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10 Must-try Foods In Bali And Where To Have Them

After a long day of roaming freely on the tropical beaches and exploring the sacred temples and the vibrant culture of Bali, you’ll probably be starving and just want to quickly grab something to eat. But do skip all the burgers or grilled skewers that you may find along the road. Bali food is much more than that. All the mouth-watering dishes are based on traditional Indonesian cuisine, added with some unpredictable twists of local ingredients and spices. Besides, there are also not as many Muslims in Bali as in other parts of Indonesia, so don’t be surprised when you see many pork dishes popping up on the menus here. 

Stick to what the locals eat and you will know why Bali is so loved by foodie-travelers. I know you are hungry too, so here is a complete Bali food guide with all the must-eat dishes including some street foods, desserts, and where to find them.

1. Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur (Indonesian for 'mixed rice') is simply a humble white rice dish, served with small portions of many other side dishes such as curries, eggs, fried tempeh, shredded chicken, minced chicken skewers (Sate Lilit), and Balinese vegetable salad (Urab). Each time you order a Nasi Campur, you can choose the side dishes, depending on your personal taste. So it's the best choice for you to sample all the local food in one bite. 

nasi campur

Best places to eat:

- Warung Wardani - Yudistira, Denpasar (Jl. Yudistira No.2, Dangin Puri Kauh, Kec. Denpasar Utara, Kota Denpasar, Bali)
- Warung Nasi Ayam Bu Oki (Jl. Siligita Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan No.27, Benoa, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Bu Mi (Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.52, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Cafe Wayan & Bakery (Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)

2. Nasi Goreng

Also a rice dish but Nasi Goreng is fried rice one, usually served with eggs, which are mixed in the rice during cooking or on the top of the rice as decoration. The rice is precooked and then seasoned with shallots, garlic, chili, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste). Kecap manis gives the rice a dark brown, caramelized color and balances out the sweet, salty and savory flavors of other ingredients, while the shrimp paste will add an authentic flavor as a finishing note. 

Best places to eat:

- Ons Waroeng (Jl. Pantai Berawa Pelambingan No.21, Tibubeneng, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Dedalu (Jl. Petitenget No.235, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Bollero Resto & Bar (Jl. Dewisita No.1, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)

3. Mie Goreng

Similar to Nasi Goreng, but fried noodles instead of rice. Inspired by the Chinese dish “Chow Mein”, Mie Goreng has become one of the most common dishes of the locals. Despite its simple look with just egg noodles, soy sauce, some vegetables and meat of choice, this dish might be your most favorite one after all. 

And good news is that you can also easily make Mie Goreng at home with the instant noodle called Indomie in your supermarket. It can’t taste 100% as good as the dish in Bali, but it can at least curb your craving after leaving the island.

Best places to eat:

- Warung Tujuh (Jl. Lb. Bene No.18x, Legian Kelod, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Ulekan (Jl. Tegal Sari Jl. Pantai Berawa No.34, Canggu, Bali)
- Cafe Kami (Jl. Dhyana Pura No.101, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)

4. Babi Guling

This is definitely the most famous dish in Bali for sure. After being rubbed with turmeric, the whole pig will be seasoned with various local spices (coriander seeds, lemongrass, lime leaves, salam leaves, chillies, black pepper, garlic, red shallots, ginger and lesser galangal) and then be slowly roasted over a fire to perfection. 

In the past, babi guling was only served in religious celebrations, but now you can enjoy the sweet and tender taste of the pork in many local restaurants. The most famous one is Ibu Oka in Ubud, where Chef Anthony Bourdain visited for its Bali Guiling on his show “No Reservations”.

Best places to eat:

- Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 1 (Jl. Suweta No.1, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)
- Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen (Jl. Sunset Road No.554, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobiel Nusa Dua (Jl. Srikandi No.9, Benoa, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali)

If you also want to follow Anthony Bourdain’s “Foodsteps” in Southeast Asia, this tour was designed for you.

5. Gado Gado

This plant-based Indonesian salad is worth to try if you are a vegetarian. Tempeh, tofu, cucumbers, bean sprout, kidney beans, and sometimes eggs. While your eyes are still enjoying a colorful feast, a special peanut sauce dressing will be added on top to spice it up.

Best places to eat:

- Chez Gado Gado (Jl. Camplung Tanduk No.99, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Made's Warung (Jl. Raya Seminyak, Seminyak, Kuta, Jl. Raya Seminyak No.7, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Laba - laba (Jl. Hanoman No.49, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)

6. Satay - Skewer

No one leaves Bali without tasting its most popular street food treat: Sate or Satay. Different from other skewered meat in other Southeast-Asia countries with sliced meat, Balinese satay is minced seasoned meat wrapped around bamboo or lemongrass sticks. And you can find this culinary specialty in almost every street food vendor. Nothing can satisfy your hungry tummy as quick and tasty as a hot Satay skewer. 

Best places to eat:

- Sate Babi Bawah Pohon (Jalan Dewi Sri IV Campuhan I No.I, Legian, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Naughty Nuri's Warung Seminyak (Jalan Mertanadi No. 62 Kerobokan Seminyak, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Pulau Kelapa ( G733+W73, Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Lungsiakan, Kedewatan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)

7. Pepes Ikan

In Indonesia, Pepes is a traditional cooking method using banana leaves to wrap food. Pepes Ikan is literally a whole marinated fish, and then will be steamed using this method. It can help the fish to absorb all the flavors from the marinade sauce and keep its natural aroma inside the banana leaf. The result is a hot, steamy and juicy fish that makes your mouth watering at the first sight. Mackerel, sardines, and snapper are the most common fish used for Pepes Ikan.

Best places to eat:

- Warung Be Pasih (Jl. Pemuda III No.24, Renon, Denpasar Selatan, Kota Denpasar, Bali)
- Pondok Tempo Doeloe (Jl. Sunset Road No.8, Kuta, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali)
- Warung Ongan Asri Ikan Bakar Jimbaran (Jl. Noja Saraswati, Kesiman Petilan, Kec. Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali)

8. Pisang Goreng

Pisang Goreng is deep-fried bananas - a popular sweet snack that also can be found in other neighboring countries. When the bananas are ripe enough, they will be coated with batter and then deep-fried in hot oil until turning brown. Crispy on the outside, but sweet and creamy inside. That is the snack that the locals love to enjoy during tee or coffee time. But you can try it with ice cream too.

Best places to eat:

- Gangga Coffee Ubud (Jl. Raya Andong No.11, Peliatan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)
- Hotdoh Pisang Goreng, Pulau Komodo (Jl. Pulau Komodo, Dauh Puri Klod, Kec. Denpasar Bar., Kota Denpasar, Bali)

9. Laklak

While wandering around traditional markets on the island, it’s not hard to see some locals happily enjoying these sweet, green, bite-size cakes in their hands. Laklak is a traditional cake of Bali, which is made out of rice flour, salt, coconut milk, suji leaf water, and pandan leaf water. It’s the suji and pandan leaf water that give the cake the naturally green color. For some flavorful boost, Laklak is usually served with melted brown sugar and shredded coconut topping.

Best places to eat:

- Laklak Bali Rama (Jl. Ahmad Yani Utara No.154, Peguyangan, Kec. Denpasar Utara, Kota Denpasar, Bali)
- Laklak Biu Penebel Men Bayu (Jl. Raya Babahan Senganan No.13, Penebel, Kec. Penebel, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali)
- Warung Laklak (Jl. Tukad Pancoran IV No.14, Panjer, Denpasar Selatan, Kota Denpasar, Bali)

10. Crispy duck

Another dish that should not be missed in Bali is the Crispy Duck. Firstly, the half duck will be seasoned with traditional Balinese spices, and then steamed. After that, it will be deep-fried in hot oil for a crispy texture, but the tenderness still remains. Rice or potato chips are served as side dishes as well. This mouth-watering dish will tempt you even more when it comes with Bali sambal -  a spicy and refreshing condiment that goes well with just about everything.

Best places to eat:

- Bebek Bengil (Jl. Hanoman, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)
- Warung Eropa (Petitenget St No.9D, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Badung Regency, Bali)
- Laka Leke Restaurant (Jl. Nyuh Bojog No.32, MAS, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali)

Join us on this food adventure to explore the scrumptious food scenes and savor all the tasty, delicious dishes of Bali.

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