Culinary Adventures: Food in Bali

I recently visited Bali, in Indonesia were I got my first taste of real Asian cooking, and I loved it.

I love food. I normally have the appetite of a baby bear, and could happily graze all day. The thought of trying new foods, and at insanely cheap prices in South East Asia, made my tummy rumble.
I tried to eat as many different local dishes as possible, but I did have some favourites.
Breakfast

From what I gather, an Indonesian breakfast can vary. No cereal or toast for the locals here, some will have fried noodles or rice with an egg on top, with Bali coffee, and fresh fruit. I had this once.

I remember when flying from, South Korea, back to London last year, and seeing a lot of Asian people queuing up for noodles and rice at 9am, and thinking ‘why would you want rice at 9am’ but it actually works.

Bubur Ayam (chicken Congee) – Another favourite, though not always consumed for breakfast is Indonesian porridge. This is a thick rice type meal – a savoury dish with chicken, this comes with condiments such as soy sauce, chilli and onion, and served with crackers on top. It was strangely delicious, and very filling.

Bubur Ayam (chicken Congee) for breakfast in Bali
Bubur Ayam (chicken Congee) for breakfast in Bali

Pancakes – when I stayed in accommodation offering breakfast, I always got given Pancakes (Crepes), with banana or chocolate. I had this during my hike up Mt Batur also. I’m unsure if Balinese people eat pancakes like this, or whether this was just made for the Westerners.

The humble Crêpe pancake, served in many places I stayed, often with banana
The humble Crêpe pancake, served in many places I stayed, often with banana

Lunch/Dinner I often had a combined Lunch/dinner later on in the afternoon, and drank water or had fruit/biscuits to snack on until then.
Street food in Bali consists of Satay chicken, and corn mainly. You can pick these up for as 10,000 Rupiah.
Two of my favourite dishes were:
Nasi Goreng –Essentially chicken fried rice, but with loads of vegetables. Served with crackers or an egg on top (this is not just local to Bali or Indonesia, but served in many places in SE Asia.

An upmarket version of Nasi Goreng, in Ubud, Bali. I paid $5 for this but on the street it sells for about $1-2
An upmarket version of Nasi Goreng, in Ubud, Bali. I paid $5 for this but on the street it sells for about $1-2

Pepes Ayam – Pepes is the name given to the cooking method in this dish. You can also have Pepes Ikan (fish), but I don’t do seafood, so stuck with the chicken. The chicken is cooked in Balinese spices, wrapped in a banana leaf, and steamed. It is then served with rice.

Peeps Ayam, eaten in a café overlooking a rice field in Ubud, Bali
Peeps Ayam, eaten in a café overlooking a rice field in Ubud, Bali

Dessert

I didn’t encounter many Balinese desserts, apart from Dadar Gulung, the traditional coconut pancake, made with coconut flour and filling. This is extremely sweet. Dadar is translated as pancake, and gulung as ‘to roll.’

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Dadur Gulung, a sweet coconut pancake, in Bali, Indonesia

 

I am looking forward to trying more Asian cooking as the weeks go on, but I’m not sure my waistline will thank me for it. Food here is delicious, but full of MSG and made with lots of oil.

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