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China & Southeast Asia Trip Report

Bali Trip Report - February 2011


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Restaurants & Bars China & Southeast Asia Trip Report

Bali Trip Report - February 2011

daveena | | Mar 1, 2011 09:57 PM

I used this thread for research and was going to just append my notes to it, but then realized things were getting a little wordy:

At the time of of my visit, the exchange rate was about 9025 rp = 1 USD

UBUD – restaurant owners banded together to ban street carts from Ubud years ago, so finding street food took a lot of persistence, and a little luck. Early morning was the best time to catch women peddling nasi campur (5k rp) and little plastic bags of spicy vegetables or banana leaf wrapped fish mousse (1k rp). One morning I was able to score a variety of sticky rice and palm sugar concoctions, and a small pancake filled with what I think was more palm sugar.

It took a while for us to realize it, but a lot of the random convenience store-type warung sell 5k rp paper cones of nasi campur as well, displayed on folding card tables in front. They were always still warm when we bought them, and quite good. The best street nasi campur was sold by a man who was usually on Jl Hanoman somewhere near the intersection of Jl Jembawan.

On a walk one morning around Ubud, we finally found a few carts clustered around a gas station on Jalan Hanoman/Jalan Raya Pengosekan/Raya Mas Ubud (we’d walked past the Monkey Forest, and kept going south). They weren’t operating yet, but we had the best nasi campur of the entire trip at the nearby Warung Pak. Sedan (? – I think that’s the name) – at 10k rp a plate, it was unusual in that even the regulars didn’t pick and choose components, they just ordered “a plate”. Elements included a very good lemongrassy sate on sugar cane, fried tempeh (literally the first time I’ve ever undstood why anyone would eat tempeh) and spicy eggplant, but mostly I remember that everything was fresher and spicier than in any other versions we had on this trip.

Other enjoyable stops on that sweltering day were Asian Prophecy (also on Jl Raya Pengosekan, near the same intersection), which bills itself as a spa/art gallery but also had some excellent coffee and Japanese/French pastries, and Warung Alami (on Penestanan Kaja), which describes itself as a “Japanese Country-style Deli”. We were lured off our path by the smells of delicious frying things, and were not disappointed – they had a good selection of impeccably fried croquettes and fresh juices. The croquettes were 2 for 7-8k rp, and the juices were in the 15k range – they seemed expensive to me at the time, as we’d been traveling with a friend who now lives in Bali, and were looking at prices from his perspective, but in retrospect, I wish I’d ordered more. I doubt I’ll ever find that quality and execution at that price again. That goes for the pastries at Asian Prophecy as well – I’m still regretting not ordering a stuffed bread with pandan-flavored custard.

I really enjoyed Ibu Oka – we arrived around 2pm, didn’t have to wait too long for seats, and still got good bits from the pig. My portion of skin was terrific, absolutely crispy and melting, but some of my friends complained of toughness in theirs, and preferred the 10k rp plates we had at a random roadside market a few days later. At Ibu Oka, a plate of the especial is now 30k rp.

Dewa Warung had serviceable Indonesian standards at local prices and was a decent budget option.

Bollero was a first-night choice – hungry, tired, and hot, we just wanted to be comfortable, and chose it for its plush-looking seats. The food was relatively expensive and unremarkable.

Since the closest night market was in Gianyar, we hired a cab to take us there and back one night (at 40k rp an hour, this came out to 100k rp for the entire trip – even with five of us, it would have certainly cost less to stay in Ubud an eat somewhere with tourist prices, but we wanted to see the night market).

The one thing we saw in Gianyar that we didn’t see anywhere else were the spit-roasted barbecued chickens – they were quite striking, flattened, head attached, and displayed in vertical stacks. At the last second, my fear of eating poultry sitting out at a night market got the best of me, and I didn’t get one, but I wish I had now. We ended up eating mostly fried fish that night – good stuff, but not unique to the area.