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Balinese Cuisine & Food

Balinese Cuisine & Food

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Balinese cuisine is a cuisine tradition of Balinese people from the volcanic island of Bali. Using a variety of spices, blended with the fresh vegetables, meat and fish.

Part of Indonesian cuisine, it demonstrates indigenous traditions, as well as influences from other Indonesian regional cuisine, Chinese and Indian.

The island’s inhabitants are predominantly Hindu and culinary traditions are somewhat distinct with the rest of Indonesia, with festivals and religious celebrations including many special foods prepared as the offerings for the deities, as well as other dishes consumed communally during the celebrations.

Rice, the primary grain is almost always consumed as a staple accompanied with vegetables, meat and seafood. Pork, chicken, fruit, vegetables and seafood are widely utilized, however just like most of Hindus, beef is never or rarely consumed.

Bali is a popular tourist destination, and the area has quite a lot of cooking schools with daily courses of Balinese cuisine.

Night markets, warungs (food stands), and fruit vendors sell local delicacies. Festivals include ornately prepared foods as part of the celebrations.

As a popular tourist area, many westernized foods are also available as well as other regional ethnic cuisines.

Balinese foods include lawar (chopped coconut, garlic, chilli, with pork or chicken meat and blood), Bebek betutu (duck stuffed with spices, wrapped in banana leaves and coconut husks cooked in a pit of embers).

Balinese sate known as sate lilit made from spiced mince pressed onto skewers which are often lemongrass sticks, Babi guling also known as celeng guling (a spit-roasted pig stuffed with chilli, turmeric, garlic, and ginger).

In Bali, the mixed rice is called nasi campur Bali or simply nasi Bali. The Balinese nasi campur version of mixed rice may have grilled tuna, fried tofu, cucumber, spinach, tempe, beef cubes, vegetable curry, corn, chili sauce on the bed of rice. Mixed rice is often sold by street vendors, wrapped in a banana leaf.

Betutu is eaten in Bali as well as Lombok, and West Nusa Tenggara. It is a roasted poultry dish (chicken or duck) with spices.

Lawar is a traditional vegetable and meat dish in Bali Vegetable and meat dish served with rice. It consists of shredded unripe jackfruit, young banana flower, a liberal amount of pork rind bits, raw pig blood.

These are mashed with herbs such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, and garlic. Babi guling is a Balinese-style roast pork comparable to Hawaiian luau-style pig.

Other common Indonesian dishes are easily found, such as tempe and tofu are used. Sambal dishes are also served. Bakso, a meatball or meat paste made from beef surimi, can also be found.

Below are the list of the most popular Balinese dishes complement the holiday experience on Bali

1. Sate (Satay) – Sate (or “satay”) are marinated, skewered and grilled meats, served with spicy sauce, and may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, tofu, eggs or minced blends.

Bali’s own variant is sate lilit, made from minced beef, chicken, fish, pork, or even turtle meat, which is then mixed with coconut, coconut milk, and a rich blend of vegetables and spices.

Wrapped rather than skewered around bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass sticks then grilled, sate lilit can be enjoyed with or without sauce.

2. Nasi Ayam and Nasi Campur – Bali’s own take on ‘chicken rice’, nasi ayam and nasi campur can be found served at many warungs (small eateries) and restaurants throughout the island.

The dish is mainly white rice served with many different elements of Balinese delights, from a bit of babi buling or betutu as the main meats, together with mixed vegetables.

A dab of the iconic spicy hot sambal matah – sometimes served with a bowl of soup. For those who do not want it too spicy, simply ask for it without the sambal.


3. Bebek and Ayam Betutu – Betutu is an iconic Balinese favourite, consisting of a whole chicken or duck stuffed with traditional spices, wrapped in banana leaves, then enveloped tight in banana trunk bark before it’s baked or buried in a coal fire for 6 to 7 hours.

The result is a rich and juicy, succulent feast with all meat easily separated from bones. Betutu is the Balinese slow-cooked luscious equivalent of Babi guling for ‘non-pork eaters’.

4. Babi Guling – Babi guling is an all-time favourite, consisting of spit-roast pig stuffed with rich traditional spices and vegetable mixes such as cassava leaves, slowly ‘rolled’ over (hence its name, guling means ‘to roll’) a coal fire.

The crisp brown skins are prized, while the meat is a tender and juicy treat. At first the dish was a communal treat only during special festivities and ceremonies, but now babi guling can be found widely served at warungs and restaurants specialising in this dish.

5. Jimbaran Seafood – The line-up of beachside cafés on Muaya beach in Jimbaran Bay typically serves grilled fresh caught seafood, ranging from shrimp, clams, crabs, calamari, lobsters and a wide assortment of fish.

But in terms of taste, the secret lies in each of the café owner’s recipes of barbecue sauce and condiments – usually in the form of homemade sambal,

which has collectively become known as “sambal seafood – Jimbaran style”. From sweet-sour blends to the typical hot and spicy… tasting is believing!.

6. Pepes and Tum – Pepes is an Indonesian Sundanese cooking method using banana-leaf as food wrappings.

The small package is sewed with thin bamboo sticks at both ends, and either steam-cooked, boiled or grilled. It is most commonly used to prepare fish as “pepes ikan” or meat, chicken, tofu or vegetables.

Tum takes on a different form, with the wrapping folded and stitched at one top end, and usually steam-cooked. The banana-leaf wrapping provides a special aromatic appeal to the cooked blend.

7. Lawar – Lawar is a traditional mix containing fine chopped meat, vegetables, grated coconut and spices.

Sometimes, and in some areas, lawar is prepared using fresh blood mixed with the meat and spices to strengthen the flavour. Lawar are usually served immediately after preparation as it cannot be kept long.

There are two main types of lawar, white and red. The white version usually does not contain any meats or blood.

8. Nasi Goreng – Nasi Goreng is Indonesia’s fried rice, one of the nation’s most notable dishes.

Nasi Goreng is pre-steamed rice stir-fried with a combination of meats and vegetables, ranging from scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies, lamb, crab, green peas, onions, shallots and a blend of sweet soy sauce or kecap manis and hot chili sauce.

The presentation usually features the typical toppings: sliced tomatoes and/or cucumber, fried shallots, fish or shrimp krupuk crackers and mixed pickles or acar.

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