What are the best local dishes in Bali?

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Mutia Adisoma

Exploring Indonesia’s local cuisine can be very exciting and rewarding, but first be sure to give yourself enough time to adjust to being in this tropical environment before you dig into anything too exotic. This will help you avoid what is known as “Bali Belly,” an unofficial term for stomach pains resulting from adventurous eating. To ease into the local cuisine, start with Indonesian favorites like sate (meat skewers), gado-gado (Indonesian salad with peanut dressing), Indonesian fried rice or fried noodles, and soto ayam (fragrant chicken soup). Made’s Warung is a great place to try these--it has two locations (Seminyak and Kuta) and is a favorite amongst foreign and domestic tourists alike. Once you are ready you can tackle Balinese specialties such as the famous babi guling (suckling pig), betutu chicken, sate lilit (Balinese satay), and lawar (spicy vegetable and meat dish). Naughty Nuri's makes the most famous babi guling; their Ubud location is no frills but delicious. For upscale dining, Mama San in Seminyak is a wonderful option with a striking interior. Their menu is Asian fusion but highlights Balinese cuisine from time to time. Another option is Merah Putih, which recently opened in Seminyak and is the newest attempt at presenting Indonesian cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere. They have Balinese favorites like babi guling included in their menu.

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