The Cuisine of Bali

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Lydia Alvita


My love of people, cultures and adventure lead me to found Aiden and Ivy, a luxury travel agency for those with an adventurous spirit.

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No matter when you decide to visit Bali – or what you desire to celebrate – there are plenty of choices and activities to make your venture to the “Island of the Gods” a memory worth speaking about.

Many people plan for their Bali excursions or wellness retreats, but will forget to research local foods. Aiden and Ivy is here to this eliminate unnecessary stress. Bali offers a diverse culinary experience for both meat-eaters and the more vegan-minded. It’s hard to single out the best foods, but below are some dishes that you should definitely keep in mind when experiencing Bali.

Sate Lilit is a dish that features beautifully marinated and grilled meats, skewered on lemongrass sticks, and is served with spicy sauce, veggies, and coconut milk.

Nasi Goreng is similar to fried rice and is a staple of Balinese cuisine. However, instead of frying, this rice is steamed with scrambled eggs, mixed with a variety of meats, green peas, onions, sweet soy sauce, and hot chili sauce. Yum!

• For those not crazy about meat options, Gado Gado is a “must have.” This fabulous dish is like a salad and can be served either cold or lukewarm. Think tender potatoes, beans, and capsicum (red chili pepper) – accompanied with rice, covered with a fresh peanut sauce, and garnished with fried shallots and juicy, sliced red tomatoes. It’s truly a party for your taste buds!

• Another popular Balinese dish is Tahu & Tempe. Sliced tahu (tofu) and tempe (fermented soy cakes) are simmered in a pot of coconut water with spices, fried (both with and without stuffing), and relished with a flavorful dipping sauce.

Bubur Sumsum is sweet and often considered a dessert, however, it is also served as breakfast or a snack. This sweet treat – black and white glutinous rice – is slow-cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves until it comes to a batter-like consistency. It is then topped with coconut cream and banana slices.

• If you’re the daring kind, you absolutely have to try the Civet Coffee (Kopi Luwak), aka “Poop Coffee.” Seriously. This luxurious coffee is perhaps the most expensive in the world and costs about $35-$100 per cup depending on the location. Its low acidity has been said to help prevent asthma, Parkinson’s, colon cancer, and even diabetes. Luwak beans are literally extracted civet (cat) waste that is fire roasted and served with milk. It’s worth a try because in Bali, you can get it for less than a third of the global price.

• Like many Eastern and Southeastern Asian countries, Bali has their own version of “Grass Jelly” called Daluman. Made with leaves from the mint family, this 3-layered drink has a dark green “jelly-like” layer; a caramel honey-hued layer of coconut milk; and, a layer of brown sugar. All ingredients are boiled and cooled separately before being mixed together and then served with mint leaves. This drink is said to aid digestion, ease hypertension, and be rich in antioxidants.

No matter when you decide to visit Bali – or what you desire to celebrate – there are plenty of choices and activities to make your venture to the “Island of the Gods” a memory worth speaking about.

Knowing a few staple dishes will help you make some quick decisions when out and about in Bali. Whether you crave slow-cooked meats or veggies, a dessert, or a scrumptious drink, Bali has a lot to taste. See your lovely advisor to learn more!


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