Food in both Bali and Indonesia is influenced by religion, Hinduism and Islam. The basic ingredients are rice and noodles supplemented with vegetables, tofu, eggs and various spice mixtures. Meat is used here in very small quantities, as it is quite expensive. The dishes are very tasty and eye-catching, as they are very colorful. Balinese eat exclusively with their hands, and in less touristy areas you may not even get cutlery. It is a very pleasant experience and something new that you may hardly see in many other countries.
Typical national dishes of Bali
Bali is unlike Muslim Indonesia, favoring Hinduism, in many dishes can get pork, which Islam forbids. Balinese food is based on quick preparation, variety and palatability. It is also characterized by a combination of different spices, such as turmeric, ginger, nutmeg or coriander. Most meals are supplemented with rice or noodles, either cooked or fried. The only thing you don’t expect in Bali is beef, which is forbidden by Hinduism.
Nasi Goreng is simply fried rice with a fried egg. Typically Indonesian food is served at every restaurant or snack bar. Rice tends to be brown, as caramelized soy sauce is added to it. It is usually mixed with chicken or shrimp and a pile of vegetables. It is usually flavored with chili or garlic.
Barbed pig Babi guling
Balinese specialty, pork butcher, or Babi guling. Among the locals, this is a very important meal, which is most often prepared during some festivities or celebrations. Tourists can also have it at some restaurants, where it is usually cooked behind a glass shop window, either on a grill or already sliced. Meat with a crispy skin, which is achieved by pouring coconut milk, is served with rice.
Nasi Campur is prepared differently in each part of Indonesia. In Bali, it is a mix of rice with grilled tuna, pieces of beef, fried tofu, spinach, corn, cucumber, and the whole thing is spiced with a mixture of Balinese spices and served on a banana leaf.
Betutu is a dish well known throughout Indonesia, but it is most popular in Bali and Lombok. It is roasted or stewed poultry marinated in a rich mixture of spices, in which we see, for example, garlic, turmeric, ginger, shallots or shrimp paste. It is sometimes prepared for spicy lovers by mixing onion rings with chili peppers and coconut oil. This food is very popular among tourists.
Pepes is not a pure dish, but it is a method of cooking. The base is a banana leaf, which is stuffed with food, rolled and then grilled or stewed. The banana leaf is discarded after cooking, it is not edible. The pepes method is used mainly for meat, fish, seafood or, for example, mushrooms or tofu.
The Indonesian dish Lawar comes directly from Bali. It is a mixture of vegetables, minced meat and coconut, the whole is flavored with herbs and various spices. The vegetable base consists of green beans, fried shallots, lime leaves and grated coconut, all fried in coconut oil. In some corners of Bali, pig or chicken blood is added to the food to give it the special taste.
Food prices in Bali
As Bali is a popular destination, local businesses have become accustomed to tourists being willing to pay for good food. In restaurants, prices are comparable or often higher than in other countries such as the US, the UK. But if we live like a local and eat in street stalls, local small restaurants or warungs (local buffets), you will save a lot, but you will also enjoy it very much. If you are not demanding much, you will pay around 1.34 USD. In mid-range restaurants you may pay around 5 USD for food, and at high-end restaurants you may pay even more than 9 USD.
Where you can best find yourself in Bali
In Bali you can eat well almost everywhere. It depends on the choice of food and business. You can try more expensive restaurants, but also so-called warungy or fast food buffets, where mostly locals eat. If you chooses what suits your tastes, we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.