14 Best Street Food You Must Try In Bali, Indonesia - Updated 2021

street food in bali
Arakita Rimbayana
Endorsed by Local Expert
Arakita Rimbayana

What comes to mind when you first think of Bali is the warm weather and the beautiful beaches. However, this would be a very simplistic way of looking at Bali, given that it is an all-round tropical destination with a myriad of things to offer to all kinds of travelers. Whether you love the ocean, jungles, history, culture, or you are just thrilled by meeting some of the most amazing people in the world, you can bet that Bali has something for you. Another vital feature of Bali travel is street food scenes. It has one of the most envied culinary diversities in Southeast Asia, and if you are a foodie headed to this region, you will be delighted to learn that a little food heaven awaits you on the beautiful streets of Bali. Learn about some of the best street food you must try in Bali, Indonesia.

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1. Sate lilit (grilled meat skewers)

Nasi Campur Bali Sate Lilit
Source: Photo by user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Sate Lilit is one of Bali’s classics and you will easily find it in most of the dining joints and street food stalls. It simply refers to grilled meat on skewers. But with Indonesia’s love for meat, this favorite is available in a variety of meats, with the major ones being beef, pork, fish and chicken. And with the culinary variations throughout the island, you will be blown away by the various modes of preparation the vendors use, as well as the blend of condiments used to give it extra powerful flavors. It is a very common sight on the streets and one you must try before leaving the island.

2. Bakso (Indonesian meatballs)

Bakso Daging Sapi
Source: Photo by user Christian Losari used under CC BY 2.0

Bakso is another highly popular street food, not just in Bali, but nearly in all the Indonesian cities, you will visit. They are meatballs, served with a hot broth, though most of the vendors love serving it with fried dumplings and noodles all in one hot pot. Vendors walk around with it in portable carts on the streets, and when you are away from the streets, you are likely to see them in modified motorcycles announcing their presence in the neighborhood.

Travel tip by Bali Local Expert - Arakita
Posted on: Nov 27, 2019

Bakso is probably my favorite Indonesian dish. Depending on where you are, you will get different kinds of Bakso dishes (e.g. different meat, different taste of the broth, and even different condiments in one bowl). If I had to choose, I'd go for Bakso Malang, a dish originally from Malang, East Java. If you would like to taste the best Bakso in Bali, try to find one that is originally from Bandung, West Java. This city of Indonesia is widely known for its Bakso dishes. You can go to Bakso Boedjangan in Sunset Road, Kuta, Bali. As someone who grew up in Bandung, I vouch for this Bakso restaurant!

3. Nasi jinggo (full dish of rice and vegetables)

Nasi jinggo
Source: Photo by user Okkisafire used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you ever come from a night out and you feel hungry the following morning, nasi jinggo will always be the favorite food to go for. It is a rice dish comprising of vegetables, shredded chicken, fried tempeh, shredded coconut, and a myriad of condiments. All of these are mixed and neatly tucked in a banana leaf, available only in very small portions. As such, it is a perfect on-the-go snack for most tourists, and though it comes in small portions, it is extremely satiating, so be sure not to take too many if you still want to continue sampling Bali’s street foods.

4. Terang bulan (a unique pancake)

::MARTABAK MANIS:: Resepnya disini:...

Posted by Resep Kue Kering Lebaran on Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Terang bulan is a type of pancake believed to have been invented for the military, but it is now considered a classic dessert in the Balinese course. It looks like a traditional pancake, though it features palm margarine, and coconut milk to give it the classic Balinese touch. When buying it from the street food vendors, you can always ask the seller to add crushed peanuts, sweet corn kernels, or cheese for extra flavors.

Travel tip by Bali Local Expert - Arakita
Posted on: Nov 28, 2019

Terang Bulan is also known in other parts of Indonesia, but with different names, mostly "Martabak Manis". It is thicker than pancakes, due to the addition of some type of yeast in the liquid dough. The classic filling would be chocolate and peanuts, but I would recommend grated cheese and condensed milk, so decadent! This dessert usually comes in a big portion which cut to pieces for easier munch.

5. Pisang rai (a snack of coated banana)

The fact that Bali is a tropical country makes it produce some of the best bananas in the world, and so you can expect to find a variety of banana-inspired snacks. Pisang rai is one of them. The snack is essentially a banana, coated in a homemade rice batter before it is steamed or boiled and then topped with freshly grated coconut. If you are looking for something to help you down your midmorning coffee or tea, then this will be one of the best accompaniments you will find on the streets of Bali.

6. Fish head soup

Fish Head Curry at Banana Leaf Apolo
Source: Photo by user JB Macatulad used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fish head soup may not get a lot of mention when talking about Balinese street foods, but it is one of the street wonders that many are yet to explore. If you are a seafood lover, then this is a must-try in Bali. The food features boiled fish head which is then served with fried mackerel and rice on the sides. The magic, however, lies in the ingredients and the flavors used in slow-boiling the fish.

7. Sweet corn

Roasted maize
Source: Photo by user Kateregga1 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sweet corn is the perfect snack when hanging around the beautiful beaches while you wait for the magical sunsets. Sweet corns are simply fresh corn on the cob that is grilled or roasted over charcoal. Before the grilling process, the corn is usually given a generous dose of butter and other sauces to enhance its endearing taste that tourists so love. While getting served, you are free to add a barbecue sauce or dry chili to its already incredible flavors.

8. Nasi tepeng (rice-based dish served in banana leaves)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Nasi tepeng is another street delight you will find in nearly all the food stalls in Bali. It is a rice dish, served on the traditional banana leaves, and it lies somewhere between porridge and rice. Depending on the vendor you get it from, it may be served with jackfruit, eggplant, beans, or fried chicken. With the pepper and all the flavors, it is a favorite way to fire your mornings and get your stomach prepped for what to follow after.

9. Jaje Bali (Balinese sweet dish)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Jaje Bali is a classic Balinese cake very popular in most of the street food stalls. You will usually find it in either white or green color, though the flavors will nearly be the same. The cake is made from rice flour, brown sugar sauce, and shredded coconut. It is a very simple snack, but extremely delicious.

Travel tip by Bali Local Expert - Arakita
Posted on: Nov 27, 2019

I lived for more than 4 years in Bali, yet I have never found one food stall selling the same Jaja Bali from one another. The components and ingredients may be the same, but they serve this sweet snack in their own way. However, they never disappoint me. Needless to say, you should go to the Balinese eatery for the best Jaja Bali. I like the one made of "Tape" or fermented sticky rice. It is less sweet but as delicious!

Jaja Bali with Tape
Jaja Bali with Tape

10. Laklak (Balinese traditional cake)

Laklak is another popular type of cake you won’t miss on Balinese street. Just like jaje Bali, laklak is also made from rice flour, with the main variation being that it contains additional ingredients that give it a different taste and texture from jaje Bali. For instance, among its ingredients are a variety of herbs with the major ones being pandan leaves and suji leaves. In most food stalls, laklak is usually served with a brown sugar sauce to give it a distinctive savory taste that not only adds to its sweetness but also make it somehow addictive.

11. Babi guling (Balinese roasted suckling pig)

Babi Guling-Roast suckling pig-01
Source: Photo by user Jeff McNeill used under CC BY 2.0

Babi guling used to be just another normal street food in Bali, but it grew in popularity so much that fine dining restaurants started including it in its menus. Though Indonesians are Muslims, who generally won’t touch pork as food, the case is different when you are in Bali. The dominant religion in Bali is Hinduism and they have no problem eating pork, with babi guling being a street favorite. The dish is mainly suckling pigs roasted as a whole over an open fire. Before roasting, they are stuffed with all manner of spices and condiments, including lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and pepper. The roasting process is very slow so that in the end, you end up with a tender, juicy, crispy white meat usually served with fresh green vegetables, white rice, and salads.

12. Nasi campur (mixed rice)

Nasi campur bebek 1
Source: Photo by user Midori used under CC BY 3.0

This is simply rice mixed with eggs, meat, and vegetables. It is a very popular choice, mostly preferred by people just getting acquainted with Balinese foods and are still not sure of what to order. When ordering the rice, you will also choose the kind of side dishes you want it to come with – the popular choices being tempeh, tofu or sate.

13. Lawar (rice meal combo)

Lawar babi guling
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ybs used under CC BY 2.0

Lawar a popular rice meal featuring a mixture of vegetables, meats, herbs, and coconut. It is normally a hearty meal with a distinctive taste of jackfruits which forms part of its ingredients. Again, lawar is always red and this is because pig blood also forms part of its rich ingredients. Depending on where you get it from, the meal can be served with roast pig or babi guling as a side dish.

14. Bubur mengguh (rice porridge)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Bubur mengguh refers to rice porridge featuring green beans, chicken, and fried peanuts, all cooked with galangal. When being served, additional sauces and condiments may feature, with the most common ones being hazelnut, turmeric, shallots, ground pepper, and onions. For extra richness and smoothness, you can request the vendor to some coconut oil. The sight of this dish may not seem appealing, but the aromas and the flavors that will be delivered when it hits your tongue will make you fall in love with it.

Enjoy the rich culinary diversity on the streets of Bali

It is pleasing to take a stroll down the Balinese streets and be hit with different rich flavors with every turn you make. The streets are full of various kinds of foods, with some unique and distinct to Bali. If you are a foodie, don’t be fooled that you can sample all the delicacies in just a day. But if that’s the amount of time you have, read the above to discover some of the best foods you must try in Bali, Indonesia.

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This article has been endorsed by Bali local expert Arakita Rimbayana (curator)

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