When in Bali, never miss the chance to try out their local Balinese food. The most recommended place to visit is the warungs of Bali vendors, offering simple roadside dining spots and their special local cuisines. With authentic vibes, warung is not your usual high-end dining place. They serve affordable yet delicious portions of amazing local Bali food that will take you for an extraordinary culinary spin.
So if you are ready to forgo all fancy restaurants with lavish setting and flows of melody from the bar, it is time you try one of these 10 gems of local food in Bali:
1. JIMBARAN SEAFOOD CAFE – JIMBARAN
The combination of sunsets and seafood can make for a heavenly pair. Serving the best BBQ, grills, drinks and other excellent dishes, these restaurants will never fail to deliver the freshest and most scrumptious seafood of the day. With panoramic beach, sea, and the sun in front of you, these rows of 17 restaurants in total will spoil you with their endless food choices, not just seafood. Pick from the selection of barbecue sauces and types of fish from your usual grouper to the more exotic ones like barracuda to mahi- mahi. Needless to say, this place will be packed but definitely worth your visit.
2. WARUNG NASI BALI MEN WETI, SANUR
Located at Pantai Segara in Sanur, you will soon spot a crowded small shop that sells a simple Balinese mixed rice. Serving until noon only, this warung serves a mean spicy mix rice with the usual Bali spiced roast chicken, betutu, chicken skin, sate lilit, chicken soup and many other choices. Men Weti aka the owner prepares all these herself before hurriedly continues to man her store to feed hungry travellers, from all over the places.
3. WARUNG ENY, SEMINYAK
At the upscale area of Petitenget, Seminyak and among the luxury estates and international restaurants, is an authentic, small, and homey Warung Eny. It is owned by a family of Balinese who takes business with true local spirit. The display consists of spices and fresh vegetables while further at back, there’s an open kitchen that is common in the setting of your usual Bali’s home. Serving mixed rice with variety of sides and trademark hot sambal sauce that you can request to your preference. They will even make it right in front of you with the tools and ingredients in the front stall. This small eatery makes for an odd sight among the high-end restaurants, especially with the endless stream of crowd who have travelled all over to get a taste of authentic local Bali food. If you’d like to get to know their dishes more, sign up at the cooking class that they often organize and you’ll be sure to enjoy learning a homemade local cuisine of their calibre.
4. NASI AYAM KEDEWATAN BU MANGKU, UBUD
This is a favorite lunch stop for passerby who happen to get through Kedewatan. As their reputation for serving extra tasty chicken rice spreads, many foreigners soon will make the trip to get a taste of it. It has even brought a spark of many other “nasi ayam” sellers along the road of Kedewatan- Ubud, but many locals still head to Bu Mangku’s simply because of its originality and best taste. The set up is clean, comfortable, and homey, making an irresistible authentic atmosphere for dining on a rich rice dish along with sauced chicken strips, boiled eggs, chicken sate, and other options of sides and hot sauces.
5. AYAM BETUTU GILIMANUK, TUBAN
Two signature main dishes that belong to Bali’s pride are Babi Guling and Betutu. Both involves long preparation and arduous cooking process, which is why the two were served for religious purposes or temple related occasions in the past. Betutu style preparation usually includes chicken and duck that are stuffed, marinated with rich spices before wrapped in banana leaves for slow cooking using coal. The result is juicy and succulent meat that rips right out off the bone.
While the prep and cooking process may be long and tedious, several local businesses have managed to serve Betutu on a daily service. At Raya Tuban street is Ayam Betutu Gilimanuk who has harnessed the technique exceptionally well. With branches in Kuta, Nusa Dua and Denpasar, it is a name that can’t be missed when you crave for quality local Bali dish. They also offer plenty of other menu including refreshing dessert that you can’t find anywhere else!
6. WARUNG MAK BENG, SANUR
For a taste of fish soup in Bali, get to Sanur and search for Warung Mak Beng. Using the fresh daily catch, this warung opens late and closes early with limited menu of seafood, soup and an assortment of sambal. The humble venue may look unassuming but the dish, especially the soup, it deservingly popular. The soup base is spicy and hot, yet fragrant and makes for the perfect companion to rice. The fried selections are also to die for as evident by the long queue for this Sanur legend. Going strong since 1941, there is yet any plan to bring in any modern piece of cooling air conditioners or lavish expansion. But you’ll soon see why the fan and seabreeze will actually further complement the incredible experience of having this hot dish for a meal.
7. TIPAT TAHU GERENCENG, DENPASAR
If you’re looking for something unique and truly authentic, head on to Denpasar for a taste of Tipat Tahu Gerenceng. Tipat is local tongue for “ketupat”, a famous Indonesian dish in form of diamond shape rice dumplings that packed in a woven coconut leaf packets and boiled in rich soup. While tahu means tofu and this particular dish is served with peanut and sweet soy sauce, rice crackers and bean sprouts. Together they make for a tummy-filling and perfect meal. The small warung that sells this is located on the intersection of Jalan Sutomo and Gajahmada Denpasar. The price is relatively cheap but the taste it very tasty. Together with a cold drink, you’ll be sure to enjoy this hearty meal to the fullest.
8.WARUNG RUJAK GULA BALI, DENPASAR
Warung Rujak Gula Bali is one of the reasons why Denpasar is crowded with visitors looking for tasty culinary treats. Rujak is a mixed fruit salad with spicy sauce that is rich with traditional flavours. There are other unmissable delicacies such as tipat cantok ( another keputat dish), bulung or seaweed salad with fish stock, and endless choices of Balinese desserts that will put restaurant ones to shame. Enjoy sweet gelatinous boiled bananas or kolak, sweet rice porridge, glass jelly drinks and steamed cassavas with rich palm sugar and coconut milk.
9. LAWAR KUWIR MEN SONO, BADUNG
What exactly is Lawar? It is yet another traditional Bali dishes that use coconut, snake beans and chopped pork with fresh blood. Yeap, bizarre as that sounds, lawar is commonplace with variety in colors such as red for blood, or white for vegetarian version. Besides pork, duck is often used and is called Kuwir. The one place to try this exotic dish has to be at Badung’s own – Lawar Kuwir Men Sono. With rustic setting, you can’t miss spotting this shop that is on the way to Sangeh Monkey Forest. Pretty soon you will know why Lawar makes this list!
10. BABI GULING PAK MALEN, SEMINYAK
This list is not complete until you’ve seen a Babi Guling, or particularly Pak Malen’s Babi Guling. Iconic in his own way, this suckling pig is a whole-roast piece that is often sought after by travellers when in Bali. Babi Guling Pak Malen is strategically located in Seminyak, but still keeps its true local setting which sparks interests of locals and also foreigners. It is crowded at any time of the day serving eager eaters who can’t wait to dive in this succulent dish along with tasty drinks on the side. A complete meal consists of rice, surrounded by crispy roasted pork with crunchy skin, sate, and a mix of vegetable with shredded coconut mix. You will also get a bowl of soup with fruits as dessert. Despite the price that might be deemed high to some, this place definitely worth every buzz it gets.