Budding through Balinese cuisine - Traditional eats to try in Bali!

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

Balinese cuisine is diverse with its rich mosaic of flavors, served on banana leaves resulting in a vibrant and succulent feast. Consuming rice and meat may seem like a staple food. Nonetheless, Bali is exceptionally vegan-friendly. The Balinese food-options can be overwhelming one often wonders how to begin exploring the culinary delights and keeping that in mind here are some dishes to devour,

1. Nasi Goreng

Anyone who goes to Bali gets acquainted with Balinese cuisine through Nasi goreng. A favorite Indonesian rice dish traditionally served with a fried egg. The rice stir-fried with a combination of meats and vegetables ranging from shrimp, anchovies, green peas, lamb, shallots, green onion and a blend of soy sauce. The origins of the dish are suggested to be traced from southern Chinese fried rice.

Nasi Goreng

2. Satay

Satay is marinated, skewered, grilled meat usually served with peanut sauce. The meat can be either chicken, lamb, beef, fish or even turtle meat. Satay is served in various sauces, however most often they are served in a combination of soy and peanut sauce. Mainly Indonesian this dish is also be found in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. It is a perfect dish that can be appreciated even by kids.

Chicken Satay

3. Bakso

Common street food of Indonesia is a meatball made from beef surimi. Typically served in a bowl of broth, the texture is similar to the Chinese beef ball, fish ball, or pork ball. Bakso can be found all across Indonesia, from street vendors to high-end restaurants and typically served with yellow noodles or rice vermicelli. Thanks to Barack Obama’s confession of his love for the dish Bakso, has made the item very popular these days.


4. Nasi Campur

Think you're looking at some foodporn? Yes, without further due, feel free to dive into this extraordinary Balinese platter. A traditional plate of Nasi Campur consists of portions of white rice with various side dishes. Depending on origin, a Nasi Campur vendor might serve several side dishes, vegetables, perkedel or potato cake, egg, peanut, and tempeh. Gorgeous and satisfying meal.

Nasi Campur

5. Urap

Urap Sayur is a traditional Balinese salad made with blanched vegetables, grated coconut, and a chili-spiked dressing.  It’s fresh, fragrant and spicy, vegetable-heavy and very well suited to vegetarian or vegan diets. Urap is consumed on its own as a salad for vegetarian meals or as a side dish. With no unusual ingredients, this is one dish that’s easy to replicate at home, even after your trip comes to an end.


6. Betutu (Bebek, Duck)

Betutu is a steamed or roasted chicken or duck in rich Balinese spices. The best Bebek betutu has plenty of duck breast, cooked to a melty softness, infused with smokiness and slathered inside and out with a pleasantly charred spice paste that gives off lingering hints of lemongrass, turmeric, and pungent ginger. The most proper accompaniments would side dishes of lawar, and tomato sambal (hot sauce).

Bebek Betutu

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is a nutritional powerhouse packed full of protein and probiotics. The Balinese use it for everything, whether it's in vegan and non-vegan dishes. You'll find it served as a main meal, snack, side dish or as meat or fish replacement in curries and stir-fries. Unfortunately, this vegan delight hasn’t yet had its viral moment.


And, here are some literal translations of the name of the meat from Balinese to English,

Ayam - Chicken  

Bebek - Duck

Kan -Fish

Sapi - Beef

Babi - Pork

Saru Laut - Seafood

Photography Credits - @flohwithme