Mouth-watering cuisine to make your taste buds explode!
Indonesia is simply awash with so very many culinary delights of varying kinds and influences. The range of dishes available is simply staggering and probably unequaled anywhere else in the world. And the tourist mecca that is Bali is certainly no exception.
There are countless quality restaurants in Bali wherein you can experience the wonders and range of traditional Indonesian cuisine, but if it’s a taste of genuine authenticity you seek then the street foods are the place to go.
Dotted all over the idyllic Balinese streets, the vendors of these unique, traditional dishes sell them from stalls set up from motorbikes or even wheels. As astoundingly scrumptious as they are highly affordable, both the taste and overall range of culinary delights to be found on any typical Balinese sidewalk will take your breath away and have become a major tourist ‘bucket list’ item to savor and experience while there.
But with such a dizzying array of cuisines, what do you know what to order if you’re unfamiliar with the joys of Indonesian dishes? For this article, we compiled a list of some of the best traditional Balinese delights on offer that you can get right on the street.
A trademark and highly popular dish, Satay is made up of seasoned, skewered, and flame-grilled meat served with a dipping sauce on the side. The interesting thing about it is that the skewers are actually the midribs of the coconut palm frond, transferring a unique taste to the meat in the process. Cooked over a flame grill or charcoal, Satay is served with spicy flavorings with a peanut base.
Probably the finest Satay you’ll find in Bali is to be found at the Sindhu Night Market in Sanur. The market is a tourist hotspot, unsurprisingly, because of the range and quality of the delicacies served there, where you can experience authentic Balinese food from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm every day of the week.
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2. Nasi Jinggo
Another highly popular dish, this is a truly delicious mix of white/yellow rice served with side dishes of Sambal Goreng Tempeh (peanuts, anchovies,
and tempeh fried with sambal), serundeng (sauteed grated coconut), shredded chicken, fried noodles, and eggs.
This astounding combination of such a range of different food groups is served in small portions and wrapped in a banana leaf to be eaten on the go. It’s not just a wonderfully sumptuous clash of flavors but it is also eaten at religious ceremonies, meetings, and birthday celebrations.
You’ll have no trouble finding it anywhere in Bali, such is its popularity.
Rujak roughly translates as a colloquialism, meaning ‘an eclectic mix’, and they’re not kidding about that either!
A traditional fruit and vegetable salad, Rujak is renowned for its tangly, spicy zing. Made with a spicy dressing prepared from ground chili, palm sugar, and peanuts, mixed with varying kinds of sliced fruit and vegetables, and seasoned with a spicy palm sugar dressing.
The best spot for fresh Rujak is Gula Bali, where you can either chill in the spacious warung terraces or eat in the open air, taking in the sights and sounds of Bali.
A rightly famous and justifiably popular delicacy commonly found at street vendors across Bali, Bakso is a traditional Indonesian meatball commonly made from fish, chicken, pork, shrimp, or ground beef, and usually served with tapioca and salt.
Although the term ‘Bakso’ is singular in meaning, it has come to refer colloquially to the entire dish, which can also include meatball soup which is served with yellow noodles and white vermicelli.
Probably the best place to find authentic Bakso is the famous JI Dewi Sri food street market, wherein you’ll find many vendors lined up the full length of the street, which has a surprisingly chilled and serene atmosphere about it despite the hustle and bustle of countless vendors.
5. Sweet Corn
Hang on, I hear you say, sweet corn isn’t a traditional Indonesian dish… ah, but I haven’t told you just how they prepare it! There are many traditional ways to prepare it in Indonesia, including (but not limited to) Jagung Manis Keju (sweet corn with cheese), Perkedel Jagung (corn patties), traditional Indonesian corn fritters, and Bakar Pedas Manis (sweet and sour corn).
Sweet corn, being widely available and easy to prepare, is found everywhere around Bali so you won’t have to look very hard to find a good vendor serving it. A very popular place to get it is at the beaches of Jimbaran, Seminyak, and Sanur where the many tourists can experience sweet corn like they’ve never tasted before!
Watching the sun set on a beautiful Balinese beach while munching on a traditional Balinese corn dish… what could possibly be more idyllic?
This list, of course, is very far from exhaustive, the sheer range of Indonesian cuisine precludes such a list, but for reasons of brevity, our short list provided the 5 most popular dishes to get you started and useful as a guide. And one we hope will prove advantageous to you in your Balinese adventure. Selamat Siang!