To me, it looked like any other grilled fish. But when I bit into it, my tastebuds went through a roller coaster of deliciousness. The sauce was unlike anything I ever tasted before. It had many chilies that brought a spicy kick. But there were enough tomatoes and other fresh ingredients that balanced the spice out. If you want to try a new seafood dish, then try Bali’s Ikan Bakar.
Bakso means meatballs. These Balinese meatballs go with hot broth, noodles, and fried dumplings. The perfect dish for those craving soup.
9. Mini Rijsttafel
If you travel to Bali with a group, then try the Mini Rijsttafel. It’s perfect for big groups because it’s a shared meal. The Mini Rijsttafel contains a mixed selection of all the Bali delicacies. You choose from chicken and pork Sate to Bebek Betutu and lots more. All the dishes come in one big plate or banana leaf. This is then brought to your table and everyone can dig in. It might not be your usual eating style, but everyone eats in one plate when it comes to Mini Rijsttafel.
8. Pisang Goreng
Let’s talk about Bali desserts now! I asked around what dessert I had to try and a lot of people said “Pisang Goreng.” I now know why this was the most suggested dessert. It is a banana deep-fried in batter. It might sound simple, but the taste is far from simple. Since there are no specific banana types to use, this dessert dish can taste different all the time. It also comes with honey, palm syrup, flaked coconut, and vanilla ice cream! Whether it’s served with sides or plain, it has a sweetness that will please any sweet tooth.
7. Bubur Sumsum
Another must-try dessert! It is a sweet and salty coconut rice porridge. It’s served with palm sugar syrup and sweet potato dumplings (Biji Salak). I learned that it works wonders for a queasy stomach. But queasy stomach or not, it tastes delicious!
This dessert is very attractive with its green color. I was so excited to try it because I love chewy and gooey desserts. It did not disappoint in its chewiness and gooeyness! What surprised me was the sweet caramelized coconut sugar in the center. My mouth is watering thinking about it.
Like Klepon, Laklak is also colored green. This is because of the suji leaf used. People refer to Laklak as the “pancake of Bali”. It’s most delicious when steaming hot. Add in the coldness of ice cream and you get a hot and cold dessert you never thought you needed.
4. Bubur Injin
Bubur Injin is a Balinese black pudding. It’s considered an in-between snack more than a dessert. The taste is so unique because it’s boiled with pandan leaves. The sweet, sticky snack is best topped with fruits like bananas, jackfruit, strawberries. For me, it was a new experience with my palate
3. Batun Bedil
Many Balinese desserts have glutinous rice, and Batun Bedil is no different. What caught my attention, though, was the plating of this dessert dish. It was bullet-shaped. And those bullets were floating in melted sugar sauce. There were also coconut gratings to top it off. The taste was delicious, as usual!
2. Rujak Bulung
This dessert is an Indonesian fruit salad. In Bali, Rujak Bulung is both sweet and savory. Instead of using the traditional brown sugar and peanut sauce with the fruits, they use seafood products. Tuna and even fresh seaweed are iconic to their take on Rujak Bulung. I never thought that fruits and seafood could go well together. Not until I tried Balinese Rujak Bulung.
1. Kopi Luwak
I know this is not food, but the Balinese coffee is worth mentioning here. Expect Kopi Luwak to be more expensive because of the procedure. The coffee bean has to go through the digestive system of a civet. Yet, the coffee bean is still intact in the civet’s feces. This makes the coffee bean smooth, mild, and with a sweet aftertaste. I know it sounds gross. I thought so, too. But it was one of the best coffees I ever tasted, and that is saying a lot for me – a person that drinks a lot of coffee.
This is a list of the delicious foods I have tried in Bali. I hope that it’ll be a great help to you whenever you travel to Bali. There are so many delicious foods that Bali offers, you just need to give it a try. I tell you, it’s unlike anything you tasted – in a good and delicious way! I always encourage people to be adventurous with food. Especially foods that come from cuisines around the world. This will help you expand your palate.