5 Traditional Balinese Food You Shouldn’t Miss
- Aanchal Mathur
Updated : January 27, 2022 14:01 IST
Balinese cuisine is influenced by many neighbouring regions of South East Asia. So one can find a lot of similarities in the cuisine’s flavours with that of China and India too.
Just as diverse the whole of Indonesia is, the cuisine of each of its islands is. For instance, Bali offers a spectacular assortment of indulgences, that speaks volumes about its diverse culture, free-flowing vibe of the place and flavours that are sure to get you hooked. ‘The land of the gods’ or ‘The land of 10,000 temples’, Bali is known to be one of the most interesting southeast locations. It’s a cultural and spiritual hub bustling with tourists all year long. And thus, one can find a host of global foods here, but it’s the local cuisine that still stands out. Balinese cuisine is influenced by many neighbouring regions of South East Asia. So one can find a lot of similarities in the cuisine’s flavours with that of China and India.
Some of the prevalent ingredients that the cuisine boasts of are rice, fragrant roots including shallots, galangel and garlic along with herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger. Chilli is also a base ingredient in many of Balinese curries. So, if you are someone who is willing to experiment with the cuisine of Bali, we’ve got some traditional dishes from the isalnd right here.
1. Nasi Ayam
One of the most ubiquitous dishes from the Balinese cuisine; Nasi Ayam is a must-try for every foodie. Shredded chicken, satay, boiled egg, roasted peanuts, French bean salad, sambal and a bowl of steamed rice comes together for a meal that is sure to give you a burst of flavours.
Legend has it that betutu was once the king’s favourite meal, and one bite of it will make you realise why. Be it the duck (bebek betutu) or the chicken (ayam betutu), the dish is a pure delight. A whole chicken or duck is mostly the main ingredient, which is then stuffed with a rich mixture of spices which includes shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli, peanuts and more. The meal is often made on an advanced order since it takes at least eight hours to prepare.
Known to the undisputed king of coconut-based dishes, Lawar is a hearty mix of chopped meat with various green vegetables and grated coconut. While the meat can be anything from beef, pork, duck or chicken, or even a mix of all, you can always experiment with the veggies along with an assortment of spices.
4. Babi Guling
Basically, Balinese Roasted Pork, Babi Guling is a traditional dish that is often served during cultural performances or ceremonies. The dish showcases the excellent culinary technique of Balinese cuisine as the turmeric-laden pork is generously stuffed with a range of spices, and is then gently roasted to perfect tender.
The Balinese have a major sweet tooth, and they love their desserts like nothing else and Murtabak is a proof of that. It is the Indonesian version of a pancake loaded with chocolate and bananas, and fried in butter. It has a ton of toppings like Toblerone, Nutella, peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, butter, cheese and condensed milk. The pancake is then folded in half and cut through evenly such that the toppings remain in the middle, causing the flavours to explode as you indulge in it. Did we tell you that Balinese have a savoury version of it too as a crepe filled with eggs, meat, onion and spices?
So which one are you going to try first?