Eating in Bali doesn’t need to be expensive, and can be super delicious as well, so I’ll run you through my top 10 Balinese dishes that will delight and treat your taste buds.
Perhaps you’re like I used to be, a bit of a conservative eater, tending to stick to what you know and what you like?
Perhaps you are a bit more adventurous and are happy eating pretty much anything?
Either way spreading your wings and trying the Balinese food, if you haven’t had the chance to do so already, is an experience that I guarantee you will never forget.
I took the plunge and started with what has now become my all-time favorite, nasi kuning, and now there’s simply no looking back for me.
Read on to see our list of top ten delicious Balinese dishes, have a think about what sounds good to you, and try it as soon as you get the chance!
Babi Guling – Roasted pork
My absolute favorite, and rightfully at the top of our list of the Top 10 Balinese dishes you really must try. As with a lot of Balinese dishes you get a whole mix of things.
Roasted pork, pork crackling (crispy skin), rice, peanuts, vegetables, pork sausage, sayay and the ever present sambal (spicy sauce / dip) which all compliment together to create a simply delicious and filling meal.
A great Babi Guling can be bought for around IDR 25,000 (about USD 1.70) and if eaten for lunch will fill you up for the whole day.
I mentioned that you often get a satay stick or two with Babi Guling, but why stop there?
There are street vendors all over who will cook up a bunch of sticks right there for you. Pork and chicken are the main choices, but you can also get fish satay, all of which are delicious.
Satay sellers also tend to sell a sort of sticky rice, and as always your meal is accompanied by a spicy sambal.
If you fancy a bit of an alternative to rice, then perhaps put your satay in a sandwich? It’s not very traditional, but it works a treat.
Nasi goreng – fried rice
Talking of rice, an absolute must try is Nasi goreng, or fried rice. You can find this in every restaurant in Bali, and also as a street food option as well.
Cooked in a giant wok over a gas burner it’s ready in under a minute, super filling and super tasty.
Pisang goreng – fried banana
An absolute go-to is pisang goreng. it’s probably the simplest dish on this list, and possoibly one of the most satisfying. It’s just batter coated deep fried banana, that’s it, but it’s heaven to eat.
For a less traditional spin if you have any chocolate sauce (the stuff you put on ice cream) then give that a go, sheer indulgence.
Mie Goreng – fried noodles
A classic Indonesian dish of fried noodles which is usually chicken, shrimp or pork with vegetables. Sometimes it served with a fried egg on top, chicken sate sticks, prawn crackers and a peanut sauce.
It also comes with pickled vegetables to spice things up a little. Filling and super tasty.
Nasi Kuning – yellow rice
Another of my all-time favorites, and again something you can find pretty much on every street corning in the morning, is Nasi Kuning.
The rice is cooked with coconut and a variety of spices including turmeric, which gives the rice its distinctive yellow color.
With your rice you get a wide variety of accompaniments including boiled egg, shredded spicy chicken, peanuts, vegetables, tofu and, once again, a dollop of sambal.
Traditionally served in a banana leaf, these days it comes wrapped in brown paper making a triangular cone shaped package of joy you can take and eat whenever the mood takes you.
Quite often we’ll walk two minute to the end of our gang and pick up a few packets for breakfast.
Soto ayam – Chicken soup
This Indonesian clear chicken soup is served with noodles and infused with turmeric and ginger, which gives it a clean and distinctive taste.
Simple, but a great flavor combination and again readily found on the streets of Bali.
Often you’ll hear in the distance a “ding ding ding” sound of someone tapping a bowl, and you know that a vendor is coming with his cart to serve this tasty dish.
A whole chicken or duck is often chosen as the meal’s main ingredient, which is then stuffed with a mixture of spices that includes shallots, garlic, ginger, chili, peanuts, and more.
Not one to be rushed in its preparation, betutu meal takes at least eight hours to prepare, most of which are spent baking or steaming the poultry with the special mixture.
And the time taken to cook pays off in the delicious taste sensation.
It’s so good that it is rumored that betutu was once the king’s favorite meal.
Literally translated as “Mix-mix”, gado gado is probably one of Indonesian’s best-known dishes. It’s a cold a vegetable salad covered in a peanut sauce. At its base are boiled long beans, spinach, potato, corn, egg and bean sprouts coupled with cucumber, tofu and tempe.
As I’ve mentioned it quite a few times already I thought I’d give a bit more explanation about sambal matah, the spicy accompaniment that comes with so many dishes.
This tasty Balinese hot sauce (sambal) has made is now a favourite across much of Indonesia, having made its way onto the menus of many fine restaurants, and the tables of may households.
Sambal matah is loved for its fresh taste. Shallots, garlic, and chilis, are chopped or blended, giving it a delightful texture.
A touch of lime leaves and lemongrass give this sauce its freshness on the palette. A great accompaniment to so many dishes in Bali.
Bonus – fresh seafood
One of my all time favourite place to eat fresh seafood, and enjoy a spectacular sunset at the same time, is Jimbaran.
If you’re looking for other great activities here in Bali why not take a look at our article 10 things to do in bali for inspiration.
Summary – top 10 Balinese dishes
I hope you enjoyed this list of top 10 Balinese dishes and get to try at least one or two soon if you’ve not had the chance already.
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