You have conquered its tropical beach and fell in love with its hospitality, now it’s time to dive into its unique culinary world! For many years, The Island of God, Bali has been attracting tourists from around the world. Ask any of your wanderlust friends, this island is most likely to be on their bucket list, if not already visited. Its fame surpassed its own country, Indonesia, for reasons you cannot deny. Here, you can find all kinds of beaches; rocky, sandy, pristine, and even party beach filled with a vibrant nightlife. On the other side, this island is heaven for cultural exploration along with rich tradition and history. But the excitement does not stop there. Bali also offers unique cuisine you will not find anywhere else, even in other parts of Indonesia. As someone who lived in Bali for five years, I can vouch for this statement. Keep reading to find out what and where to try some of the most distinctive Balinese food!
This one is for spicy lovers! “Bulung” by itself is a type of seaweed. Balinese Bulung dish is basically a fresh salad with a distinctive savory and spicy flavor. Its main ingredient is, of course, bulung mixed with beansprouts and sometimes topped with shredded coconut, in a spicy broth-like clear sauce. The combination of fresh ingredients and spicy sauce will definitely wake you up. Bulung is great as both an appetizer or afternoon snack, but Balinese also enjoy it after a meal, making it is some sort of dessert as well.
You can get Bulung in most eateries that serve Balinese traditional food. Keep in mind that they probably only speak a little English or not at all, so it will be a challenge to order especially if they don’t provide any menu. So, I recommend you to go to Gula Bali The Joglo, a traditional Balinese eatery with a printed menu so you can easily point “Bulung” on the menu, in case the staff doesn’t speak any English. Read more about this eatery on Gula Bali The Joglo: Get A Taste Of All Balinese Cuisine In One Spot!. The price of Bulung ranges from 5,000 IDR to 15,000 IDR (around 0.36 USD to 1 USD), depending on where you get it.
Gula Bali The Joglo
Address: Jl. Merdeka II No.9, Sumerta Kelod, Kec. Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80239, Indonesia
Opening Hours: 8 am – 5 pm (every day) however, most dishes are sold out after lunch hour, so please visit early to avoid disappointment
Rujak Kuah Pindang
If you have been indulging in Indonesian cuisine, you’re probably familiar with rujak. This type of dish is popular in many parts of Indonesia, especially in Java. Basically, it is a type of fruit salad. What makes Balinese rujak different than other rujak dishes in Indonesia is its savory flavor instead of sweet. Also, instead of thick palm sugar and peanut sauce, this type of Balinese rujak uses clear savory fish sauce. This is strange even to Indonesians, but that’s what makes it unique.
Like Bulung, you can find Rujak Kuah Pindang in most Balinese eateries, such as Gula Bali The Joglo. The price of one rujak dish varies from 5,000 IDR to 15,000 IDR (around 0.36 USD to 1 USD). Rujak Kuah Pindang usually consists of freshly cut young mango, jicama, jambu air, and cucumber. It also comes in sweet variant, “Rujak Kuah Pindang Gula”.
Walk around the streets of Bali and you will see a lot of “Nasi Campur” written on local eateries’ menu. “Nasi” is Indonesian for “rice”, and “campur” is “mixed”. As you can tell from its name, Nasi Campur is basically a rice dish mixed with a lot of stuff (lauk) on the side. Every eatery and restaurant will have their own version of Nasi Campur, but expect to have at least one protein and one or two veggie mix. The best part is that you can choose whatever you like with your rice, and as many combinations as you want. Of course, the more you choose, the more you have to pay. If they have the option, I recommend “Pepes Tuna” as your choice of protein. It is spicy tuna steamed in banana leaf. So good! One plate of Nasi Campur starts from 10,000 IDR (0.72 USD).
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When you choose your Nasi Campur lauk, consider saving some room for dessert. While in Bali, try the popular “Jaja Bali” which literally means “Balinese snack”. There are many kinds of Jaja Bali, so you may not get the same kind from one restaurant to another. This dessert dish usually consists of sugary starch, such as sticky rice, rice cake, or other types of steamed sweet cakes made of rice and flour mixed with all kinds of chewy sweets. Whichever restaurant you choose for a yummy plate of Jaja Bali, expect something filling, creamy, and sweet. One portion of Jaja Bali is usually sold around 10,000 IDR (0.72 USD).
Balinese vegan food
You’re probably thinking there’s nothing traditional or unique about vegan food since you can get it almost anywhere in the world these days. Let me change your mind. With Balinese Hinduism being the main religion on the island, many have been practicing veganism even before this type of diet became popular. Therefore, you can find many vegan and vegetarian restaurants here that serve traditional food. When you’re not in the mood for salad or hummus, do visit these restaurants for something different like vegan Soto, a bowl of veggies and plant-based protein in a rich broth. Find this dish in one of the Top 5 Vegan Restaurants In Bali .
Beautiful beaches, friendly people, unique dishes
Complete your Bali experience with unique dishes you can only find in this part of Indonesia. With these 5 dishes, you are not just eating for sustenance, but also enjoying an adventure with your taste buds! So, which one of these dishes will you try first?
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