Balinese culture is rich and diverse, manifesting itself in practically every element of life, including cuisine. Traditional Balinese dishes are an important aspect of the culture, with some dating back almost as far as the society itself. Here are some typical Bali meals to try if you want to taste the island’s character on your plate.
Traditional Balinese Dishes
Everyone has probably heard of the Suckling Pig, a typical Balinese dish. It’s created from pigs whose stomachs have been packed with herbs and vegetables like cassava leaves, then grilled till done by twisting the pig.
The Suckling Pig was originally utilized for religious or customary rites. However, it is now widely available at Bali’s restaurants, food booths, and hotels. The most famous Suckling Pig is from the Gianyar Regency.
Betutu Duck, also known as Balinese Roast Duck, is reported to have been one of the Balinese Kings’ favorite foods in the past. It is prepared in an unusual manner. It’s necessary to massage the seasoned duck meat first. The duck meat will soften and the spices will seep into the bone after a massage. Ducks that have been rubbed and wrapped in banana or areca leaves before being roasted over a husk fire.
Because the preparation of Betutu Duck takes several hours, the ducks are only prepared for traditional festivals and religious ceremonies in Bali. There’s also Betutu Chicken, in addition to Betutu Duck. The meat is the only difference between the two. Melinggih Village, Payangan District, Gianyar Regency, is home to one of the greatest betutu producers.
Satay, or sate in Indonesian, is a skewered dish comprising grilled chicken, goat, cattle, or pork on sticks. It’s a traditional Indonesian dish that can be found in almost every city. Every country has its own interpretation and modification of this traditional dish. Sate lilit is a unique Bali dish that is marinated in coconut milk and other spices.
Tourists will appreciate sate lilit in sticks as well, but the sliced meat is wrapped rather than skewered, hence the name lilit (wrap). The sate itself has a fantastic mixture of spicy, savory, and sweet flavors, therefore additional sauce is optional.
One of the traditional Balinese dishes is babi guling, or Balinese roasted pork. Since the pig must be roasted entire because it will be rolled (guling) over the fire, it was intended to be a community dish. Previously only available as a treat during cultural performances or festivities, babi guling is now available at restaurants.
Although the fresh pigs (typically piglets) meat contributes significantly to the juiciness of the main course, the mixture of traditional spices packed and greased all over the flesh also helps significantly to creating babi guling a memorable dish.
Lawar is a dish composed from chopped beef, various green vegetables, and grated coconut. Beef, chicken, duck, hog, turtle, or a mixture of these meats are available as options. Balinese people are familiar with two types of lawar: red and white. The color of the red lawar comes from the addition of animal blood to the concoction, which also provides a savory flavor and umami to the meal. White lawar, on the other hand, is devoid of blood and frequently substitutes jackfruit for meat.
Mengguh is a porridge that originated in northern Bali (Buleleng) and is frequently served at traditional events. It is, in fact, a type of cereal. Mengguh is a rice and coconut milk dish with shredded chicken, followed by a thick chicken soup and urab veggies (fresh salad) served separately. The flavor is rich and complex, with a savory and peppery component.
Despite its tiny size, nasi jinggo is an important aspect of the locals’ daily lives. It’s said that a chunk of nasi jinggo may fit in the palm of your hand, and that seems about accurate. Nasi jinggo is a cheap food option for locals and visitors alike, consisting of rice, veggies, and a side dish and condiment wrapped together in a banana leaf. Shredded chicken, egg, or noodles are usually the side dish options. Nasi jinggo is sold on motorcycles parked on the side of Bali’s main streets, and tourists can find it there.
Serombotan is a characteristic Klungkung vegetable, consisting of a mixture of vegetables such as water spinach, long beans, and cabbage, as well as spices known as kalas. Kalas is made with coconut milk, mashed turmeric, onion, garlic, coriander, and a pinch of galangal, and simmered till thick.The kalas is a serombotan trait. This srombotan should be served with a mixture of peanut and spicy flavors.