First of all, before starting my post, I must address the devastating news of the attacks last night in France. Once again, another traumatic terrorist attack has rocked the world and I send my love to anyone who has been affected by these atrocities.
In 2002, Bali itself was the victim of multiple bombings that resulted in the death of 202 people and on my recent visit I realised that the memories still resonate. I hope that amongst such terrible news prior to the weekend, I can bring a moment of joy and light reading for you all on this Friday.
My recent trip to Indonesia with my boyfriend George was abundant with culinary experiences. It’s no secret that Indonesian food is my favourite, but the exchange rate also means that for many people, you can get incredibly fancy food for a fraction of the price you would be used to.
Kuta is renowned for its party lifestyle and cheap food. Even though Westernised restaurants and bars can be found all around Kuta (Hard Rock, Starbucks, Tony Roma’s), it’s also where you’ll find some great cheap nasi-gorengs and gado gados.
Nasi Goreng found at a restaurant on the first day – £3.50!
Delicious coffee and juices at Kopi & Kue
Another nasi goreng, we went slightly crazy with these on the first few days.
The Gili Islands are technically in Lombok, but because they’re only a short boat ride away from Bali, many travellers visit Gili T too. Gili Trawangan has become a diver’s and backpacker’s mecca in recent years and every time I visit, there are more and more businesses popping up over the island.
The night market is one of the most popular spots on the island for authentic and cheap Indonesian food. Various stalls fill the square at 6pm, which is completely empty in the day time. Much like a “pick and mix”, you can fill up your bowl with the different foods you want and one bowl will cost on average 30,000-60,000 rupiah. In other words, it’s around £1.50-£3 to have a foodie experience that you won’t forget.
The seating in the night market comprises of long tables and benches, perfect for socialising and meeting other travellers. My favourite stall is the barbequed corn, beware, it’s spicy stuff!
My £2 bowl of yumminess
If you’re a sandwich fiend like myself and fancying something more simple, then go to Bale Sampan, which is just past the Turtle Conservation Hut.
Kayak over to the serene Gili Meno to burn off some of that Bale Sampan baguette
Catch a cocktail at Pearl Beach Lounge, which has recently been featured on the Bali Bible. You can chill on the beach or by the pool (they do awesome quesadillas).
Grab a light lunch at Villa Ombak Sunset, then spend a lazy afternoon by the pool bar
Ko Ko Mo is renowned for being one of the best restaurants on the island. The quiet area and the beachfront setting make it a popular destination for couples and honeymooners. The dishes are on the pricier side but you’re still only paying around £6-7 for a main meal involving quality ingredients.
Prawns, scallops and a seafood risotto
Ubud was my favourite part of the trip. I’d recommend going to Gunung Kawi temple and the rice fields if you visit. The scenery is like no other.
Kopi Luwak coffee is a special type of coffee in Indonesia which is produced from a digested coffee bean that has passed through the body of a civet. The whole process itself is based on the belief that the civets choose the best coffee cherries to eat and upon being digested, the bean is fermented.
Only upon visiting the plantation (after little to no research), did I realise that the civets are not roaming free as I would have hoped, but instead they are kept in cages. Due to Luwak coffee being one of the most expensive in the world, farmers have latched onto this lucrative business and in turn, intensive farming methods have been introduced.
However, the plantation does produce a variety of coffee, spices and fruit. I would just implore that if the price tag doesn’t scare you off first, remind yourself of the ethical issues at hand and don’t buy the Luwak coffee.
After looking around the plantation, we were given samples of various different coffees – whoever knew that “ginger coffee” existed (it’s delicious, by the way).
The views from the plantation
Ibu Rai is one of the most popular in Ubud, we arrived before 7pm and just managed to get a seat. It was originally recommended to us by our Indonesian driver, the food is around £5 for a main and there’s a great atmosphere.
Uma Cucina is a modern Italian restaurant in Ubud and slightly pricier than Ibu Rai, but less expensive than Ku De Ta in Seminyak (for reference). There is also an indoor bar with a comfortable seating area, perfect for a pre or post-dinner drink.
Seminyak is a short taxi or 40-minute walk from Kuta, but evidence shows that Seminyak is taking over from Kuta to become the new hotspot of Bali – many would argue that it already has. If you haven’t read my last post on Ku De Ta and you’re interested in Seminyak, then check that out after this one.
Grain is a popular coffee shop by day and an organic modern restaurant by night. We forgot to pop back the next day to try the coffee but there’s a lot of positive words that indicate it’s worth heading to Grain for.
Sweet chilli corn fritters
We grabbed lunch at Chandi Restaurant on a very hot afternoon, arriving in quite casual wear and flip-flops with sand still stuck to our legs, I felt slightly underdressed compared to some others there, but we had great service nonetheless! This seemed more like the venue for a fancy long lunch, rather than a quick bite to eat whilst covered in sweat and sand.
So, that rounds up some of my best food experiences in Indonesia. One final recommendation is Moonlite Kitchen & Bar, which has perfect views for sunset. It also has one of the best desserts I have ever had in my life – Bali Chocolate & Chili Brownie, Cashew Brittle, Caramelized Banana, Almond Custard Ice Cream – all for approx. £4.50.
I hope everyone is having an amazing summer. What foodie experiences have you wanted to blog about? Comment below!