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Beautiful food presentation in Ubud, Bali.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Indonesia > Bali

Bali Restaurants & Eating

  
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Bali has a huge variety of cafes and restaurants, serving both Indonesian and international food. For better or worse, some American chains have established a presence here, although almost exclusively confined to the southern tourist areas. You will see KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Interestingly, the menus are often highly adapted to the local tastes. The menu at Pizza Hut looks nothing like one you find in the U.S.

Try the smaller local restaurants rather than touristy ones; the food is better and cheaper. Be sure to try the ubiquitous Indonesian dishes nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi campur (pronounced n-ah-si ch-ahm-poo-r, steamed rice with various vegetables and meats), and mie goreng (fried noodles). These dishes should rarely cost more than Rp 25,000 and are often considerably cheaper.

Some of the most authentic food can be found from roving vendors called kaki lima, which literally means "five legs". This comprises the three legs of the food cart and the vendor's own two legs. Go to the beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak at sunset and find steaming hot bakso(pronounced ba-so), a delightful meatball and noodle soup, served up fresh for a very inexpensive Rp 5,000. You can season it yourself but be forewarned: Indonesian spices can be ferociously hot. Go easy until you find your heat tolerance level!

Padang restaurants are a good choice for both the budget-conscious and those visitors wishing to experience authentic Indonesian (but not Balinese) cuisine. These are usually marked with a prominent masakan padang sign and serve food from Padang, Sumatra. The options are usually stacked on plates in the window, you choose what you want and it is served with steamed rice. The most famous Padang speciality is rendang sapi (spicy beef coconut curry) but there are always a number of chicken, fish, egg and vegetable options. Padang food is always halal and you will eat well for Rp 15,000-20,000.

Balinese food

Actual Balinese food is common on the island but it has made few inroads in the rest of the country due to its emphasis on pork, which is anathema to the largely Muslim population in the rest of the country. Notable dishes include:

Babi guling

Roast suckling pig. A large ceremonial dish served with rice that is usually ordered several days in advance, but also often available at night market stalls and selected restaurants. A very notable outlet for babi guling is Ibu Oka's in Ubud.

Bebek betutu

Literally "darkened duck", topped with a herb paste and roasted in banana leaves over charcoal. The same method can also be used for chicken, resulting in ayam betutu.

Lawar

Covers a range of Balinese salads, usually involving thinly chopped vegetables, minced meat, coconut and spices. Traditionally, blood is mixed into this dish but it is often omitted for the more delicate constitutions of visitors. Green beans and chicken are a particularly common combination.

Sate lilit

Minced seafood satay, served wrapped around a twig of lemongrass.

Urutan

Balinese spicy sausage, made from pork.

Other local Balinese specialities

  • Grilled chicken with sliced shallots, chillies and lime (ayam panggang bumbu bawang mentah)
  • Grilled chicken with red chili and shrimp paste sauce (ayam panggang bumbu merah)
  • Steamed chicken cooked with Balinese herbs and spices (ayam tutu)
  • Sliced chicken mixed with herbs and spices and steamed in banana Leaves (tum ayam/ketopot)
  • Grilled snapper in local hot spices (ikan kakap bakar bumbu terasi)
  • Salted dry fish (sudang lepet)
  • Sliced fish mixed with herbs and spices grilled and served in a banana leaf (pepes ikan laut)
  • Water convolvus with shrimp paste and lime (pelecing kangkung)
  • Fern tips with shrimp paste and lime (pelecing paku)

Dietary restrictions

Unlike Indian Hindus, virtually all Balinese eat meat, and vegetarianism has traditionally been limited to part-time fasts for some priests. It's thus best to assume that all local food is non-vegetarian unless assurances are given to the contrary. In particular, the Indonesian spice paste sambal is a hot paste of ground red chillies, spices and usually shrimp paste. Always check to see if the sambal being served to you contains shrimp paste—you can find it without at a few places. Additionally, kerupuk crackers with a spongy appearance contain shrimp or fish. Instead, ask for emping which is a delicious cracker made from a bean paste and is totally meat free—it resembles a fried potato chip in appearance. However, restaurants catering to tourists do nearly always provide some vegetarian options, and in places like Seminyak and Ubud there are even dedicated vegetarian restaurants.

Halal eateries catering to the Muslim minority exist, but may require a little searching for and tend to be downmarket. Padang restaurants (mentioned above) are a good option. Kosher food is virtually unknown.

Budget

A meal in a basic tourist-oriented restaurant will be around Rp 20,000-50,000 per person. In a local restoran or warung the same meal might be about Rp 15,000 or less. Simple warungs sell nasi bungkus (a pyramid shaped paper-wrapped parcel of about 400gm of rice with several tasty extras) for as little as Rp 3,000-5,000. One very reliable option is nasi campur (rice with several options, chosen by the purchaser) for about Rp 10,000-15,000. Note that rice is often served at ambient temperature with the accompanying food much hotter - it is the Indonesian way.

At the other end of the scale, Bali is home to number of truly world-class fine-dining restaurants. Seminyak is home to many of the trendy independent options, and elsewhere on the island, the better five-star resorts have their own very high quality in-house restaurants with prices to match.

Restaurants in Bali

Fusion Kayu Manis
Kayu Manis is the hidden gem of Sanur. It's a little home stay with cheap rooms that has a restaurant at the front with only a few tables. The chef has worked in big hotels before and with his team in the kitchen, they produce original and fine food. Try the Bal... more
 1 Fans, Mid Range, US$ 10-12 per person, in Sanur
Chinese Atoom Bara
Chinese restaurant specialising in seafood. It appears unimpressive but the food is fantastic.
in Denpasar
 
Local Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suharti
Extremely famous fried chicken cooked with an old family recipe from Java. A bit out of the way but definitely worth the effort in getting there.
in Denpasar
Local Ayam Taliwang
A restaurant noted for the Lombok speciality of Ayam Taliwang (grilled or fried young chicken). Spicy and delicious.
in Denpasar
 
Bakery Bali Bakery
Long established bakery and bistro/cafe. Very good quality bread, pastries and cakes produced fresh every day. Large lunch and dinner menu which includes local favourites and some well chosen international dishes.
in Denpasar
Indonesian Cianjur
Named after a town in West Java, its dishes are influenced by Sundanese cuisine. A little out of the city centre in the suburb of Renon. The grilled and sour-sweet Ikan Gurame is especially recommended.
in Denpasar
 
Local Kak Man
This place is an absolute institution. Truly excellent Balinese food including bebek betutu (smoked duck).
in Denpasar
Indonesian Kereneng Night Market
This market starts up at sunset eveyday and is open until dawn. All manner of Indonesian food served from dozens of stalls. It is rough and ready, but the food is excellent and 100% authentic.
in Denpasar
 
Indonesian Warung Nasi Bali
Excellent local food at very good prices. Highly recommended for a real tate of Indonesia in a very authentic environment.
in Denpasar
Indonesian Warung Wardani
Excellent Indonesian cuisine. Look no further than the Nasi Campur (rice with various spicy side dishes) which is what everyone comes here to eat.
in Denpasar
 
These are just 10 of 144 Restaurants in Bali. Show more.




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