Planning your holiday in Bali this year? Here at Epicurina we rounded some of the best times to visit Bali in 2016, which includes Indonesian long holidays, as well as Balinese ceremonies and food related festivals that might interest you in.
Here are some of the highlights:
Last Updated: January 2016Add a comment Add a comment
With the contrasting scene of Bali, where almost its entire population are devoted Hinduism, with the country where it exist, Indonesia, where its 85% population are muslim, Bali is unique. Often seen as the escape destination, big city dwellers comes to Bali for a little retreat and relax moments, drawing back from their hectic business days.
As for the foodies, holiday in Bali is seen as the time to adds up on their craving for pork based dishes. From the famous Babi Guling (Spit roasted pig) literally found on every corners of the city, baby back ribs with lychee martini, to crispy fried pork belly served on fancy restaurants, the kind of dishes not so easily found in other Indonesian cities. With such contrasting situation, inevitably all the other Balinese dishes are hidden in the shadow of Babi Guling, which create an impression to the general public that Bali is all that.
In reality, there are many other Balinese dishes that worthy of your attention, crafted by meticulous attention of the locals, which resulted in delicious morsels to tease your taste buds. What are those other traditional Balinese dishes you must try? Here's our pick, along with the most famous one:
Generally means roasted pig, it's the superstar of Balinese dishes, which inevitably creates the common impression that all Balinese dishes are pork-based -- which is not true -- but let's talk about this one first. The word "Be" in its original meaning is equal with "fish" -- the main source of protein Indonesian ancestors known. However through changing of generations, it nowadays basically means "meat" or anything you eat with rice in a more broader term. As pork is the most common meat in Bali, "Be" when using alone is synonymous with pig, hence Be Guling means "pig that's cooked by rolling it over (indirect heat)".
Be Guling using the huge pigs should be called 'Balinese spit roasted pig,' while those using the young infant ones, those that's still being breastfed, could be called 'Balinese roast suckling pig'. Naming a whole 1.5 meters long pink swine a "suckling pig" therefore is like calling full grown Mastiff dog a puppy.
Be Guling are first stuffed with seasoning and assorted vegetables like cassava leaves, then slowly cooked over open fire, constantly rolling it while occasionally applying layers of fresh coconut water. The good Be Guling are usually marked with the crispy crackling, and still moist meat.
Among the famous Be Guling in Bali are:
Lawar was initially created only during big religious ceremonies, where all of the Banjar's (village) men gather around to help preparing the dish, under the command of the Banjar's Lawar Champion: someone who's considered to have the most delicious recipe for Lawar in the whole village.
Basically a salad, Lawar are consisted of chopped vegetables, shredded coconuts, and traditional Balinese seasoning comprising of Base Gede (main seasoning), Base Penyangluh (savory flavoring agents), and Embe (shallot based). To add texture and flavor, finely chopped meat are added in. Now here's the interesting part: traditionally, to adds color to the pale colored mound, fresh blood are added in. This style of lawar are called "Lawar Merah" or Red Lawar. For those who don't really fancy fresh blood, and for some ceremonies that forbids it, the no-blood "Lawar Putih," means White Lawar, is created instead.
As the type of meat used in lawar, it can be anything from the most common: pig (celeng), to chicken (siap), duck (kuwir), water buffalo (kebo), lamb (kambing), beef (sampi), squid (cumi), octopus (gurita), snails (kakul), or even the vegetarian ones like coconut (nyuh). and young coconut shells (klungah).
For the Lawar Celeng variant please have a look at the Babi Guling section above, as it usually sells side by side with the roasted pig. For the non-pork ones, here are some notable selections:
Thought to be originally created by Men Tempeh in the Gilimanuk area, Ayam Betutu is a stuffed chicken dish that's slowly cooked for up to 14 hours in traditional Balinese seasoning. The result is a succulent chicken meat robust in flavor that seep deep in. Originally Betutu taste very hot, thanks to the very spicy Balinese chilies used. Beside of chicken, duck (bebek) is also a common poultry to be cooked in Betutu way.
Among notable Betutu in Bali are:
Basically Nasi Ayam Khas Bali is a mixed rice plate consisting of all-chicken parts cooking, usually revolving around Ayam Betutu as the main attraction of the dish. The difference is in the side dishes, which could consist of up to ten different dishes like Ayam Bumbu Kuning, Sate Lilit Ayam, Kulit Ayam Goreng, Hati dan Ampela, Telur Ayam, or even batter fried shrimp.
Some noteworthy selections:
Tipat Kuah/Sayur is the watery version of Nasi Ayam ("kuah" and "sayur" both means soup in this sense), which instead of using Nasi (rice), it uses rice cake (tipat). Other than that tipat Sayur usually consist of the same components like Nasi Ayam, plus the additional thin curry like broth poured over the combo. Tipat Sayur, despite using the word sayur (soup) is a full-meal in its own.
Basically Tipat Sayur are sold in places that sells Nasi Ayam, though it's not a mandatory. Some top selections:
Sate lilit is a type of satay that's formed by mound made using minced meat, shredded coconut, and Balinese seasoning. While just like lawar, Sate Lilit can also use any kind of meat, the most common ones are those using fish, and known by the other name as Sate Languan, or Sate Lilit Ikan Laut. As the name signify, Sate Languan uses only saltwater fishes, like Tuna, Skipjack, or bigger fish like Marlin.
Among notable selection of Sate Languan in Bali are:
Hailing from the central region of Bali, Be Jair Menyatnyat is considered a dish unique to Bangli, the only district in Bali without shorelines. What Bangli has instead, is the vast lake of Danau Batur in Kintamani, where Mujair (Tilapia) is cultivated here. Other than Mujair, Gurami is also a common fish cooked in Menyatnyat style. Name wise, Menyatnyat comes from the Balinese word "enyat" which mean 'dried out of water.' As the name implies, Menyatnyat cooking style involving frying of the fish, then boiling it in Suna Cekuh concoction made of garlic and lesser galangal, until the water dries up.
Some selections with good Menyatnyat in Bali:
Perhaps the youngest entry to the traditional Balinese dishes, is the grilling style used for fishes and seafood, which originated in Jimbaran area. Jimbaran is one of Bali's villages that have good access to the sea, and within a close distance from the Ngurah Rai Airport. This particular combination boosted up Jimbaran's popularity, which now houses several hotels and resorts from well known brands.
Basically Jimbaran style grilling revolves around the savory sweet, tad spicy thick seasoning sauce used to season and coat the fish during the grilling. Beside of the fishes, the more famous variant of Ikan Bakar Jimbaran is actually its Grilled Clams, which are cooked in its own shells.
Some considerations for Ikan Bakar Jimbaran style in Bali:
Tipat Blayag is a dish originated from desa Penglatan, in Singaraja. Tipat Blayag are consisting of slices of rice cakes (tipat/ketupat), bathed with thick curry-like sauce made from Base Genep Balinese seasoning mixed with rice flour. Tipat Blayag originally served with Urab sayur, Ayam Sitsit, chicken feet's crackers crispy fried chicken skin. The common taste of the dish is savory, spicy, and also fresh as it contains the vegetables from Urab.
Some places to find good Tipat Blayag in Bali:
The basic ingredients of sambal matah are chopped shallots, bird eye chillies, minute amount of dried shrimp paste, and coconut oil sprinkled on deliberately. As the name implies, Sambal Matah (matah means raw) uses only raw ingredients, though some prefers lightly sauteing it for better shelf live.
Sambal bongkot is quite similar with Sambal Matah, with the addition of bongkot (kecombrang, torch ginger flower) that adds the unique fragrant aroma.
Originally a sambal, the spicy condiments that people all over Indonesia are so fond of, Sambal Matah and Sambal Bongkot can also be found mixed with other ingredients, creating a different dish on its own, for example: Tuna Sambal Matah, Ayam Sitsit Sambal Bongkot, and so on.
Some notable eateries to find sambal matah and sambal bongkot based dishes in Bali:
Sup Kepala Ikan literally mean Fish Head Soup. While the cooking exists in many different culture, the Balinese one are consisting of clear soup with Base Genep savory spicy seasoning. It usually served with a slice of deep fried fish, and spicy hot sambal merah. Snapper and Grouper are among two of the mostly used fish for Balinese Fish Head Soup, served whole, while giant Tuna and Pomfret are also notable choices, and served as chunks considering it's giant whole size.
Among notable places to find Sup Kepala Ikan in Bali are:
(byms)Add a comment Add a comment
Romeos Bar & Grillery sits in front of Ossotel, a new hotel opened December 2013 on Padma Utara street in Legian, Bali. While structurally lies under Ossotel management, and it is a part of the hotel, Romeos location allows it to have direct access from the street, hence making it feels just like a regular eatery. Having just opened for few months when we arrived in March 2014, Romeos strikingly look like a refreshing plastic surgery to the neighbourhood which looks quite weary with its aged hotels.
Proudly showing "Established 2013" Romeos give out an eclectic mix of travelling back in time with the warmth of its homey aged pub atmosphere, combined with the minimalistic design and construction sleekness that's the adage of modern days. Its full-height windows brings the feel of the communal neighbourhood in, and vice versa lend its warmness outside, especially at nights when all of the electric chandelier are lit up.
As the name implies, Romeos arsenal are consisting of two weapons: an array of scrumptious grills, coming with a choice of seven different sauces and twenty different sides, paired with cocktails that's designed by a mixologist.
Still quite new to the Bali scene, a mixologist is someone who design cocktails, concocting new and exotic drinks, experimenting with lesser known distilled spirits and mixers, and, overall, pushing the limits of classic bartending . In short, it's someone who design exotic, uncommon drinks, that taste good.
Like for example this (virgin) Coconut Mint Mojito that combines the freshness of mint, sourness of lime, and a tad of coconut water that adds a more tropical feel to it.
As with the grills itself, there are options for both single and family or group size menu. You can choose among Chicken, Pork, Lamb and Beef, or Seafood, ranging from 115-225K, or pick the cream of the crops, which is Romeos Mix Grill (395K) that consisted of Rib Eye, Pork Rib, Sausage, Chicken Wing, and Lamb Leg. The composition itself is exchangeable, so for example if you don't eat pork, then the kitchen will be happy to substitute it with a couple of lamb chops like we did.
As we're doing the usual "what's your recommendation?" move thus only quickly scans the menu, we didn't really noticed the "For 2" written beside the Romeos Mix Grill, and was thinking that it will be the miniature cuts of the selections, hence what's coming next is a bit surprising.
Behold! It's not a miniaturized version of the grills but instead virtually all of them thrown into our plate in its full size! Suddenly I don't think that mine and hypnoticade's combined tummies would be big enough to contain such a feast! The scent from the grilled meats however, quickly made my mind ignore this fact and eagerly awaits to pick my favourite piece of meat: Lamb chop!
The seasoning used on the grills were quite classical, which deepen the meat flavour instead of competing with it. Among the sauces we tried, all are good with a special note to their Home Made Steak Sauce and Classic Bearnaise which enhances the steak flavours. You can also go straight with Mustard, not on the menu but you can ask for it, which in my not so humble taste buds opinion, provides the best zesty to balance those fatty meaty steaks.
The meat quality itself was superb, and I especially liked their juicy beef sausage and the succulent Rib Eye. The Lamb Chop was also good, with its savoury caramelized outside and meaty moist inside. The Lamb Leg itself was also surprising since it holds minimum "prengus" aroma usually trapped in lamb meat, which make all the meats are very enjoyable.
What we feel lacked though, is the single Vegetable Shashlik that comes wit it, as there should be two of it at least. Beside of its health concern, they also tasted good eaten with steaks.
As predicted we didn't manage to emptied the plate, as we've almost reached the fine line that divide the "oh so good" eating experience with "honey do you bring Po Chai pills with you?" moment.
And beside, we also have the complimentary side dishes to try:
As the side dish we ordered Onion Tower. While it's basically Onion Rings with Horseradish Sauce, its naming interested us. Stacked vertically it's also a dish that looks good on picture. The onion itself was sweet, with no onion's pungent scent left.
The Sauteed Asparagus however, steals the show from the Onion Tower and came out as the most striking looking side of that dinner. The fresh green Asparagus were coated in butter melts and lightly seasoned with salt to enhance its flavour. Simplistic, delicious.
Dinner's tummy fully filled, now let's move to the dessert! You might find it hard to believe, but foodies do have spare stomach for desserts! It's witnessed over and over again, that no matter how full foodies feel during the dinner, there's always room for a good dessert.
Creme Brulee (45K) comes out looking beautiful in its yellowish colour. While the menu said it's infused with ginger essence, we didn't really sense it. It was an okay dessert though we hoped the crust is a little bit thicker, and the cream has stronger flavour.
Beside of the Western dishes, there's also an Asian section which presents mostly local delicacies like Nasi Campur (115K), Mie Goreng (60K), Beef Rendang (90K), and Thailand influenced Green Curry Baramundi (90K). They're quite popular with Australian guests, who comes to Romeos drawn by its Bar's extensive collection of drinks, or looking for a cool place to hang out with their friends, or families with children.
Speaking of which, when we informed our waiter that Romeos Mix Grill was too much for us two to handle, he cheerfully replied that "there were two Australian gentlemen a few days back ordered Romeos Mix Grill, one for each of them, finished it, and still ordered additional main afterward."
A fact that worth scratching my head. (byms)
Note: Prices are in thousand Rupiah, excludes 11% tax and 10% service.
Romeos Grillery & Bar
Ossotel, Jalan Padma Utara, Legian, 80361, Bali, Indonesia
T: +62 361 754 122
F: +62 361 754 121
For more information stop by Romeos website at http://www.ossotel.com/page/romeos,
 Mixology or Mixologist - http://cocktails.about.com/od/cocktailspeak/g/mixology_define.htm
 Indonesian Po Chai pills are SAFE - https://www.facebook.com/epicurina/posts/517586241626196
Abundant in Indonesia, and used in many kind of dishes throughout the country, Turmeric (kunyit/kunir/koneng locally) now runs as the front runners of beneficial spices Indonesia have, with about 600 potential health benefit identified. The core of this powerful property lies in the turmeric's main active ingredients Curcumin.
Among the most amazing demonstrated properties of turmeric include:
Fresh turmeric gives off numbing bittery metallic taste at first, peppery -- almost like eating a mint balm, but later it disperses into a pleasant earthy citrus flavor, or curry aroma as you would call it -- for the lack of better explanation -- as curry is one of the dish where turmeric presence is strong. Different with India, in Indonesia, turmeric is rarely used dried or as powder, since it's available throughout the year and very easy to grow. In cookings fresh turmeric gives off less bitter flavor, hence Indonesian version of curry aren't as pungent as Indian curries.
In Indonesia, turmeric are used in food, both for coloring and for its flavour. Its strong staining property lend vibe to Indonesia's favourite dishes Nasi Tumpeng and Nasi Kuning, while its flavour add earthy citrus layer to Indonesia's favourite dishes like Ayam Goreng Bumbu Kuning, Rawon, Sate Padang, and Kari.
Well known for its Lalab & Sambel culture, turmeric rhizome are also consumed fresh in Sundanese culture, while turmeric flower are becoming more frequently appeared in Indonesian fine dining scenes as well as in organic and healthy cooking dishes.
Long known as a traditional drinks with medicinal property, Jamu is a liquid concoction made up from different spices and herb available in Indonesia. It's medicinal property ranged from treatment of serious diseases related with internal organs like liver, spleen, and heart, into the more relaxing use of lessening cramps women have during their period. More than often, Jamu is also associated with cosmetic beauty as it's believed to smoothen and brighten your skin, including eliminating unpleasant body odours.
Consumed regularly, Jamu helps maintaining health and immunity against diseases, hence if America got "An apple a day keeps the doctor away' here in Indonesia it's "A glass of jamu a day keeps diseases away."
Outside of the heavier presence in complex Jamu mixture, turmeric is usually combined with tamarind and palm sugar to create the refreshing Kunyit Asem drink. Poured over ice cubes, Kunyit Asem combines the metallic citrus bittery flavors of turmeric, with the umami acidic earthy flavors of tamarind and coconutty sweet smoky flavors of palm sugar. Don't forget to taste it next time you're visiting Indonesian restaurant. (byms)
http://www.bitsofwellness.com [turmeric image]Add a comment
Ubud is well known for its serene beauty. Many wishes to visit this place, thanks to Julia Robert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” movie, to find a peaceful time out and reconnect with their inner self. In real life though, Ubud is not only famous for couples looking to rekindle their love, but also for foodies. No less than three international TV chefs praises Ubud for its lovely cuisine.
Joining the mouth-watering array of Ubud eateries, in early March 2014 Kuta’s renowned Bale Udang Mang Engking open up a new branch at Jalan Raya Goa Gajah. Equipped with vast parking space, ‘BUME’ – the restaurant’s casual name – is capable to handle large group of people. Aiming to become a must visit destination in Bali, BUME Ubud provides not only delicious prawn based dishes, which has proven to be guest favourite in BUME Kuta, but also a scenery that depict Ubud’s best: lush green rice field on one side, steep river slope on the other side, plus BUME’s signature scenic pond where the bamboo ‘bale’, or eating huts are erected.
Bale Udang Mang Engking Ubud’s menu serves similar dishes the Kuta Branch has, with popular items like Udang Bakar Madu and Sup Kelapa Udang among the list. Hailing from Yogyakarta, Mang Engking restaurants started out as shrimp farm, hence its specialties in prawn based dishes.
Nowadays Mang Engking are well known for its signature Udang Bakar Madu: honey grilled king prawns, Gurame Cobek: Gourami fish in spicy savoury aromatic ginger scented aroma, Pesmol, and other Sundanese dishes. Outside of the Western Javanese native dishes though, BUME also serves national and local dishes like Sop Buntut, and Iga Penyet. Guests can also choose from the seven different kind of Sambals served in BUME, including Bali’s favourite Sambel Matah.
Consistent with their main menu, Bale Udang Mang Engking serves variety of traditional snacks and drinks, with a modernized twist like the Tape Gulung Keju: fermented cassava filled spring rolls sprinkled with cheese and palm sugar dipping sauce.
Es Kelapa Jeruk is a guaranteed thirst quencher, while for a more exotic combo try out their Es Sarang Singaraja, Es Kelapa Sirsak Jimbaran, or Es Kelapa Cincau Tanah Lot.
To ensure service perfection, Mang Engking’s Bali branches are managed under Avilla Hospitality, which also manages several hotels around Bali. This synergy has injects luxury and hotel-quality hospitality to the guests, which further makes Bale Udang Mang Engking a famous destination among local and Asian tourists.
Beside of the bamboo bale, garden deck, floating deck, and main hall, Bale Udang Mang Engking Ubud also facilitated with musholla, souvenir shop, and snack corner that sells Sundanese as well as Balinese treats for visitors to brought home.
For reservation and enquiries, contact +62 361 978 754 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bale Udang Ubud
Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud