Being in Bali has been a dream. We have been in three parts of the island and they all are completely different from each other. As I mentioned in my last Eating post, food was not going to be our top priority in Bali. What I mean is that we did not do much research on what we were going to eat, and just took each meal as it came. I did not always have my phone on me to take pictures of what we were eating, and sometimes I just forgot to snap a picture before we had completely devoured it. So although the food was not researched, it was no less amazing. I’ll separate our food into the three parts of the island.
Kuta is the first place we stayed in Bali. It is a beach town and surfers’ paradise. There are many tourist and the food is a mix of local/Indonesian food and international cuisine. You can find almost anything you’re looking for: Balinese, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, even Mexican, ect. We were staying at a place across from the beach and within walking distance of many shops and restaurants. The traffic in Kuta is like organized chaos, well maybe not even that organized, so it was nice to not have to be on the road. We were picked up for dinner one night by the restaurant we were eating at which was interesting.
Our first meal was at a place not too far from our hotel, and we were pretty much pulled off the sidewalk into eat. This was a common tactic used in Kuta, so we eventually learned to just say ‘No Thanks’. We had some of Kuta’s specialties: chicken sate, spicy crab with fried rice, and crispy duck with two large Bintangs (the island’s beer). Sate is seasoned meat on a skew and grilled, usually served with a peanut sauce. They were the best sate we had in Kuta, and our other food was good, too. We finished our food, then our beers, and then we just sat. And sat, and sat, and sat…our server had pretty much disappeared and we waited what seemed like forever before finally asking someone for our check. This is also very common in Bali; you have to ask for everything.
We ate at a place called Fat Chow in what seemed like a back ally at the time (it was only our second night and still getting used to getting around in Kuta) but actually just a street. Getting around the streets/allies in Kuta is like a giant maze. There were places we tried to get to that we never even found. Here we had some sate, some pork buns, another island specialty- pork ribs, and some recommended stir-fry dish.
We ate at another place where we sat in a cabana outside-it was like a bed in a jungle. We had more sate, beef and chicken this time, some samosas, and both had some fish dishes.
Two nights we ate at Paradise Dynasty (it’s a Chinese chain that specializes in xiao long bao, which are steamed soup dumplings). We almost went to the one in Singapore, so we decided to try it here. We had their speciality soup dumplings which were delicious and beautiful (one order the first time, two orders the second time), some steamed pork buns, some other steamed buns, and dishes that finally satisfied Jared’s desire for spiciness. He had a spicy soup and I had some delicious noodles with pork dumplings. We got different things the second time, but I don’t even remember what they were. We also discovered Bintang – Radler, which is is like a Summer Shandy. I thought I was I heaven until the next day we found out it was pretty much just sugar water and lemon, at 2.5% ABV. Next, we went to a little ice cream sandwich stand we had scoped out a couple days earlier and got some mini ice cream sandwiches (we each got two, because they were small). Between the two of us we tried strawberry, mocha, and vanilla mint.
One night we tried an Australian Barbecue place (this was the place that picked us up and dropped us off). It was very similar to Samba in Madison. You get a card with a green side and a red side. Green = bring me meat, Red = I need a break. Just like Samba, I found the grilled pineapple to be the best part.
We also ate at a place with lots of crazy masks on the walls called Un’s. To get there we had to walk down a very narrow ally, about the width of both of us, and dodge motorbikes coming at us and from behind. They give us a complimentary margarita shot and chicken nugget. We had duck liver pate, ribs, and homemade ravioli. Yes, I ordered ravioli, at a Balinese restaurant. What can I say, I love me some pasta and it had been a while.
We ventured out for breakfast a few times. But our hotel stay included a pretty decent breakfast spread so we opted for that most days. It was nice that they changed it up each day and also had made to order eggs and waffles. And the fresh juice was irresistible.
Like in Singapore, we found ourself at the MiniMart next to our hotel looking for new/different local candies and beverages to try. Most notable: the drinks you “Gotta Chew”; flavored drinks with gelatin chunks in it.
Oh, Ubud. I LOVED Ubud. Our regret of the trip was spending more time (or any time) in Kuta, that we could have spent in Ubud. It’s a beautiful jungle with more history and culture than we were able to fit in. Our hotel was amazing! And I’ll start with our breakfasts…
Each day we had breakfast made to order delivered to our room where we could enjoy it on one of our balconies that over looked a small village/farm, rice paddies, stunning views of the jungle landscape, the volcano Mt. Agung, and other mountains in the distance.
The breakfast menu was huge with different varieties to pick from: The local, the daily, the continental, the Japanese, the English, the Indonesian, the vegetarian, the healthy, and then there was the American menu. While the other menus were pretty modest, yet full, the American menu was immense. It literally had like every option on it, along with the usual juice, fruit, hot drink, and some sort of main dish, it also had cereal, side orders of meat, doughnuts, pastries, danishes, and toast. It was kind of comical but eye-opening to see how we are perceived. Jared and I usually went with the Daily breakfast: Fresh juice, I usually got Orange-Pineapple, fresh fruit with yogurt (changed daily), some main dish, I usually got a variety of the Jaffles, like ham/cheese/banana or ham/egg/cheese/tomato, (they’re like a breakfast panini) and Jared usually got banana or pineapple pancakes, with a hot drink, I either had a cappuccino or tea. It was perfect.
The hotel also had afternoon tea. This was either hot/cold tea/coffee served with two varieties of delicious local cakes or pastries that changed each day. One was usually made with sticky rice and combined with fruit. The other varied but was always tasty. I will have cravings for these things for sure.
Since the hotel was about a 5-10 minute ride to Ubud, depending on traffic, we ended up eating at the hotel a couple nights after being out and about during the day. They made local and Indonesian dishes that kept us very satisfied. One night we tried their “guacamole” and chips..I will just say they should stick to their specialities. We had ribs, curry dishes, lumpia, and some things I do not remember how to spell/pronounce.
We ate at a place called Spice in Ubud which was “Western Cuisine with Balinese Flavors” and it was all AMAZING. We had an amazing ceviche with coconut, pineapple, roasted corn and peppers, dumplings, a beef brisket fat noodle soup, and a crispy pork belly dish with coconut rice on the side. We had a piece of chocolate cake with jackfruit ice cream and now we’re both obsessed with jackfruit ice cream. Our bourbon drinks also included jackfruit and were top-notch! Everything from flavors to presentation was so beyond!
Our last night we ate at Hujan Locale. Hujan means “rain” and the concept is to represent what rain brings: good fortune, prosperity and harvest. They use all fresh and local ingredients. This place has their flavors figured out. I feel like I’m getting a little repetitive, but everything here was amazing. I started with a Tropical Mule, their take on a Moscow Mule, which was divine. We had the crispiest calamari served with chili jam, ginger flower and lemongrass, and pork belly sate appetizers. For our main courses Jared had “Ayam Pinandar” farm raised organic spring chicken with Batak chili, lemongrass sauce, and sambal andaliman. It was the perfect spice which left your lips tingling and your nose running. I had the “Bu sie itik” slow braised duck curry with pandan, cinnamon, coconut milk, fennel seeds, and star anise. It was so tender and delicious. It literally melted in your mouth. I only wish we would have left room for dessert.
The next time I come to Ubud, because there will be a next time, I would love to do the Hujan Cooking Class where you cycle through villages and rice paddies, visit the market to get your ingredients, create your own Canang Sari (a Balinese offering), get a cooking lesson, and eat!
We are currently in Nusa Dua and it is our “relaxing”/”do-nothing-but-lay-at-the-beach/pool” part of the trip. Again, it is a completely different feel from the last two places we were at. Nusa Dua is resort central. We are currently staying at the Westin Resort. This is pretty much our first time being at a resort but it seems like the goal is that they never want you to have to leave the resort. So we’ve been eating at the different places The Westin has to offer.
First night was the Italian restaurant – Prego. We had some super delicious burrata cheese. Jared and I are both obsessed with burrata cheese, our favorite in Madison was always at Salvatore’s. Although this cheese was heavenly creamy and rich, the overall dish still didn’t compare to Salvatore’s. Jared had porchetta and I had a seafood risotto.
Second night we went to the Japanese restaurant – Hamabe. We had some appetizers and some fried stuff and a noodle dish. Most importantly was the dessert: Indonesian Ice Cream! Two scoops of coconut, one scoop strawberry, and one scoop jackfruit! So. Good.
Our last night at the resort we went to the Spanish Tapas restaurant – Velada. We had meatballs, croquettes, nachos that they poured tequila on and then set on fire with a blow torch, and some pork meat that they cut right off the leg in front of us with some manchego cheese. Then we went back to Hamabe for some more Indonesian Ice Cream, exact order as the night before!
We had lunch pool/ocean side from the little outdoor grill place, usually a sandwiches or salad; pretty typical.
Now we are off to our last destination in Bali. I do not know where it is because Jared has kept it a secret for my upcoming birthday! I am very excited to go, but do not want this part of our trip to end. Bali has been amazing (and yet there is still so much more to see and do).
Thanks for Keeping Up 😉