Let’s talk Balinese cuisine – a mix of rich and bold flavours, spice pastes loaded with coriander seeds, galangal, turmeric and candlenut, pork, chicken, duck and fish cooked over wood fires, grilled over coconut husks or slow-braised. Rice and a spoonful of sambal – a mix of chili peppers, shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, sugar, lime and vinegar – to top it up. Want to experience Bali’s best local food on your next trip? Drop by these 5 amazing local warungs we love:
Warung Ibu Eny, Seminyak
Warung Ibu Eny is tucked away on the famous Petitenget street in Seminyak. Its leafy offering-scattered entrance and modest wooden furnishing make it a cozy spot to enjoy local food. Try their signature nasi campur, which can feature anything from whole roasted chicken in a betutu-style sauce to garlic and chilli-infused stir-fried water spinach, spicy pork steamed in banana leaves, deep-fried tempeh or braised tofu.
Warung Ibu Eny, Jalan Petitenget 97, Seminyak, +62 361 736 892.
Liku Ayam Betutu, Kuta
Betutu – chicken or duck wrapped in the banana bark with a mix of coconut oil and spices, and smoked for a day in an earthenware pot – is one of the great dishes of Balinese cuisine. Because it’s complex and time-consuming to prepare, you won’t often find it at your average Indonesian restaurant, but a small garage-like warung on Jalan Nakula, just outside Kuta, offers one of the finest versions on the island.
Liku Ayam Betutu, Jalan Nakula 19, Badung, no phone.
Warung Makan Teges, Ubud
Located amongst the lush tropical gardens, in a traditional Balinese house, Teges serves best home-style Balinese cooking. Best-seller – nasi campur traditionally served on a banana leaf lending an appetizing aroma to the rice. Nasi campur here comes with two options — chicken or pork — all minced and cooked together with vegetables in coconut milk. The true highlight of the meal is the devilishly spicy sambal matah, the sauce made from fresh chili pods and sliced shallots and lime leaves.
Warung Makan Teges, Jalan Raya Cok Rai Pudak, Banjar Teges, Peliatan, Ubud, +62 361 975 251.
Warung Mak Beng, Sanur
This warung specialises in just one dish- nasi ikan (fish and rice). Snapper cutlet, deep-fried and served with rice and a bowl of fish-head soup with green papaya, hints of lemongrass and cooked cucumber, fired up with a smoked sambal. It’s one of the most popular local plates in town, so make sure to get in early before the lunch rush.
Warung Mak Beng, Jalan Hang Tuah 45, Sanur, +62 361 282 633.
Warung Dandelion, Canggu
Dandelion is Canggu’s number one warung frequented by locals and expats alike. Gani, the owner of this warung, will warmly welcome you to his homely establishment made only out of antique furnishings. Gado-Gado- vegetables in peanut sauce, chicken or shrimp Nasi Goreng and Pisang Rai – steamed banana with shredded coconut and palm sugar- will do the trick. However, don’t leave the place without tasting homemade health drink called Djamu. It is a traditional Indonesian medicine made out of natural products like roots, leaves, bork and fruit. The recipe is 1300 years old and meant to help lower cholesterol, reduce body ache, or support the healing process of acne or dizziness.
Warung Dandelion, Jl. Batu Bolong 9, Canggu, +62 896 2296 5413
What’s your favourite warung in Bali?
Cover image by Food & Chic