We wanted to compile a guide of the Best Foods In Bali that includes traditional and common foods you will find in Local Warungs (Local Balinese Restaurants) In Bali after living there for 1 year!
We absolutely love the food in Bali. It’s no secret that Balinese food and Indonesian food are among the world’s best cuisines!
Batagor or fried dumplings served with peanut sauce are a delicacy/delicacy you must try when you’re in Indonesia. You can also make it yourself, but you’d enjoy the authentic taste if you decide to try it in different areas of Indonesia.
It is commonly related to Siu Mai, a Chinese Indonesian dish. You can find it at street carts, markets, and restaurants.
While it is frequently made with tenggiri fish meat, it is sometimes made with tuna, mackerel, and prawns. Tofu and vegetables are commonly mixed with fish meat before it is fried.
Batagor is also called bakso tahu goreng, so if you spot that on the menu instead of “Batagor,” don’t be afraid to give it a try!
If you’re interested in preparing the dish yourself, you can find the full recipe here.
2. Bakmi Goreng
It is also known as mie goreng and one of my favorite meals I had the pleasure of eating while living in Bali. It translates to Indonesian stir-fried noodles and is a simple meal of noodles fried in oil with different meats, either chicken, shrimp, beef, or bakso (meatballs).
It is usually cooked in a wok and seasoned with fresh spices like shallot, onion, garlic, and vegetables such as egg, tomato, and cabbage.
It goes well with salad on the side or Asian sesame dressing, and although it is high in carbs, it is a delicious meal to enjoy on a night out.
3. Lontong Sayur Medan
This dish is made up of Rice cakes with vegetables, so if you are a vegetarian or want a healthier food option, this is a good meal for you to try.
Although it’s quite a simple meal, it is popular as a snack at gatherings or even a tasty dish for breakfast or lunch.
If you are into meal prepping, Lontong Sayur Medan is a good option as it lasts well in the fridge and can go with any meat you decide to pair it with.
If you try this dish in Indonesia, it is commonly served with banana leaves and boiled eggs and is sometimes cooked with coconut milk.
You can find it at street vendors or restaurants or make it at home with just a few ingredients.
If you’d like, adding coconut milk and meat would help give it an authentic taste.
4. Bubur Sumsum- Black Rice Pudding
This is a delicious treat, perfect as a dessert after dinner and the best part about it is that it only contains a few simple ingredients!
If you want to make this yourself at home, you need coconut milk, rice flour, salt, water, Pandan paste, Pandan leaf, and brown sugar. Indonesian people commonly eat this during Ramadan. It is essentially rice pudding.
Then the brown sugar sauce is prepared separately and poured on top of the rice pudding after cooking. Bubur Sumsum is commonly served with sweet dumplings if you eat it at a restaurant in Indonesia.
It is not a complicated dessert to make, but if you’re in Indonesia, you may want to take some cooking classes where you can learn how to make this delicious dessert.
5. Pisang Goreng
Pisang Goreng is fried bananas and is a popular dish across Southeast Asia. If you enjoy fried plantains as I do, you will surely enjoy this as it is very similar. These bananas are coated with batter and then fried in cooking oil.
You will come across this snack in restaurants and at many street vendors in Indonesia, and it goes well with breakfast drinks such as coffee or tea.
If you decide to cook this tasty snack yourself, ensure that your bananas are yellow and have brown spots (ripe) to come out as delicious as possible.
All you will need is baking powder, rice flour, turmeric, sugar, salt, and baking soda for your batter.
The key to good Pisang Goreng is for it to be crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.
6. Martabak Manis
These Indonesian pancakes are a delicious breakfast item you won’t want to miss during your next trip to Indonesia. This is not just a regular pancake as Martabak Manis can have a range of different fillings, including:
Suppose you are trying to prepare this yourself. In that case, you should consider using Cadbury or Ghiradelli chocolate as it has a creamy texture making it a perfect filling for these kinds of pancakes. Cheese and condensed milk is a popular filling for Martabak Manis in Indonesia.
Whichever filling you decide to use, be sure to cook the Martabak Manis on low heat as they can burn pretty quick, and be sure to spread the batter to the edges of the pan to create a crust.
7. Tum Bebek
Tum Bebek is a famous Indonesian dish made up of slow-cooked ducks with the rich herbs of Bali, giving them a unique aroma and delicious taste.
It can take up to 12 hours to prepare Tum Bebek in the kitchen. It includes 4 hours of marinating and 8 hours of steaming the duck. What’s cool about this dish is that it reminds me of sushi as the duck is wrapped tightly with banana leaves.
Aside from ducks, timbungan food can vary from fish to poultry to pork or meat to seafood. The Ducks are usually adults, requiring long cooking processes to get cooked to bone.
8. Es Campur
If you are looking for the perfect dessert to eat in Bali, this is the perfect light dessert after a long day out in the sun. You can find Es Campur in restaurants and many street vendors around Indonesia. What makes this special is that although it is just shaved ice, it is topped with a range of delicious toppings, including:
Nata De Coco
Es Campur can also be classified as a fruit cocktail mixed with tapioca pearls, coconut, and grass jelly and is topped with syrup, coconut milk, or condensed milk.
Before Muslims in Indonesia break their fast during Ramadan, this is a common sweet that they choose to eat. It is a very “aesthetic” looking treat due to the range of colors that form at the top from the multiple ingredients used in the dessert.
9. Nasi Ayam Penyet
Nasi Ayam Penyet translates to chicken and rice in English, which you can find at many cafes in Indonesia.
This dish is usually quite spicy, so if you aren’t able to handle spicy foods too well like me, this may not be a dish you want to try.
If you’re eating this at a restaurant, you can probably ask for it to be prepared without so many spices through google translate we commonly use in Indonesia and Thailand when ordering dishes that we know would be too spicy.
The fried chicken is coated with a chili paste called sambal, which is also served on the side of the dish after it is prepared. Other sides can include rice, tofu, and fresh mixed vegetables.
Ayam Penyet comes from East Java but is found throughout different parts of Indonesia.
If you are looking to prepare this at home, you will have to take a trip to an Asian grocery store to purchase most of your ingredients. The fried chicken is coated with a chili paste called sambal, which is also served on the side of the dish after it is prepared.
Other sides can include rice, tofu, and fresh vegetables. The chicken in this dish is commonly called “smash chicken” for the way it is frequently prepared.
The easiest way to get the chicken to the right consistency is to put it in a ziplock bag and smash it with a pestle. You can use a whole chicken, chicken thighs, breasts, or legs.
Whichever part of the chicken you decide to use will determine how long you need to cook it.
If you want a healthier option, you can cook your chicken in the oven or an air fryer. Ayam Penyet comes from East Java but can be found throughout different parts of Indonesia.
10. Babi Guling
This is one of the most popular Balinese food you can try in Bali and means suckling pig. It is not commonly found in restaurants in Indonesia but used only to be found at religious gatherings until its increasing popularity among tourists, which has resulted in it being found in warungs and restaurants across Bali.
Babi Guling means turning pig, and it is given this name for how it is roasted and turned over the fire. Before suckling pig is cooked, it is seasoned with turmeric and other chili-based spices.
Gado-Gado is an Indonesian vegetable salad topped with peanut sauce. The salad includes lots of protein, including boiled eggs, tofu, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and tempeh, made from fermented soybeans.
Gado Gado is a healthy dish ideal for weekday lunches and an easy way to get your vegetables in for the day. Although you can tell what a delicious meal it is with the ingredients mentioned above, what makes this a tasty salad is the way the peanut sauce is made.
It is similar to Thai peanut sauce, and if you’re making Gado-Gado at home, be sure to use natural peanut butter, which has 100% peanuts and will give you that raw, authentic flavor.
The rest of the ingredients you will need to make the peanut sauce are:
Red Curry Paste
Kecap Manis is an Indonesian soy sauce that is much sweeter than regular soy sauce and can be found in many Asian supermarkets, even in the U.S.
12. Nasi Campur
Not to be mistaken for Nasi Ayam, Nasi Campur, which translates to mixed rice, is steamed rice mixed with small portions of meat, vegetables, and spicy sambal matah.
This local food can be found at cafes and restaurants and can have a range of different meats and veggies, depending on where you go.
Bumbu is used in the Balinese version of Nasi Campur, a typical spice mix used for other curry and veggie dishes. If you stop at a street vendor, you might notice that your Nasi Campur will be wrapped with banana leaves.
13. Pepes Ikan
This is another food commonly wrapped in banana leaf. Inside is tender fish meat. Pepes is a cooking method where banana leaves are used to wrap different foods and are secured with lidi seumat, which is a part of the coconut leaf.
The leaves should be discarded after cooking, as banana leaves are used during steaming or grilling for the aroma and taste that it adds to the fish being cooked. It is usually cooked over hot charcoal but can also be placed in the oven or even on a non-stick pan.
Pepes Ikan is traditionally prepared with the entire fish, but you can substitute it for other meats and vegetables.
Laklak is a traditional green and white Balinese cake made out of rice flour, and usually, one side of the cake is a bit more firm than the opposite side.
Like Pepes Ikan, Laklak is also wrapped in banana leaves, and shredded coconut is sprinkled on top. It is commonly served with sugar mixed with Durian or coconut milk.
You can find Laklak at traditional markets between IDR 2.000 and IDR. 5000. It is easy to get addicted to this sweet treat, so be careful!
15. Es Daluman
Es Daluman is a delicious Balinese green and white jelly drink that is perfect for enjoying during a hot day on the beach. It is refreshing and has palm sugar, coconut milk, and green grass jelly, and is topped with ice cubes.
The green grass jelly comes from the plant “cincau” which the Balinese realized was delicious years ago.
Although es Daluman is quite sweet, it offers plenty of health benefits as it is high in fiber and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
16. Jaja Batun Bedil
Batun Bedil has an attractive sphere shape which is why it’s named Jaja, meaning cake, and Bedil, meaning bullet seed. Although it is made from rice flour and starch, it is relatively low in calories and is mixed with coconut milk and brown sugar sauce after it is finished boiling.
It is a popular treat in Bali and is topped with grated coconut.
The consistency can be described as soft and chewy, and although it is just a snack, it will keep you full for a while.
17. Balado Terong (Eggplants With Chili Sauce)
This vegan-friendly Balinese cuisine involves eggplant being steamed and then stir-fried in spicy chili sauce. Seasonings commonly used are just onions, salt, and sugar.
Balado Terong goes well with white rice, and Balado is a spicy mixture that originates from West Sumatra but eventually spreads to other parts of Indonesia.
Since you only need a few ingredients, it is very easy to prepare this dish at home as you first start by cutting your eggplants into wedges, season them, and sautee them until their golden brown.
If you don’t have Balado around, you can buy cayenne pepper and bird’s eye chili and mix them with tomato sauce to make your spicy chili sauce. Adding garlic, shallot, lime juice, and bay leaves can make your Balado Terong a lot tastier.
18. Rujak Buleleng
Rujak Buleleng is a refreshing snack as it is a blend of different fruits, including:
These fruits are thinly sliced, and then a marinade is made out of salt, vinegar, shrimp paste, and Buleleng brown sugar and then poured on top of the fruits.
The red yam enriches the taste of the fruit salad, and it is topped with spicy chilly sauce and can be found everywhere, including food carts in Bali.
19. Satay Lilit
This is somewhat of a sweet and salty dish as it is minced meat combined with coconut milk, shallot, pepper, lemon juice, and grated coconut. it is a Balinese cuisine and can include any of these meats:
Lilit means “wrap around” hence its name as meat is wrapped around lemongrass skewers and grilled to the desired color.
Satay Lilit makes good appetizers, and the authentic version of this meal is made with bumbu (a mix of spices).
Many Balinese dishes are usually made with bumbu, and Satay Lilit is served with spicy kecap chili sauce.
20. Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng is not to be mistaken for Mie Goreng as Nasi means “rice” and Mie Goreng translates to “noodles.” If a restaurant in Indonesia has one of these dishes, they probably have the other.
They both cost around the same price and are two things Austin and I ate every day when we first moved to Bali. It was super cheap, but it also tasted delicious!
Nasi Goreng is a traditional Balinese dish made up of fried rice cooked with vegetables, meat, and a fried egg on the side.
Although nothing would beat the authentic taste of Nasi Goreng, it is very simple to make it at home since you do not need a lot of ingredients.
This dish is unique because it is served with cucumbers and spicy kecap manis, which helps caramelize the fried rice.
The egg in the dish is typically made as a sunny-side-up egg and is one of the top 5 most popular dishes in Indonesia and is well-liked in Malaysia.
21. Bulung Kuah Pindang
Bulung means green seaweed in Balinese, and this dish is prepared mainly with either two types of seaweed: Bulung Rambut or Bulung Buni.
The seaweed is just washed and then soaked in hot water for a few minutes before it is given to you and what brings the flavor to this dish is the range of seasonings added to it, including:
Seaweed is high in vitamins, protein, amino acids, and other rich nutritional content.
Not only is it healthy to eat it is also said to have the power to prevent diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, cancer, and aging.
It sounds like a win-win to me!
Lawar is a delicious meal as it is made up of shredded chicken or other minced meat, vegetables such as bean sprouts, herbs, traditional spices, and coconut.
The dish is commonly found at warungs and restaurants in Bali, Indonesia. Kaffir lime is frequently used in Lawar as it gives it an intense aroma and citrusy flavor.
Lawar is meant to be eaten the same day you purchase it because there is fresh animal blood inside the dish. Different meats can be in Lawar, including turtle meat, pork, duck, chicken, or beef.
It is served with fresh rice or Babi Guling on the side and is a common dish served at large gatherings or ceremonies in Indonesia.
Flavor and color are enhanced by pig blood, but the meat is substituted with mangos and jackfruit for vegetarians.
23. Tahu Gejrot Cirebon
Tahu Gejrot Cirebon is fried tofu in chili soy sauce and is similar to Tahu Goreng Kecap, which is fried tofu with sweet soy sauce. This dish is very simple to make at home and something I will be trying out myself since I love tofu.
Tofu has lots of protein, and you can season it however you want or mix it within your meal to reach that desired flavor you want.
This is popular street food in Indonesia and is fried tofu with garlic and shallot topped with traditional soy sauce. The soy sauce is a blend of vinegar, sweet soy sauce, and palm sugar.
Tahu Gejrot Cirebon may be served with bird’s eye chili for an added spicy flavor.
24. Sop Buntut
Sop Buntut is Indonesia’s famous oxtail soup and is a very hearty meal and makes a great comfort meal. The oxtail is usually barbequed or fried and is the main ingredient in this soup.
Vegetables such as carrots and potatoes are added to the soup with nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cinnamon seasonings. Sop Buntut is commonly served with white rice and kecap manis.
If you decide to make this at home, it would be wise to cook everything in a slow cooker after frying up your meat and spices. You can keep the soup refrigerated for about a week after cooking it.
When it’s time to reheat your leftovers, boil them in a pot to experience the flavor you enjoyed on the first day you ate them.
There is a variation to Sop Buntut, and the only difference is that the oxtail is grilled instead of fried or barbequed in this version of the dish.
25. Ayam Betutu
Ayam Betutu is a Balinese dish consisting of roasted/steamed duck or chicken combined with many traditional spices and seasonings.
A spicier version of the dish is red chili peppers mixed with coconut oil and fresh raw onion slices.
A popular way to recreate this meal at home is by cooking the ingredients in a pressure cooker and putting it into an oven.
You will notice that in different areas of Bali, whether you eat it sat warungs or local restaurants, they will prepare this meal differently.
No matter where you eat it from, the duck or chicken is coated in betutu paste which is a mix of:
In Gilimanung, Ayam Betutu is made very spicy.
In Klungkung, the meat is stuffed with vegetables and spices like kale or cassava leaves.
Gianyar-betutu is wrapped in banana leaves.
Lumpia is Indonesia’s version of spring rolls. Although it originates from China, it is a popular dish in Indonesia and is cooked in different ways depending on where you get it.
Some recipes use shrimp paste as an ingredient, while others prepare Lumpia with dried shrimp and wood ear mushrooms.
Lumpia is commonly served with Indonesian soy sauce, lime juice, fried shallots, sambal matah and chopped chilis.
I guess it’s safe to say Indonesians enjoy making lots of their dishes spicy, just like the Thais do.
As someone who loves getting shrimp and spring rolls from the Chinese food restaurant nearby.
27. Nasi Jinggo
Nasi Jinggo was first sold in the 1980s in Denpasar, but it can now be found in places like Badung and Kuta.
It is very cheap to buy as it is local food and only costs IDR 1500, which is why it is named Jinggo, which translates to one thousand and five hundred in Chinese.
So what is it exactly?
It is white or yellow rice mixed with sambal (chili sauce) and other side dishes such as shredded chicken and serundeng, and the meal is then wrapped with banana leaves.
Wherever you buy it from, the dish will be spicy since its signature sauce is sambal which is cayenne peppers mixed with shrimp paste, garlic, and shallot.
Some street vendors may serve you Nasi Jinggo with fried noodles or eggs on the side, which will cost more but can be done if requested.
Serombotan is a Balinese bean salad with vegetables and grated coconut. It is healthy, delicious, and cheap.
It is commonly served with fresh vegetables like Thai eggplant, bitter melon snake beans, kale, spinach, and bean sprouts.
It is then topped with grated coconut and one of these three types of sambal: coconut sauce, unyah sere limo sambal, or spicy peanut sauce.
You can easily find serombotan at many local markets, and it is vegetarian-friendly and includes a variety of other beans, including black soybeans, green beans, and kidney beans.
Siomay is another dish topped with the infamous peanut sauce popularly used on many dishes in Indonesia. It is fish dumplings that are steamed with vegetables, although this dish is sometimes made with pork.
For halal reasons, you will mainly see Siomay made with tenggiri fish.
It is derived from Chinese Shumai and comes with egg, bitter gourd, cabbage, and steamed potatoes. Sweet soy sauce a fresh lime juice are squeezed on top.
Siomay originates from West Java in Bali and can be commonly found at food carts, especially in front of many schools, making it a well-liked meal for kids to eat after school.
30. Bubur Mengguh
Bubur Mengguh is a delicious Indonesian porridge that is a popular breakfast item in Indonesia that you can find at many food carts.
Ingredients may include:
This dish is a sweet and salty blend with its unique blend of ingredients, and it is usually cooked in coconut oil along with bay leaves and topped with spices like turmeric and candlenut.
31. Ikan Asap Sambal Matah
A delicious smoked fish dish that you can enjoy if you visit Serangan Island in Bali.
If you love spicy food, this is a good option for you as the dish is prepared with tuna or smoked tuna fish and is, of course, cooked spicy like many other Indonesian dishes.
1 large smoked fish
Fresh fish is a significant part of Balinese cuisine, so there is no better place to try this meal than restaurants offering fresh seafood in Bali.
This dish takes quite a while to cook as it is smoked with coconut husks, giving it a unique taste and aroma.
When cooked thoroughly, the fish will be tender on the inside and spicy due to the sambal matah sauce, which is made up of chili peppers, lime leaves, lemongrass, and garlic.
Entil is a typical food in Pupuan Village, and it is cooked rice wrapped in telengidi leaf and tied with rope. It takes a few hours to cook and is cooked over coffee stem wood; it is also suitable for a few days after it is finished cooking.
It is sold at many food stalls and is commonly made the day before “Nyepi” (The Silent Day) by Tabanan and Pupuan people.
It is cooked with coconut milk and is served with banana leaf and other veggies, including long beans and spinach on the side.
33. Sate Skewer
Sate can be compared to chicken kebabs, as we Americans are familiar with, as it is skewered and grilled meat on a stick. It is marinated with tasty authentic soy sauce (kecap minis) and spices, then grilled to perfection, and then topped with peanut sauce.
There are different versions of Sate in Singapore and Thailand, but regardless of the understanding you eat, Sate goes well with white rice on the side.
34. Beef Rendang
Finally, another popular Balinese cuisine is the well-known Beef Rendang.
Beef Rendang is Austin’s favorite dish he has ever eaten in Bali and the texture of the meat and the way it is cooked is just something authentic that is hard to find anywhere else.
It originates from West Sumatra and is beef cooked together with coconut milk and a spice paste. Its unique flavor comes with the liquid from boiling that eventually caramelizes around the beef as well as the chiles and spices.
I hope you enjoyed this article on some traditional Balinese dishes you need to try when you’re visiting Bali or Indonesia in general. My advice to new travelers is to always eat local food in the country because it is always delicious and cheaper than American foods you might find at upscale restaurants.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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