Indonesian cuisine has been widely admired by food lovers and travelers across the globe. In fact, the food in Indonesia is regarded as one of the best in the world due to the wide range of distinctive flavors which in a way highlights the cultural diversity of this country. Bali is probably the most popular destination for people traveling to Indonesia and there are thousands of food options spread across the island. Being a popular tourist attraction, there are plenty of restaurants serving foods from different parts of the world. Western, Mediterranean, Italian, German, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai – name it and you will find it here. Bali is probably one of the many tourist destinations where restaurants serving international cuisine outnumber the ones serving local food especially in the popular tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud. During my six trips to Bali since June 2015, I took to the local food and that is how I fell in love with Indonesian cuisine. I must agree that it was real fun to try out the local food in Bali and here are five places that are definitely worth a visit if you want to try some of the best local food in Bali.
Warung Made, Seminyak & Kuta
“Chicken Betutu”, my friend answered when I asked her what is that one particular dish that is iconic to Bali. And she took me to this restaurant in Seminyak. The place had a rural old-world charm to it with dim lighting and modest looking furniture. This restaurant has an outlet in Kuta which has similar setting but has a smaller area. This restaurant chain is quite popular with tourists for some pretty amazing local food in Bali. Coming to the food, I went just for the Chicken Betutu. This traditional Balinese dish is basically steamed chicken seasoned and stuffed with traditional spices. It is served with rice, vegetables, roasted peanuts and an assortment of spicy sauces. The chicken looked yummy alright and it was delightfully tasty with the perfectly mixed spices adding all the flavors. This was arguably the best food I had in Bali !!
Bebek Tepi Sawah, Ubud
The biggest advantage of having a local friend accompany you during your travels is that you get to visit some hidden gems. This restaurant is one such delightful place located in Ubud that not many tourists would know of. With a wonderful rustic and rural outdoor location, this restaurant is built like a farm in itself and is well known for its duck specialties. Small open huts instead of the usual table-chair arrangement for the dining area around a small pond makes for an amazing experience in natural surroundings. With a setting that good, the food wasn’t far behind. One of the restaurant specials, Bebek Pangang or Slow-Grilled Duck was my lunch. The dish was served with rice, vegetables and three kinds of spicy sauce. The entire combination was so spicy, I was literally red-faced yet I enjoyed every bit of it. A place definitely worth visiting and a dish worth trying if you can tolerate spicy food.
Nasi Bali, Legian
This restaurant is located right on the main stretch of Legian Street that runs across Kuta and Legian areas. The decor is quite simplistic although the restaurant itself is quite spacious. It is the food here that deserves a five star rating. Local favorites like Nasi Campur (Steamed rice served with vegetables and meat/fish/egg) and Nasi Goreng are very popular with the tourists visiting this place. I went for the Nasi Campur with meat addons. The service took a while but the taste of the food was worth all the wait. The price might seem a bit on the higher side for budget travelers however, the food here is among the best in Bali.
Warung Mina, Legian
This is yet another place located on Legian Street that serves some quite amazing seafood. With an extensive list of local seafood items to choose from, the fish preparations here are absolutely wonderful. Whether it is the grilled, barbecued or fried fish, the spices are nicely complimented to bring out all the distinct flavors of the dish. You will have nothing but a fulfilling experience for your taste buds once you try out some of their local Balinese dishes. The restaurant has a cozy and laid-back vibe to it with a live band playing on some evenings. I was particularly impressed with the furniture which is put together from slabs of raw wood, giving the whole place a pleasantly rustic and natural look.
Kuta Night Market
Probably one of the most chilled-out places to eat in crazy Kuta, a group of small Warungs (Indonesian for restaurant) located a few meters inside an alleyway make up for what people know as the Kuta Night Market. Do not let the name fool you as the restaurants are open during the day too. The food here is as real and authentic as it can get in Bali with the prices being quite cheap. You could have a plate of rice and vegetables/meat and a juice for as low as 20,000 – 30,000 IDR. Tasty local food with cheap prices makes this place a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Bali is a big place with a lot of fantastic choice of bars and restaurants. There might be some even better than the ones I have listed. During my six trips to Bali, these are the five places where I have had the best local food. Indonesian food as such is very diverse with different regions having their own special foods. Trying out the local foods of a region is one of the reasons why I travel. Most people call it an incentive but some people might not take to local food that much. However, getting to taste the local food surely makes our travels quite memorable.