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Across Land & Sea Travel Blog

Nine dishes that you must try in Bali

Whether you prefer to laze by the beach, browse the shops or explore Bali's mountains and countryside, dining will be an important part of your trip. 

There are so many Balinese and Indonesian dishes to try, and whilst Western food may appeal to those intent on avoiding the 'Bali belly' you'd be seriously missing out if you didn't indulge in local cuisine. 

We ate a lot of Indonesian food in Bali (see our stomachs for the evidence), as well as attending a cooking school. We've made a list of some of our favourite must-try dishes if you're holidaying in the Indonesian archipelago. 

Nº 1 - SATE AYAM (CHICKEN SATAY)

Side-of-the-road stalls, cafes, warungs and restaurants will sell satay sticks by the dozen. Its popularity is unsurprising because it is utterly delicious. The Balinese version is minced, rather than sliced or diced, with added onion and spices.

Nº 2 - BABI GULING (SUCKLING PIG)

A whole pig stuffed with spices (think lemongrass, coriander seeds, turmeric) and roasted over a fire is a Balinese delicacy. It is traditionally served in the morning, so you will find most local spots are sold out by 3.00pm. Get in quick!

Nº 3 - PISANG GORENG/rai (FRIED/boiled BANANA)

No need to laugh, 'pisang' really does mean banana! Deep fried or boiled, suitable as a snack or dessert, drizzled with palm sugar syrup, it's yummers. 

Nº 4 - nasi goreng & mie goreng (fried rice/noodles) 

A classic Indonesian comfort food, it is on nearly every menu and for good reason: it's amazing. Don't fret about finding a restaurant that does 'the best' nasi or mie goreng; everywhere does it a little differently and it just means you should try a few to work out what your favourite is!

Nº 5 - GADO GADO (VEGETABLE SALAD)

Who knew a salad could taste this good?! Translating as 'mix mix', it consists of a variety of vegetables that have been boiled or steamed. Add in a an egg, tofu and mix in some peanut sauce, and you've got a simple but tasty side dish. 

Nº 6 - RENDANG DAGING (BEEF RENDANG curry)

Another Indonesian favourite, the Balinese version uses a three ingredients liberally: turmeric, ginger and galangal. Tender meat and deep flavours are characteristics of a great rendang. 

Nº 7 - sayur URAB (mixed vegetables)

Full of texture and served at room temperature with less spice than other dishes, this is another great side dish or salad that is widely served across Bali. 

Nº 8 - FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH

Okay, so not a specialty in itself, but whether you're enjoying tuna wrapped in banana leaves or a fish curry, the Balinese will make it taste divine. We enjoyed a beach barbecue on Gili Air and would recommend everyone do the same. You select your fish by weight and choose a jacket potato or fries to go with it. 

Nº 9 - local fruits, including salak (snake fruit) & star fruit

Tropical fruits are super sweet and just as good as a snack as they are in cocktails! From the infamous durian to the yellow coconut, chances are you wouldn't have tasted a lot of these fruits before, so go wild.

 
Nine dishes that you must try in Bali 
 

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