Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Foodie in Bali

Bali was...sigh...Bali. What can be said about this island that hasn't already been said? It's beautiful, spiritual, the people are some of the loveliest you will ever meet...and to me it is the ultimate paradise with something for everyone...

There are the beaches with giant waves perfect for surfing...beaches perfect for swimming and snorkeling...areas where you can swim with dolphins...cliffs with amazing views of the sunset...intricate temples...statues that tell a tale...cascading views of rice paddies...volcanoes to trek...cultural dances to marvel in...gorgeous architecture and interiors...and this is only the tip of the iceberg!

And as far as the food scene here does not disappoint...this too is a melange of all sorts...uber fresh seafood barbecues on the beach...tiny warungs(stalls) with local class dining....Italian, Japanese, Fusion, Indian, Chinese, name it...they've got it...and it tastes great!

Here are just some of the places I enjoyed...I couldn't always take photos due to terrible lighting and for some meals I had forgotten to bring along my this is what I did capture!

First I'll start you off with a little snack...

We do not get these Pringles flavours in Malaysia and so I just had to try them out. The Basil & Garlic is really good...the ingredients are prominent. The salt and pepper disappointed a little only because it wasn't peppery enough. I would add a lot more pepper before I call these salt and pepper chips.

Daddy's Cafe
Kartika Plaza Street ( Kuta Terrace)
Opposite The Bali Dynasty Hotel
Tel: +62 361 762 037

My breakfasts were always at the same cafe because this place serves amazing value for money. Just take a wild guess at how much this set costs...(Juice, 2 slices of toast, coffee/tea, bacon, eggs, sausages, hash brown, baked tomato, fruit platter and pancake):

So what did you guess? I bet it doesn't even come close! Because when we saw the menu we thought it must have been too good to be was only RP35,000 -> RM 10 -> USD 2.85. Has your jaw dropped yet? I absolutely loved the pancake which was thick and fluffy with a tiny hint of banana (I'm guessing some might have been mashed into the batter)...The hash brown was good too...very crisp with some spices added in. This breakfast was worth waking up for!

Made's Warung
Kuta, Bali
Tel: +62 361 753039

No trip to Bali would be complete without visiting the popular Made's Warung. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Kuta serving up a plethora of dishes both Western and Local. This laid back restaurant is packed with people at all hours of the day and getting a table has us waiting for a few minutes. Once seated I decide to try a local dish known as nasi campur (mixed rice). I go for the vegetarian option with brown rice.

This whole mixed rice platter consists of Tempeh cooked 3 ways...fried crisp like a fritter...boiled in a yellow coconut curry....and chopped up and sauteed with chillies and spices...Green beans cooked in a coconut curry as well...Stewed eggplant...Chopped cucumber...Sambal (chili paste)...and Toasted coconut...

All the flavours in this dish are fragrant and was so good that I finished every last bite. The brown rice tasted as though it had been cooked in chicken was savoury and chewy...I adore tempeh and having it cooked 3 different ways was a major treat! This whole plate of goodness only cost me RP27,000 -> RM7.71 -> USD 2.20.

Nammos Beach Club
Karma Kandara

If you're looking to splurge a bit and enjoy a meal at a pristine beach with a killer view that can only accessed by cable car then I would suggest you make your way over to Karma Kandara and dine at Nammos Beach Club. This area is still relatively new and not many people know about it yet. The food is out of this world and the setting makes it even better. Our group got there a little after lunch time and we decided to get a few little bites to snack on.

A tuna sashimi pizza with wasabi cream...

This was certainly different! The pizza crust was crisp and the tuna sashimi was generous with a sprinkling of salt and a squeeze of lemon. It was topped off with pieces of rocket. I enjoyed the crisp pizza base with the soft tuna and the peppery rocket...but to tell you the truth I couldn't taste the wasabi cream...that could have been stronger. All in all I give this a thumbs up...especially because I've never had a pizza like this before!

We also went for some hummus and pita..

The hummus was very creamy, lemony, and garlicky! Just the way I like it. This was devoured pretty quickly. Along with some roasted portobello mushrooms...these were thick and juicy...very enjoyable!

We also ordered the grilled chicken skewers with cous cous...

The chicken is tender with a smoky hint of the grill. It had been rubbed in Mediterranean spices and goes beautifully with the saffron couscous with chopped cranberries.

The food at Nammos Beach Club is simple but done well. You couldn't ask for more when glancing out at the sparkling blue ocean and enjoying a bite to eat.

Kunyit Bali
Jalan Kartika Plaza

About halfway through our trip we were craving a full fledged authentic Balinese meal. Kunyit Bali is one of the restaurants that serves an authentic rijsttafel. This is actually a Dutch word that meals 'rice table'. It is an elaborate meal consisting of many side dishes served in small portions, accompanied by rice.

The starters consisted of chicken, lamb, beef, and fish satay...the famous sup buntut (oxtail soup)...and fried tofu...

The soup is very light, the meat is melt in your mouth tender, and the garlic chips and fried onions sprinkled on top gives it a wonderful fragrance. Garlic lovers like me can delight in scooping up as many garlic chips as possible...when combined with the clean tasting soup it's worthy of the campbell's motto...mmm mmm good! Out of the different types of satay I would say that the fish one was my favourite...the lightness of the fish allowed the marinade to shine and it was lovely dipped in the accompanying fiery chili padi coconut sambal. The fried tofu was nice dipped in the chili padi sauce as well as the peanut sauce.

The next round offered grilled fish, chicken stewed in coconut curry, a lamb stew, sauteed green beans, and gado gado (a traditional Indonesian vegetable salad with a peanut sauce dressing).

The fish was once again my favourite in this lineup...topped with red onions and chopped chillies and spices it made for a wonderful taste sensation. I could eat grilled fish anytime...there is just something so wonderful about it! The stewed chicken was a little I didn't particularly enjoy the texture...but it tasted good...the lamb stew was tasty and the meat was extremely tender...if you like lamb I'm sure this dish would win you over!

Dessert is an assortment of fruits and Indonesian cakes...

I love love love the oranges you can get in Indonesia...they're not the same as anywhere else...there's a different taste to them altogether...the skin is green so you would think they're unripe...but that isn't the case! And they're a little harder in their segments...but just as juicy on the inside...and so easy to's so hard to explain...but I would eat these over normal oranges anyday! The bananas wrapped in crepes are also very nice...and the steamed green cake with coconut is lovely...but we all did not like the onde onde (little dough balls filled with brown sugar and rolled in coconut)...usually we would adore these...but at Kunyit Bali they didn't taste right...but after a great meal like that one little glitch isn't enough to ruin it.

All this for only RP113,000 -> RM32 -> USD 11.30.

Garis Garis
Jalan Kartika Plaza

Eachday as we walked from our hotel to different parts of the town we always walked past Garis Garis and the decor was what attracted us. It was nicely lit...beautiful interiors...and an overall welcoming ambience. We knew we just HAD to try them out. So one dinner we treated ourselves to a little wine and dine.

We tried out the Bali Hatten Wine which was not bad! Very light, crisp and refreshing...our group had 2 bottles to go along with the wonderful dinner.

I chose the steak as I was missing my red meat...

It was tender and cooked medium...just the way I like it! I enjoyed mopping up the sauce with my crispy fries...

R went for the whole fried fish topped with a fiery sambal...looks sooo good!

He finished every last bit of it...I got a tiny bit to taste and I must say this was sublime! The fish was tender and flaky with a slight crispy fried exterior...and the sambal topped it off with a great bite!

Once done with our mains we decided to split 2 desserts between the 4 of us...An ice cream filled profiterole drizzled in chocolate... And the crepes suzette...unfortunately the crepes were not lit tableside...which would have added to the fun...the profiteroles were as light as air with a creamy vanilla ice cream middle...this was the perfect end to a wonderful meal that was only RP100,000 -> RM28 -> USD10 per person...and this was WITH the wines.

Cafe Bagus
Next to Intercontinental Hotel

And I've saved the best for last! This is one of my favourite places to eat in Bali and my family and I have been coming here for years and years...I don't have any photos to document the experience though as the dinner is on the beach eaten by can barely see what you're eating let alone photograph it...but let me tell you...if you can have only 1 food experience in Bali this should be it.

Picture yourself sitting at a table on the beach...your feet touching the cool sand...waves crashing just a few steps away from you...and a menu filled with the freshest just caught a few hours ago seafood. All of it is just waiting to be thrown on the grill and enjoyed in all it's bare unmarinated glory. We ordered three types of fish, king prawns, cuttlefish, and a lobster...all of it is charred perfectly on the grill and served with limes and a sambal...all you need to do is squeeze a bit of lime...dip it in sambal and you're in heaven. The sweetness and freshness of the seafood cannot be beaten...your toes digging in the sand makes it even better...and the harmonious sounds of the acoustic traveling band in the distance make this the ultimate Bali must have experience!

I have only just scratched the surface and there are many many more places that are worthy of trying out in Bali...but I'm sure you can see the overall trend's usually very good value for money! to plan my next eating trip there...hehe...


June said...

actually we have those pringles over here . i had bought 2 of the flavour from cameron highlands . and then it started to pop out in every single supermarket + guardian + watson's .

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

June - Oh really? haha...shows how often I buy pringles here...never seen them...gotta look out for them now :) Thanks!

karma resorts said...


So glad you enjoyed the tasty food at Karma Kandara. We've just re-opened Karma Jimbaran Resort and have a fantastic new resort called 'Mead's at Karma' serving juicy steaks and fresh catch of the day.The highlight of the restaurant is an oyster bar. Hope to see you there soon!

The Karma Team

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Karma Resorts - How did you find my blog? :D We had a wonderful afternoon spent there! I'd love to check out Karma Jimbaran one of these days :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh wow, check out those prices! :o And the range of food in Bali is really amazing and they do put a good effort behind making it good quality too which is good. I confess to ordering lobster every night we were there hehe

550ml jar of faith said...

What wonderful meals!! I'm really sore because my trip to Bali was plagued with really awful disappointing meals. I just didn't know where to look!

Carol said...

... sighs... with your writeup and all the pics of the food in bali... it brings me back there... i wanna go back to bali!!!

hey! where's the bintang?!?

Anita said...

Great Price for the breakfast! You've had a fantastic range of food in Bali.

Anonymous said...

I'm packing my bags for Bali, right now! oh my god...that cheap breakfast...and that tuna sashimi pizza with wasabi cream? where the heck have all these glorious food been all my life?!!

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

Lorraine - With lobster that cheap I don't blame you :) I would have done the same if I wasn't trying to scope out a variety...hee hee..

550ml - Aw reallY? That's too bad! Where did you eat?

Carol - Yeah lets go back right now!!

Anita - The prices certainly are great!

BurpandSlurp - I know right! The tuna sashimi pizza was really different and delish :)

boo_licious said...

awww, makes me want to visit Bali now. I did a work trip once hence I never got to wander around like you - now my mouth is watering with all that great food.

Alexandra@Chefspiration said...

boo_licious - That's too bad! Bali has many food gems...I only got to sample a few...will definitely have to make a trip back!

Rachel said...

My favourite is the 3 types of tempeh dish! :)