By Rebekah Bresee
Bali’s unique culture and beautiful beaches draw visitors from around the world. As a booming tourist destination, there are plenty of restaurants that serve familiar cuisine. But if you want the ultimate Bali experience, be sure to extend your palate with these tasty Balinese dishes.
This is Bali’s version of satay, the classic meat-on-a-stick dish. Seasoned meat, either chicken or pork, is skewered and barbecued over hot coals. You can find sate at any busy market or street fair as it is a popular street food, but you’ll also spot it on menus of sit-down restaurants, too.
Be siap sambal matah (chicken in ‘raw’ sambal)
Sambal is a sauce with a chili pepper base often used in Indonesian cuisine—it’s exotic, a little spicy and delicious. This dish uses a “raw” sambal of shallots, lemongrass, chilies, coconut oil, shrimp paste, salt and lime leaves. Shredded chicken is coated with the sauce and served with a side of rice.
Another Indonesian staple, nasi campur is white rice served with small portions of meat, vegetables, peanuts and eggs. One of the more popular versions of nasi campur is grilled chicken with spicy sambal.
This is a classic Indonesian dish—fried noodles mixed with chicken and vegetables, served with a fried egg on top. Some people prefer getting an omelet rather than a fried egg on top. Depending on where you get it, mie goreng may come with a side of sate with peanut sauce and a pickle. The dish is served everywhere from street food vendors to high-end restaurants.
Sate Lilit Ikan
If you’re a seafood lover, try a fish satay. Minced fish—mixed with coconut milk and lemon juice—and herbs are wrapped around a skewer, grilled over a charcoal fire pit, and served with a sambal of shallots and chilies. A local and tourist favorite!
Bebek betutu (slow cooked duck)
Originally a ceremonial dish, the duck is stuffed with eggs, cassava leaves and a special spice mix called bumbu rajeng. After it’s wrapped in betel nut husks, the bird is slow-cooked to perfection.
Babi guling (suckling pig)
Babi guling is a local favorite and something many tourists aim to try, too. The pig is stuffed with common Indonesian spices such as turmeric and coriander seeds, and roasted whole. This dish is truly unique to Bali as the rest of Indonesia is mainly Muslim and pork is not part of the cuisine. However, if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll probably want to skip this one!
Need something a little sweet? Try this Balinese dessert! Bubur injin is a black sticky rice pudding usually served with fruit like mango or banana. This dish is usually found at upscale restaurants.