Not to be outdone by Anthony Bourdain, our first meal in Bali was perhaps Bali's most famous dish - at its most famous restaurant, suckling pig aka Babi Guling Ibu Oka.
Tourists and locals alike flock to this place. Most of the seats are lesehan, which means you sit on the floor (on a pillow), barefooted. Even then we had to wait 20 minutes or so to get seated.
The "babi guling special" comes with rice, suckling pig's meat, crispy skin, deep fried skin, blood sausage, and urap made with green beans.
This Rp.25,000 (~$2.50) plate is satisfaction incarnate. What makes Balinese suckling pig so special is that it had been stuffed with herbs and spices and cassava prior to roasting over an open flame, making it so full of flavor. The meat is still rightfully tender, and the meat is only the start of it. There's the oily crispy skin, and the delightfully crunchy fried skin, not to forget the chunky and flavorful blood sausage and the spicy vegetables.
One last meal in Bali took us back to Ubud. This time we visit the famous Bebek Bengil restaurant, a.k.a Dirty Duck Diner.
Bebek Bengil offers the option to dine on the balai-balai, the wooden sitting platforms available around the restaurant. You can, and probably should, reserve these platforms beforehand. We didn't, but after waiting a few minutes managed to score the best seats in the house, a small balai right next to the rice paddies.
We all got the famous crispy duck, Bebek Bengil, which was rather heftily priced by Indonesian standards at Rp.67,000 (about $6.70) a plate. Then again it is Bali and one always pays for great ambiance.
The duck was fried to a crisp in palm oil, after being seasoned with bay leaves, lime, ginger, galangal, coriander, and other herbs and spices.
Under that deliciously crispy skin was lean, but tender and full of flavor duck meat.
This was served with some urap made with green beans and bean sprouts cooked in coconut milk, galangal, and chili.
The urap had a nice flavor that accompanied the duck perfectly. We were also served some amazing house-made chili sauce made with chili, shrimp paste, onions, and other good stuff. Even I could not avoid dipping everything in that sauce.
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