They say you’ll never experience a culture unless you try and taste their food. This is, to an extent, true, and one of the exciting things while travelling is getting to taste the different local dishes. Travelling is not only for the wanderlust in you; it’s also for the inner foodie that’s been clawing its way out of your system.
When in Bali, rice paddies and unheard of yoga classes are not the only curiosities you should try: Balinese food is something to look forward to, too. The Bali Tourism board is the first to say experiencing the gentle nature of the locals should be supplemented with the exciting, complex-flavoured dishes that they serve.
Here are the top three must-try Balinese dishes you should not miss out on:
Babi guling (young, roasted suckling)
The Balinese version of the world-famous whole roasted pig, babi guling is a turmeric-based spiced dish that’s both exotic-tasting and down-to-Earth delicious. Doused in Asian lime leaves, black pepper and chillies, it’s a melody of flavors, with lemon grass front and centre. What you get is a serving of one of the finest pork dishes in Asia.
Because of the prevalence of the Muslim culture in the area, babi guling is the pork-lovers food stop among the chicken, beef and seafood-centred local cuisine.
Bebek Betutu (slow roasted duck with sauce)
You know it’s not Asian unless there’s a duck on the table. Bebek Betutu is Bali’s answer to the poster boy of duck dishes – the Peking duck. The main struggle when cooking duck meat is its aroma – it has a pungent odour. That is remedied through washing the dish in a sea salt-and-tamarind puree.
After the wash, the bird is stuffed with a mixture of spices, boiled eggs (sometimes even fresh), and a curious addition of cassava leaves. The cooking method involves slow-roasting the duck until the meat falls off the bone.
Warung (rice with mixed dishes)
This quintessential Balinese dish, warung is like a platter you get from a food fight. It’s one of the things to do and see in Bali, and definitely one of the items on the checklist to try. For a more authentic feel, order the warung from a genuine local restaurant.