Visitors to Bali usually try some of the local food during their stay. The problem is that many restaurants that cater for foreign visitors usually fill up their menus with Chinese, standard Indonesian, and western dishes. This means that people get the impression that they are sampling the local dishes when strictly speaking they aren’t.
Unique Flavors of Balinese Food
It would be a bit of a shame to spend time on the island without experiencing the Balinese culinary delights. It adds a whole new dimension to the Bali experience, and the locals are delighted when visitors try these dishes.
Traditional Balinese Food
Balinese food has been influenced by Chinese, Indonesian, and Indian cuisine. Balinese dishes tend to be made from pork, chicken, or duck. Unlike most of Indonesia, the locals tend to avoid beef – this is because the cow is considered to be the holiest animal by the Hindu population. It is common for the Balinese to associate foods with particular ceremonies, but it is also possible for visitors to enjoy these dishes any time. Most of the local food is served with a pyramid of rice – unless the dish already contains plenty of rice.
Common Ingredients in Balinese Food
The typical ingredients found in Balinese food include:
- Steamed Rice
- Glutinous rice
- Peanut sauce
- Pig’s blood
- Chicken or duck
- Shrimp paste
- Various vegetables including spinach and green beans
- Sambal sauce
- Soy sauce
- Palm sugar
Most Popular Balinese Dishes
The most popular dishes that visitors are likely to encounter during their trip to the island include:
- Tempe manis involves sweet fermented boiled soy bean. It is sliced into thin wafers and fried in coconut oil.
- Lawar is created using coconut, mixed vegetables, minced meat, along with herbs and spices. Sometimes meat blood is mixed with spices to give the dish a stronger taste.
- Nasi Campur is the dish that tourists most usually try during their visit to Bali because it is available almost everywhere – it is not strictly speaking a Balinese dish as it is available all over Indonesia and beyond. Nasi campur can be translated as mixed rice and it involves rice mixed with vegetables, peanuts, coconut, and meat with a spicy sauce (Sambal) used for flavoring.
- Satay is another popular dish in Bali and it involves marinated, skewered, and grilled meat. Unlike the rest of Indonesia satay made from pork is commonly found for sale on the island – this meat is harem (forbidden) to Muslims.
- Bubuh Injin is the famous Balinese black pudding. It is usually made from glutinous rice, palm sugar syrup, freshly squeezed coconut, and pandan leaves.
- Tupat is another dish that is local to Bali and it can be found for sale on mobile carts in many areas of the island. This snack comes in a coconut leaf package and it is made from rice, vegetables, and tofu mixed with a hot peanut sauce.
- Babi Guling is another dish enjoyed by many of the locals but forbidden to Muslims. It involves grilling a whole suckling pig stuffed with vegetables and covered in different spices to add flavor.
- Bebek Betutu is made from chicken or duck which is stuffed with spices for a unique flavor.
Common Fruits on Bali
Visitors can also get to enjoy some tasty exotic fruits during their say on the island. The most common of these include:
- Star fruit
- Custard apple