Rugged shorelines, deadly volcanoes, magnificent mountain peaks, and a whole lot of frantic bargaining. Welcome to Bali, the Island of the Gods. Home to a multitude of digital nomads, this cultural hub offers an endless list of activities to partake in. From zooming through porthole-ridden alleyways in tiny scooters to witnessing the spectacular roar of ginormous waterfalls, Bali is truly a holiday destination you would be remiss to avoid.
Yet for all the amazing things that Bali has to offer, there lies one simply irresistible niche that will leave you coming back for more. Prepare yourselves for a scintillating journey as we take you through a tantalizing line-up of exotic Balinese cuisine.
Gado Gado Indonesian Salad – Credit: iStock.com/bonchan
Kicking off with an insanely delicious appetizer, we find ourselves peering intently at an array of vegetables, crackers, and mouth-watering dairy assortment – bathed in a delicious pool of savory-sweet peanut sauce. Interested? There’s more!
Directed translated as ‘Mix-Mix’, this rambunctious Balinese appetizer consists of an assortment of cabbage, beansprouts, spinach and French beans at its base. Alongside you will find crispy prawn/fish crackers, perfectly sliced boiled eggs and mouth-watering fried tofu one could truly die for. This dish is best served cold; though a select few prefer it warm. Either way, this is a dish you simply cannot pass up trying.
Babi Guling – credit: AgungWiguna/Shutterstock.com
Moving on to Bali’s arguably most famous dish, we present – ‘The Suckling Pig’. Vegetarians and spice-activists look away now!
The Babi Guling is a grueling dish to prepare. The better half of an hour is required to gut, stuff and marinate the pig in lemongrass, black pepper, turmeric, coriander seeds and a whole host of other herbs and spices. After this tedious margination process, the entire pig is hoisted onto a large metal spit to roast till its skin turns a reddish-golden shade of perfection.
Upon completion, the mouth-watering Babi Guling is either separated into smaller chunks or served whole with steamed rice and spicy long beans to boot. A single puncturing bite through outrageously tasty skin and into juicy, tender flesh will have you wondering why this heavenly roast wasn’t on your bucket list before.
Nasi Campur. Credit: iStock.com/Cn0ra.jpg
Next on the list is a dish of humble, yet remarkable stature. Popping up on signboards and menus across the island, Nasi Campur (mixed rice), is a local favorite to say the least.
This dish is an unending assortment of deliciously marinated vegetables, roasted meat, sliced boiled eggs and sambal (a type of darkened sweet and spicy chili-paste) – all nicely decorated in full circle around a bowl-sculptured mound of piping hot steamed rice.
The fun thing about Nasi Campur is that you can never be sure what these assortments will include. One thing for sure though, is that you are definitely in for a scintillating mix of flavorful treats.
Bebek Betutu – credit: Zeestudio/Shutterstock.com
On to our second meat-based main course. Here lies a double contender for most unique, as well as cutest sounding dish of Bali. The Bebek Betutu, simply put, is an irresistible variant of smoked duck.
Painstakingly marinated with a special basa gede mix (traditional Balinese spices), the entire duck is usually blanketed in betel nut bark before being sent off for a slow-roast over the dying embers of rice husks. If that doesn’t sound exotic enough, the preparation time of this delectable delight lasts for over 10 hours! Now that, is cooking dedication.
Served with steamed rice and assorted greens, this miraculous version of smoked duck melts in your mouth as the lingering flavors of lemongrass and ginger will continue to tease the intricacies of your taste buds.
Pisang Goreng – credit: OduaImages/Shutterstock.com
Our final stop brings us to an astoundingly simple, yet incredibly tasty delicacy. Known more as a ‘roasted desert’ of sorts, this little treat is truly a creation of the gods. In fact, you’d be surprised to find that its direct translation is simply ‘Fried Banana’!
The bananas used here are miniature in size. First coated in a special batter, these cute little bananas are fried to a crispy, heavenly perfection. Sinking one’s teeth into this delicacy will yield the all too familiar savory crunch, followed by a greeting of warm, sweet banana flesh. Served with honey on the side, flakes of coconut on the top, and accompanied by the occasional scoop of ice-cream, it is truly the perfect end to a fulfilling day’s adventure.
Gado, Gado Credit: iStock.com/bonchan
Nasi Campur. Credit: iStock.com/Cn0ra.jpg