Bali is special in a lot of ways. I don’t usually write about food when traveling, but the Balinese colorful markets, such variety of fruit and spices, along with few unusual meals I had on the island, came to be truly memorable.
Just imagine – rainy day, beautiful rice fields inland, the road curving up into the hills… But wait, let me tell you about the “touristy” part first.
Like in any other place on earth where tourists flock from all around the world, you will find the variety of international cuisines in Bali as well. Sure, you can grab some fast food in the capital Denpasar, but then again – you can have that anywhere else in the world. Why not immerse into the culture you came to visit, right!
There are few touristy spots on the island, meaning that they are usually crowded, huge in dimensions in order to welcome all the guests, with mixed dishes in case you stick to your own familiar food, and they are a bit more expensive than any other “smaller” place. Never the less, bear in mind that this still comes cheap to people coming from the West. So, don’t try to save on your food, there’s no reason for that in Bali and do go to those touristy places. Why? Well, because it would just be a pity to miss few of them!
You have probably heard of the Mount Agung in the past few months. It’s the Bali volcano that has erupted in August 2017 and, even though no life-threatening eruption has occurred since, smaller ones have kept people on edge. The threat level has been lowered and raised a few times, and so the locals are evacuating and coming back. It surely had an impact on tourism. After all, the Mt. Agung volcano had erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 people. Hopefully, it will settle down and people will still flock to the island from all over the world.
And here is why I am mentioning the volcano when speaking about food. Mt. Agung dominates the landscape of Bali and it gives you one breathtaking view of its peak from afar. And so, the Balinese have opened the restaurant with the view. Not just any view, but with the view of the Bali volcano! It’s not morbid as it might sound, because the landscape is gorgeous whether you know it’s the volcano or not. There is one long terrace placed on the high hill overlooking the green valley, the Mt. Agung peak in the distance and few clouds in the sky. The landscape is just too beautiful to miss if you are on the island!
You will have a range of dishes to choose from at the buffet. I had my lunch here while taking a break from going around this part of the island. I spent few hours at the Mother Temple on the Mt. Agung slopes and this was such a perfect place to refresh, have a meal, coffee and some fruit – with the mesmerizing view.
One more touristy, but not to be missed place is the seafood restaurant I have already mentioned in one of the previous posts. I was trying to eat my first crab at the beach table while the guide teased me that we might be washed away by the high tide by the time I finish my dish, remember?
When you travel to Bali, you will certainly go and see the rice terraces. They are not hard to find since the moment you start driving inland, you will come across green hills with layers that resemble huge steps. Local guides will know where to take you in order to have the best views and take some of the best photos.
That day, I was going around the town of Ubud and wanted to have a lunch break at some local place, far from the crowds. It was raining again and we were driving up the hill. People were walking up the road carrying goods on their heads and a banana leaf or sometimes – the actual umbrella in their hands. Lovely valley was opening before my eyes on the left and the small house with the terrace emerged up on the hill. It was the restaurant, at the perfect location!
Even though it was raining, it didn’t diminish the impression of overlooking the rice field valley. The place was empty. Few tables out on the terrace were waiting for visitors. It was humid but warm, and we easily set outside to have lunch. I have ordered few local dishes to try and while I really enjoyed some, I was blown away by the black rice pudding! Never tried one before. The dessert was made of black rice, of course, and coconut milk, garnished with fresh fruit. Loved it! I think that after this lunch break I just kept ordering the same dessert until the end of my stay in Bali.
And that’s not all! When I have visited the local market, the first thing I bought was – the black rice. I just had to try and make the pudding at home! (And let me tell you, it was almost as tasty as in Bali!)
The local market is also a must. So many spices, fruits and vegetables that I didn’t even recognize! The advice is to bring cash and to be prepared for bargaining and haggling. It’s cheap, but locals will give you the higher price at first.
I was amazed by the variety of colors and shapes. (Just look at these photos!) And isn’t it just great that you can find some tropical fruit you didn’t even know existed, you can try something for the first time and admire the taste. This was such a treat!
You have probably heard about the famous durian fruit. Well, all of it is true! It looks interesting with the green bark filled with vertical splits. After you taste so many tropical fruit you expect the same full, creamy, sweet, crisp taste, but this one is more than a surprise! The durian fruit actually doesn’t taste that bad and they say that it’s extremely healthy, but the smell is horrible! If you can pass the smell, you won’t be disappointed by the taste itself. That’s a big “if”, believe me. It smells so bad that you will come across signs in public transport that people who had durian recently are not allowed in!
But then again, this is the unique opportunity to try one and live to tell the tale, right!
The full Bali SERIES