While much of Balinese food resembles what you can find in the rest of Indonesia, what is most different is Bali is predominantly Hindu while the rest of Indonesia are Muslims. This has a large bearing on its cuisine, especially with more pork offerings rather than beef.
Balinese food is also influenced by indigenous cuisine and that of Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern which is really the best of all worlds. Here are some dishes you should not miss when eating in Bali:
Babi Guling: This is arguably the most famous food in Bali and a must try for all visitors. Babi Guling translates to “turning pig” because the whole pig is being hand turned on an open fire. This dish uses all parts of the pig and is a combination of crispy pork skin, pork roll, fried pork meat, pork skewers and pork blood sausage. It is often served with warm white rice, vegetable salad with coconut dressing and sambal (chilli paste). As Bali’s most iconic dish, most Babi Guling restaurants receive droves of tourists so be prepared for a crowd!
Nasi Campur: A staple for most locals, this literally means “ mixed rice”; rice mixed with an assortment of different dishes. Sample a selection of vegetables and meats by choosing what you’d like to eat along with rice and sambal. Don’t stop until your plate is filled with different colours and if you want a more authentic experience, eat this with your hand!
Bebek Bertutu: A dish unique to Bali, this smoked duck dish has a large following of fans and some swear they can’t leave Bali until they get a taste of this! The duck is rubbed with spices and wrapped in palm leaf before being roasted to perfection. There are variations to this duck dish and you can find it grilled or fried as well. It is then served with rice, sambal and vegetable salad as with most local dishes!
Nasi/Mie Goreng: A simple go-to dish of fried rice or noodles, you can find this in most local stalls. The variation comes in the different meat or vegetables in your rice or noodles, and most often served with a crispy fried egg and shallots. Warning, this can be very addictive!
Sate: Sate means grilled skewered meat, and this is a popular street food in Bali. There are many types of sate, including chicken, pork, goat, beef and even rabbit meat. While skewered meat is a common street food in other parts of Southeast Asia, try the sate lilit ikan (fish satay) here in Bali. Minced fish with spices, wrapped around lemongrass and grilled over charcoal, this is definitely a must try food item in Bali!
Es Campur: Nothing beats ending a fiery meal with cool shaved ice, and es campur is absolutely amazing in Bali’s hot weather. It contains a large bowl of shaved ice with a myriad of toppings including peanuts, grass jelly, nata de coco and basil seeds, doused with sweet condensed milk and syrup. You can find this at roadside stalls and even fancy Balinese restaurants!
Besides the local dishes, there is so much more to food and drinks in Bali that you shouldn’t miss!
Coffee: The coffee scene in Bali is really vibrant, and you will find authentic Balinese coffee, Indonesian beans as well as Australian-style coffee all over Bali. Some of these cafes are very popular so be prepared for the wait!
Brunch food: Bali has become somewhat a second home for a lot of Australians, and many of them have also set up shop and opened some of the best brunch places here in Bali! You will find some very packed brunch spots serving delicious french toast, pancakes, big breakfast, acai bowls and the likes, but be sure to make a reservation or be prepared to wait!
Best to drink bottled water as the tap water is not safe for consumption.
Tipping is not compulsory as a 10% service charge will be added already anyway but anything extra is always appreciated!
Guests at Club Med Bali would be pleased to know that we offer cooking lessons that combine the best of Balinese cuisine if you’d like to learn how to whip up these amazing dishes. We also have two restaurants on site: The Agung and The Deck where you will get to sample these tasty flavours. What’s better, we recently introduced our Makan on Wheels food truck that will serve delicious local snacks all over the resort as well!