Bali, this volcanic Indonesian island’s cuisine, explodes with flavor! Compared to the food in most other parts of Indonesia, Balinese cuisine is super exceptional. It’s filled with intense signature spices and hot flavors. Also, unlike the majority of Indonesia, there are not many Muslims in Bali. So, cooking with pork’s perfectly acceptable (and pork stars in some of the most delicate Balinese dishes).
There is so much to eat in Bali, so many excellent restaurants that you’ll have to narrow your list down to the very best authentic foods and spots to enjoy them. That’s where our guide comes in!
We’ll highlight the best savory dishes, desserts, and drinks in traditional Balinese cuisine. We will also highlight Bali’s best areas for distinct cuisine components, like road food and veggie fare. You’ll think it’s all delicious! Well, be sure that you stay until the end because we’ve got a surprise for you at the end of the report!
Let us start with some savory dishes.
- Sate (Satay)
Sate, or smoky skewered meat, is super popular street food in Indonesia. You’ll find pork, beef, fish, poultry, and even turtle and rabbit versions. For a unique Balinese take, try Sate Lilit–ground meat mixed with Basa Gede and other spices, then grilled on a lemongrass stalk.
- Babi Guling
Babi Guling, or “turning pig,” or suckling pig roasted and turned over a fire, is the most famous Balinese dish. It used to be reserved for special events. Still, tourism has turned it into a restaurant dish, so now visitors to Bali can sink their teeth into it. When you haven’t had Babi Guling, you have never had a pig roast quite like it! The pig’s equally rubbed and stuffed with a blend of spices, usually the famed Basa Gede (spice paste of Balinese seeds and roots). Then, it is served with rice, beans, and crispy pork skin. It is mouthwateringly tender!
- Gado Gado
These for vegetarian food lovers! Gado Gado is a tempeh and tofu salad with mixed vegetables, plus an iconic peanut sauce. Sometimes, fish and eggs paste to make an appearance, but they do not need to. (Make sure the chef does not use the dried shrimp paste if you are vegetarian; also ask to skip the eggs if you are vegan). The title Gado Gado means “mix-mix” or “potpourri.” Hence, it is super fitting that the veggies vary depending on the chef and the season!
Now, it is time to please the duck and poultry lovers. To make Betutu, duck or chicken is stuffed with Basa Gede (or chiles and garlic), then slowly roasted in coconut tree bark or banana leaves. It’ll melt in your mouth! The duck version is known as Bebek Betutu, while the chicken version (shown above) is called Ayam Betutu. Better plan if you are going for the duck, however! The ideal Bebek Betutu has to be cooked in a pit for an entire day, so you may have to order in advance!
- Nasi Campur
Does that mean you cannot decide what to purchase? Opt for the Nasi Campur or mixed rice, and you’ll get a little bit of everything! You’ll get a scoop of rice, some veggies, and small portions of proteins such as chicken, fish, pork, tempeh, and tofu. At many restaurants, these proteins are chosen for you. Still, at some warungs (street food vendors), you’ll get to select your own Nasi Campur experience!
Ready to try all the foods above? To remember, vacation to Bali is more than just-food. It’s also about making long-lasting memories. Discover more about Bali and Indonesia by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.