Since I’m a huge (pun intended) fan of food, it would be silly not to pay homage to the 10 must try food in Bali. Let’s dig in to my top 10, shall we?
10 must try food in Bali
1. SMOOTHIE LOVIN’ – The no.1 food to try in Bali
Now, I’m not a very big fan of smoothies, but they offer a complete meal replacement and Bali has such amazing tropical fruits, it was really hard to hate them! We really loved the all-day smoothies that The Chillhouse in Canggu offers. We had a selection of various smoothies to try. The Tropical Colada smoothie has delicious mango, coconut and coconut milk and topped with flax seeds. Perfect for those that want to cool off.
Trust me, any of these smoothies serve as a perfect meal replacement. N. really enjoyed her Sunrise smoothie which was full of dragon fruit, bananas, mint, cinnamon, oats, honey and coconut milk. Delicious and filling, you won’t need much more for your belly. The Chillhouse is the perfect place for those who have vegan diets and eat gluten free. All of these smoothies are vegan and should be on the top on your list of must try food in Bali.
2. ORGANIC FANFARE
Traditional Balinese food always involves rice and a must on your list of must try grub in Bali. If you are fan, try Nasi Uduk, a coconut rice served with spicy sambal and a seafood side dish that is absolutely divine. At the Chillhouse, they serve both organic and vegan options, so I think they definitely deserved a mention for being so accommodating. I recommend the chicken satay, the sayur papaya muda (green papaya in spiced coconut milk) and tempe muda (sweet tempe which is like a spiced sweet soy cake). Delicious and flavourful, try them with a spicy sambal/chutney.
#Whatsforlunch this coconut crusted chicken with mango chutney after my free massage @thechillhouse . . . #huffposttaste #buzzfeastfood #zomato #yummeh #dubaifoodblogger #dubaitravelblogger #bali #indonesia #baliforyourbelly #getinmabelly #yummeh #chillhousefood #visitbali #balitravels #travelingram #organic
This coconut crusted chicken with a mango dip is absolutely delicious. There really is something about organic food..it definitely digests easier and taste better if done right.
3. CHEESIEST CUBANOS IN CANGGU
Have any of you watched the movie Chef? In the movie, they talk about these delicious cubanos sandwiches. I found a version on the streets of Canggu, heading forward to Batu Bolong. And they were greasy monsters, with juicy pork and ample amounts of cheese. Goes really well with the chilled local Bintang beer, which tastes quite close to a Kingfisher beer actually.
They also have a chicken version and some delicious Australian style meat and vegetarian curry pies. Numerous Aussies throng the beaches in Bali all year round and it would be silly to miss some Aussie-influenced fanfare here. El Jefe Jose was one of these. I doubt the sandwiches were Cuban in the least, but they tasted quite wonderful.
4. NASI GORENG AND SATAY
‘Nasi Goreng’ literally means fried rice. An amazing gluten free option (without some components in the soy sauce), it comes with so many veggies, egg and often seafood. You can also opt for meats (I have a weakness for the lamb ones). Any restaurant you venture into in Bali will be guaranteed to have this and mie goreng (fried noodles) on the menu. It’s a carb packed meal, with a lot of veggies and protein, so it’s perfect and cheap. Sometimes it is even found on the breakfast menus at hotels. The special version often has the famous satay with peanut sauce. YUMMEH. I recommend trying the lamb satay, also chicken is quite common. The lamb is sweet and juicy and goes really well with the peanuts.
Indonesian food loves the sweet, spicy and savoury combination which is predominant in almost all of its food. You can also try ‘Nasi Campur’ which is almost always a combination of satay, rice, tempeh, egg and tofu, available in most restaurants and stalls (or ‘Warungs’).
5. GADO GADO
I LOVE GADO GADO. My friends know that I’m not the purveyor of anything vegetarian usually, but lately I’m learning (25 years later, if I may add) to love my veggies. This is a fresh Indonesian salad with slightly steamed veggies, rice cakes, tempeh, fried tofu and peanut sauce. The crackers on top are prawn, so if you are vegetarian just take these off or ask them to remove it for you. Now you must have observed that Indonesians looooove their peanut sauce. They put it on almost everything, including dessert. Horrible place to be for a gourmand allergic to peanuts unfortunately. Tried this at Borneo 8 in Ubud.
6. IKAN BAKAR
Ah. There’s nothing like a freshly cooked fish. Ikan bakar stands for grilled fish, a favourite amongst the Indonesians. We were lucky enough to try a fresh catch at The Chillhouse, where the owner went harpoon fishing at a bike trip put together a grill and the whole biking gang got together and grilled some massive catch to share with everyone. There’s really nothing like eating such a fresh catch! Ikan Bakar is also available at several restaurants, and the fish is almost always fresh.
Bakso is a sort of salty meaty soup that could have different types of meats as you desire. You could have anything, including fish ball or chicken ball. This is more Javanese cuisine than Balinese, but delicious if you enjoy meatballs in your soup. We tried ours at a restaurant called “Borneo 8” in Ubud, which was extremely reasonable price-wise. The Balinese also make another noodle soup called “soto ayam” with is a chicken soup with herbs,noodles and is also very flavourful with onions. Saw those carts on the streets of Kuta as well.
8. Pizza at Umah Pizza, Ubud
Ok, ok I know you must be rolling your eyes at me. How is this even remotely an amazing food to try in Bali? Oooh, but it is. Umah Pizza in Ubud has the most amazing wooden fire pizzas EVER. It also provided a lot of respite to my friends who turned out to be not such big fans of Indonesian food. The ingredients are fresh and tasty and it’s definitely a place you should try while in Ubud.
9. BIHUN GORENG
A rice noodle dish, this is also an excellent gluten-free alternative to regular noodles. It’s light, full of veggies, lightly fried and oh-so-delicious. Often you will find similar tasting bihun goreng in Singapore, Malaysia and China. We tried this at Borneo 8.
10. 5-course menu with the world’s best restaurant view in La View Restaurant, Ubud.
La View Restaurant at Kupu Kupu Barong is DIVINE because of its beautiful, lush views. This restaurant is known to host one of the top 50 best restaurant views in the world! The food is elaborate and plentiful and you get a complimentary shuttle back to your hotel. We chose to dine at the Bird’s Nest which was perched on the side and offers plenty of privacy.
This place is perfect for that proposal and costs US$80 per person. Not cheap, but the ambience makes up for it as does the 5-course menu. We started out with an amuse bouche of chicken spring roll, followed by a creamy mushroom soup, a lemon sorbet as a palate cleanser and a rather cold beef chateaubriand. After a complaint, our meal got replaced with a wine as compliments. Another choice other than the chateaubriand was a delicious pan seared fish fillet with grilled scallops and shrimp served atop a perfect mushroom risotto. If you’re vegetarian, they also offer fantastic options. N. is mostly vegetarian and I can hands down say that the food tasted better in most cases. For dessert, we indulged in a delicious passion fruit panna cotta and lychee mousse.
TIPS: Please make sure that you book well enough in advance to get the table you want. Besides this, note that drinks are chargeable outside the US$80 you have to pay in advance via credit card/ bank transfer. I recommend having dinner at around 6pm (sunset time) to truly appreciate the views.
That’s all for my list of fav dishes in Bali! Read on to see one that’s reportedly famous all around Ubud, if not Bali but one that I rejected:
If you’re looking for the most overrated famous dish ever, it had to be the Babi Guling (roast suckling pig) at Ibu Oka in Ubud for me. Despite the fact that Anthony Bourdain raved about it, it came in cold and vile. I didn’t appreciate the blood sausage, and the fried pork skin was cold, though crisp. The roasted pork was the only saving grace with herbs, rice and veggies. I’d skip it, but worth venturing a try if you truly love pork. Order a “spesyal” to try the different cuts.
Terimah Kasih (thank you) for checking out my post! Have you been to Bali before? What were your favourite foods? Let me know in the comments below 🙂 I hope you liked my guide for must try food in Bali.