Eating out in Bali was such a pleasure. I’ve said before in an earlier post that Bali was one of my favourite travel destinations and the food there helped make that happen. Either we were very lucky or it actually is very difficult to find bad food in Bali. We stayed in Seminyak so the first part of this post is going to be about the restaurants, cafes and eateries I visited in and around our hotel. First off, if you’re on a budget, you’ll love this. A #warung is a small family-owned business like a cafe or a small shop that serves stuff including food. Sometimes these look really spare, with a few dishes on display and some formica benches and tables inside a poky hole. Don’t be afraid to eat here – the food is good, local and cheap. Just observe and go to the ones you see locals frequenting, or ask your hotel for the popular ones in the area. Language might be a barrier, but that’s why the food is on display – just point to the dishes that appeal.
Some warungs are better established and have turned themselves into larger restaurants. The most popular one in Seminyak is ‘Warung Ocha’ and we kept going back to try different things because the food was so tasty (and yes, cheap). They also had the most incredible smoothies – aromatic and flavourful.
‘The Dusty Cafe’ is a lovely continental cafe if you’re a lover of all things cold coffee or frappe-related, as I am. The music is chilled out and lounge-y, and they make very tasty crepes. I ordered the ‘Deep Playa’ which had ham, mozzarella and mushroom shallot sauce in a savoury wheat crepe (for about INR 350), and a frappe. It’s air-conditioned, which is great if you need to escape the afternoon heat and just read or hang out somewhere quiet.
Absolutely-without-a-doubt my favourite eatery and chill-out place for breakfast and lunch was ‘The Shelter’ cafe.
We found it at the tail-end of our holiday but made sure to return anyway. They kept running out of ingredients, that’s how popular they were. For breakfast we tried Nalu bowls which were basically homemade granola, yoghurt, juice and fruit combinations of your choice, topped with bananas and served in a large half-coconut shell with a spoon.
The smoothies were out of this world. I tried a Green monster: spinach, cucumber, green apple, coriander, parsley, ginger, lemon, which was a great boost of superfoods to my system. The Shelter Booster was also amazing: papaya, banana, almond butter, coconut oil, flax seeds, honey, soy milk, cinnamon, honey and ice. Great filler for breakfast!
This sandwich is called the ‘Noah’s ark’ and has roast chicken,bacon, lettuce, danish ham, cheese, aioli and some sort of chutney on freshly made sourdough bread (about INR 315 and worth every paise).
The lighting at Bo & Bun was all low lights and candlelight, with tables pouring onto the street. The restaurant was stylish, modern interiors and a little more up-market than some of the other restaurants around. It’s more of a meat-lovers place with lip-smacking pork ribs on offer.
Pork ribs with messy, tangy, sticky BBQ sauce and chips.
This was the tasting platter of Vietnamese spring rolls and other bite-sized items we had as a started. It was tasty but m-eh. Yes, our expectations were quite high of Bali restaurants in Seminyak by the time we found this place.
Ok, I did have a sushi craving that needed to be sated. It happens sometimes and lucky for me, Sushimi Japanese restaurant, the sushi place on our street, had some tempting weekly offers. I splurged here. What can I say, except #sushirocks !
‘Fat Gajah’ is a noodle and dumplings restaurant in Seminyak with a low key atmosphere that just about crosses the line into fine dining. We ordered the Curried Beef noodles which consisted of beef tenderloin, beef floss, crisp beef jerky, bok choy and shiitake mushroom. We also ordered a filet of something called ‘butter fish’ which had a refined flavour and texture I’d never encountered before. It was off the specials board, so you may not find it on the menu.
Lunch at the Tea gardens in Tegalalang.
A gorgeous all-you-can-eat buffet dinner and traditional dance at a hotel one evening
People go on and on about eating ‘Babi Guling’ or roast suckling pig so we went to a lovely, restful restaurant with a maze of greenery and tables dotted here and there, surrounded in water features that tinkled brightly in the background.
Seemed like a popular tourist stop but we spotted a few locals here too. In fact, they were visiting with large families so we were hopeful about the food. The restaurant was called the ‘Dirty Duck Diner’ or ‘Bebek Bengil.’ I passed on the suckling pig and chose a crispy duck creation instead, which turned out to be the house specialty. It was good. Ask your hotel or local taxi driver for names of the best restaurant that offers the best roasts in your area.
There are plenty of shack-like places lining the beaches where you can get a local beer and just chill for ages without worrying about someone asking you to leave. But, I’d recommend trying a shack where you’ll get a wide variety of gorgeous flavours and combinations of fruit and aromatic smoothies, blended with ginger, herbs, lime and fruit.
On Ubud high street, we came across a relaxing, open restaurant where we drank our body weight in coconut water to avoid dehydration and ate some spare ribs with rice to fill up our tummies. Great selection of drinks and if you are lucky enough to get one of the tables overlooking the street, its great for people-watching.