Our Top 10 Balinese Meals│Balinese cuisine utilizes an incredible variety of spices, blended with fresh vegetables, meat and fish. Although part of Indonesian cuisine, it also boasts influences from Chinese and Indian cuisines. Rice is almost always consumed as a staple. Pork, chicken, fruit, vegetables and seafood are widely used, however just like most of Hindus, beef is never or rarely consumed. Below is a list of our favorite meals enjoyed on the volcanic island of Bali. Just to clarify, a couple of these meals are NOT Balinese meals, but they were cooked in Bali, and came with a “Balinese touch” to them, so they are getting clumped in with the rest!
Here are our favorite meals from our time on the island of Bali:
Nasi Goreng is the popular Indonesian fried rice which is traditionally served with a fried egg. The dark brown colour from the sauce distinguishes it from other popular Asian fried rice dishes. Anyone who has been to Bali would be familiar with Nasi Goreng and probably had it almost every day because it’s everywhere and it is delicious!
This Vegetarian Lasagne from the Bali Buda Cafe, was amazing. It came served on a banana leaf, and instead of ground beef they used spinach and sesame leaves as the meat alternative. Even my meat-loving Texan husband LOVED this dish. Although I am sure we could make this at home, there was something amazing about this Balinese version!
Balinese Roasted Chicken. We had this meal at a restaurant in Ubud, and unfortunately I don’t remember the exact name. I do, however, distinctly recall that we absolutely fell in love with the marinate that they used on the chicken. On the side was a small bowl of the marinate, rice, and a salad, consisting of cabbage, carrots, ginger, and coconut.
Nasi campur (“mixed rice”) refers to a scoop of nasi (rice) accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, which includes meats, vegetables, peanuts, tofu, beans, eggs and fried-shrimp. Depending where it originates, a nasi campur vendor might served several side dishes, including vegetables, fish and meats. The above version was somewhat different to those that we found on the street. Firstly, they used purple rice, and secondly, this was a vegetarian option. It was unbelievably tasty, and definitely one of our top three meals. This particular dish was also from Bali Buda Cafe.
Breakfast buffet everyday! We are very easy to please when it comes to breakfast. Fortunately so, because our guest house served a very simple breakfast each morning. Eggs, pancakes, freshly baked buns, and fruit. And of course, there was also the bottomless Bali coffee!
Mie goreng (“fried noodles”) is a flavorful and spicy fried noodle dish common in Indonesia. It is made with thin yellow noodles fried in cooking oil with garlic, onion or shallots, fried prawn, chicken, pork, beef, or sliced bakso (meatballs), chili, Chinese cabbage, cabbages, tomatoes, egg, and other vegetables. It can be found everywhere in the country, sold by all food vendors from street-hawkers, warungs, to high-end restaurants.
The dish pictured above was not spicy and it was prepared with yellow noodles. The dish below was similar, but it was spicier and made with a flatter white noodle. This one closely resembled the noodles use for Thailand’s infamous Pad Thai. The off-white “chips” that you see below (and white the Nasi Goreng) are a type of crunchy prawn chip. Elijah – and mommy – both loved those!
Even comfort food, like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, somehow taste different when they come served on a banana leaf. Again, all credit goes to the magnificent Buda Bali Cafe. They had the most amazing menu! And since we often didn’t feel like leaving the comforts of the couches next to our villa pool, we were thrilled that this cafe was willing to deliver our meals!
This was a traditional Balinese Local Meal, which we enjoyed at a local’s home, after a biking adventure. Sate Lilit, on the left, is a satay made from minced pork, fish, or chicken, which is then mixed with grated coconut, thick coconut milk, lemon juice, shallots, and pepper. The spiced minced meat is wound around bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass sticks, it is then grilled on charcoal. Top left, these thick triangles of dried tofu are served, in a variety of forms, in many Balinese dishes. Top right, peanut triangles – we don’t know the name of them – were a nice addiction to the meal. They were savory-tasting, firm but not hard, and made of nuts. There were lots of fresh vegetables on the table. The bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, and green beans were really tasty mixed with the peanut and spicy sauces that were also provided.
The above meal, Balinese Tapas, was made up of a number of small portions of traditional, and some more creative, Balinese meals. We sat at a rustic wooden table, enjoying a few rounds of these dishes, while sipping on Bintangs and people-watching. I wish I could tell you what each of these mini-banana leaf bowls contained, but hey… the beer was flowing, and we didn’t take notes. Oh well, you” lave to just get your butt to Ubud, Indonesia and check out this awesome little spot!